Thursday, 31 January 2008

@# I am so drunk I can't think of a title #@

Hello everyone!

It is 14:30 I just woke up and I find my self in an unusual state of decrepitude, decadence and debauchery. I have been "alchemicaly" inclined to mix triple-distilled vodka with red-bull and am currently in the process of devouring a gargantuan pepperoni pizza (while still frozen)! Boy, what a way to wake up! Nonetheless, I find myself very much in the mood for writing an article, especially since today is another one of those rare occasions when I am free from my compulsory military service.

Today I want to introduce you to two internet phenomena that will definitely put a smile on your face. Let me start with flight of the concords (FOTC). FOTC is essentially a comedy band composed of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement. Check out some of their work:

The Humans are Dead

Albi the Racist Dragon

Hiphopopotamus VS Rhymenoceros

Foux De Fa Fa

Hopefully these videos have been enough to get you all addicted, meaning my work here is done. Now lets move on to something for all you gamers out there. I feel it is imperative for you to be acquainted with Zero Punctuation, a game review series that is like no other. Check out a sample review of Resident Evil and well... much more can be found on the escapist magazine.

Ergo Proxy

Speedgrapher's Rant: DUDE, you never tip me off when you are "alchemically" inclined! Must I keep you under surveillance every goddamn minute of the day?! Here I am, thinking my best friend is suffering in the army and he goes and binges himself without me! Oh, woe, horror and betrayal (oops, Shakespeare persona got away again). Besides, did or did I not forbid you from eating frozen pizza? Ah, hell! Well, never mind, now that you are finally in Athens, communications will be reestablished. Cheers!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

J-Sundays – Come and Join the Fun!

Well, then, this is a small report on a J-Music DJ event that took place on Sunday (at ΚΑΒΑΤΖΑ Bar in Athens, Acharnon 164 – go up the pedestrians-only road and you will see it on your left hand – for our local readers) as much as an effort to make more widely known that there is finally our very own little corner of Athens where J-Music is played on a regular basis. First things first, the event’s flyer, as posted on MySpace bulletins (numerous times, might I add) by Somnium in Tenebris.

You know Somnium from her legendary Japan + Anime Parties in Salonika (the most recent of which was covered here), as well as her setting up the BLOOD live in Athens, in 2006. What has not been made very clear here, is that Somnium is a hell of a music AND accompanying video DJ, at least when it comes to Japanese music (not exclusