Saturday, January 06, 2024


Having observed every single New Year’s custom made mention of on the internet, including but not limited to: the ritual hurling of the fortuitous pomegranate upon the threshold of the host’s place of abode, closely followed by the forensic collection of its seeds with tweezers, lest they harden in the sun and become a permanent fixture, the ritual playing of μπιρίμπα and κουμ-καν with the middle-aged affluent friends of the host’s  parents, who always wear matching Versace shirts over white jeans and annually undertake a house crawl, arriving uninvited at house after house of their acquaintances precisely at the time that food is served, without ever inviting anyone into their own, the customary rigging of the Vasilopita so that the φλουρί is found by the aggrieved daughter-in-law who refers to it as a ‘lucky coin,’ before posting a photo of herself dancing on the kitchen table with a glass of prosecco in one hand and the coin in the other on social media, so as to preserve the moment for posterity, I decided it was time for something new: The reading of the oracular bones in order to determine our collective fates in the year ahead.

Unfortunately, there was a dearth of bones to be had, for my host, instead of impaling and immolating a sacrificial animal as is the usual practice, opted instead to purchase halal gyros from his local Islamic butcher in Sunshine. Appeals thus had to be made to the custodians of traditional culture in our community – the combined heads of the five dance group families of Melbourne, Manasis Dance School and accessories not included.

One cultural doyen, who spells παράδοση for the benefit of his student’s parents as “Pa-ra-tho-see,” was able to rummage up some mati-encrusted See Sensey porcelain imitation figurines from Oakleigh. My host not, being possessed of a fireplace after he stripped his parent’s home of all of its Edwardian furnishings, replacing them with brutalist polished grey concrete in homage to his Santorini sojourn five years ago, allowed me to construct one instead out of the polystyrene packaging that came with the delivery of his wife’s faux Louis Vutton hand-bag from Ebay.

As the heady fumes of the pyroclastic polystyrene assailed my nostrils, I steeled myself to behold the shades of things yet to come to pass. Unfortunately, all of us having attended Prometheus Greek College in the north-west for twelve years, none of us had Greek in sufficient quantities to decipher the deepening crack along the mould lines of the quality product. A quick consultation of the Froogle translate app (named for my koumbaro’s in-laws, who after switching off the lights to greet the New Year, refuse to turn them on again, in the interests of economy), and almost immediately, the future was made manifest, month by month.


The President of some progressive Greek organisation no one has ever heard of, offers a welcome to the New Year at the annual New Year’s dance, acknowledging New Years past, present and emerging.

Schismatic renegade formerly known as Papalefteris forgets himself and dives for the cross off Rosebud Pier. He sinks beneath the waves under the weight of his own internal contradictions. Thousands of fanatic fans swear on affidavit that minutes later he rises again and walks upon the waves towards the shore. The crowd goes absolutely bananas and the Vatican certifies this as a bona fide miracle.

All of six members of the Pan-Coronian Brotherhood of North Fitzroy swamp Sorrento Park on January 26th, in the hope of re-creating the mass Australia Day picnics of old. In the jostling for premium position before the barbecue with the Greek Seniors’ and Pensioners’ Confederation, two lamb chops are injured.

A panigyri takes place but Manasis Dance School is not invited.


Something happens but we can’t really tell you what it is because it involves: (a) someone our major sponsor is not talking to; (b) someone our major sponsor is suing (c) someone we loathe with a passion; and (d) all of the above.

Owing to budget blowouts, Premier Jacinta Allan sells Lonsdale Street to a Chinese Consortium. GOCMV President Bill Papastergiadis is forced to launch the inaugural Xi Jinping Eternal Friendship Huawei Belt and Road Antipodes Festival to the strains of: “The East is Red.” Practitioners of Falung Gong and their pesky pamphlets are sent to re-education camps in Bulleen.

President of the Joint Co-ordinating Council of Organising Committees of Absolutely Everything Toly Tendonides resigns, having accepted a post as Major Events Co-ordinator for the US Army, Kabul Division. In his farewell speech, he finally solves the age-old philosophical problem as to how many dignitaries can fit on a conceptual podium on Greek National Day.

Premier Jacinta Allan moves to sell Kat Theophanous’ faction of the Labor Party to Singtel in order to boost revenue. The reconstituted Bank of Cyprus beats them by one pound in the bidding and purchases a controlling stake in the Labor Party. Kat Theophanous is installed as new Premier. 


The annual triumphal march past the dignitaries is cancelled because other than outgoing President Toly Tendonides, no one knows how to organise it.

Something happens and Greek community leaders turn up to take a photograph for the press, but no one knows what it is.

The Association of Anglophone Greek Teachers form action group “Phlaros.” Under the slogan «τον κακό σου το φλάρο», they announce they have discovered how to teach Greek by using solely the English language, thus solving the Greek language crisis once and for all. Manasis Dance School is not invited to the press conference.

The mystery of the missing statue of Venizelos belonging to the Cretan Brotherhood is solved when it is noticed how similar it is to the statuettes offered at the Logies. Channel Seven declines to comment.

Premier Kat Theophanous transfers the seat of government to the Hellenic Museum.


Jim Claven, Historian, presents his book on the history of tilers discarded on Tenedos by the ANZACS, to visiting SYRIZA leader, Stefanos Kasselakis.

Stefanos Kasselakis attends an AFL game and is entranced by the perpendicularity of the goal posts. He is subsequently drafted by St Kilda. “Kasselakis coming from the back pocket” becomes a patriotic slogan among the members of ‘Democritus.’

Patriarch Bartholomew, on his second official visit to Australia, decides he likes it so much here that he chooses to retire. Archbishop Makarios is despatched to Constantinople where he is enthroned as Ecumenical Patriarch.

Manasis Dance School is not invited to the enthronement ceremony.



Patriarch Makarios wins a breach of copyright case initiated by the McDonalds Head Franchise, with MacDonalds acknowledging in writing that the Patriarch is the biggest Mac of all.

GOCMV President Bill Papastergiadis reclaims Lonsdale Street via a joint refinance from Democritus and the Dubai Development Bank. The community looks forward to enjoying the Zangalis-Sheikh Maktoum Property Development Antipodes Festival next year.

President of the Pangavdian Association of Narre Warren South is arrested on suspicion of having threated to bash his secretary for not doctoring the minutes of the last AGM. Is exonerated after it is shown in court that what he actually threatened to do, was not to bash him, but to pash him, instead.


Nothing happens because everyone is in Greece.


Bishop Evmenios of Northcote is enthroned as Archbishop of Australia. He moves the Archdiocesan headquarters to Thomastown.

The GOCMV inaugurates the first ever Bad Greek Film Festival. The Left Opposition argues vociferously on social media and 3ZZZ that it is in fact the forty-second Bad Greek Festival.

Before Mike Zafiropoulos gets a chance to weigh in on the issue, Panagiotis Yiannoudis settles the dispute by proving conclusively that he invented bad Greek Films as far back as 1932.

Premier Kat Theophanous appoints Cyprus Community President Theo Theophanous as her chief advisor. Everyone is shocked.

Manasis Dance School is not invited to the appointment party.


As the economic woes of Victoria intensify, Kings Domain and the Australian Hellenic Memorial is sold to the Saudi Royal Family, so no wreath laying ceremony to mark OXI day can take place. Instead, the Greeks of Melbourne converge upon Lygon Street, in pursuit of some Italians to ceremonially round up. They end up rounding up assorted Afghans from the shisha bars instead.

Greek pro-Palestinian protesters disrupt a pro-Palestinian protest. Manasis Dance School is not invited.

Elections are held at the local sub-branch of the Old Plutocracy Party. After a spirited showdown between rivals, it is determined that since he is already there, GOCMV President Bill Papastergiadis will represent the party on all Greek morning talk shows, regardless of channel.

Dean Kalimniou writes something in the Diatribe and the one person who attempts to navigate its turgid verbosity sprains his tongue. Neos Kosmos is successfully sued for compensation.

The Pan-Lacedaemonian Association of Lower Plenty successfully alters its constitution so that it can only admit members and elect office holders if they come from the same family.


President Bill Papastergiadis resolves to take an extended sabbatical from the GOCMV in order to contemplate the meaning of life. Begins his journey by binge watching re-runs of “The Bill.” Is not allowed to return until he watches all twenty-seven seasons.

Minister of Tourism Steve Dimopoulos takes issue with Professor Nick Papastergiadis’ article accusing the NGV of provincialism in not featuring the works of Greek-Australian artists, pointing out that Victoria is a province of Australia. The Professor in turn ripostes with a parliamentary white paper in which he recalls ruminating over the meaning of the words “Greek,” “Artist” and “Province” with John Berger, while sipping Gold Medal soft drinks in glass bottles, under a hay loft, in West Footscray.

Premier Kat Theophanous receives an unprecedented upsurge in popularity as she exempts the holiday homes of Greeks in Dromana, from land tax.

Patriarch Makarios is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for resolving the Palestinian Issue, via a partition plan inspired by the subdivision of the Diocese of Melbourne into Northcote and South Melbourne branches.


All of five children attend the various Christmas parties of the Greek organisations of Melbourne. Kostas Deven takes photos of them from different angles and double exposes the film so they appear as twenty-eight and are published in the paper to critical acclaim.

The Hellenic League of Making Lots of Money and Big Business holds an exclusive Christmas Cocktail party to celebrate just how socially conscious wealthy biznadoroi actually are. They reluctantly consent to have the images taken by professional photographers at the event released to Greek Media, in the interests of FOMO.

Dean Kalimniou is apprehended for a second year in a row by John Rerakis wearing Al Pacino’s suit from Scarface at a Christmas party, which he purchased from Ebay, bearing the tell-tale signs of kourabie dust about his nostrils. He is heard to muse: “Is this it? That's what it's all about, Yianni? Eating, drinking….” before being hit on the head by a flying rogue panettone.

Premier Kat Theophanous announces that from now on all government business in Victoria will be conducted in the Greek language and appoints Neos Kosmos as the sole keeper of the government gazette.

Manasis Dance School is not invited to the after party.


Dean Kalimniou

First published in NKEE on 6 January 2024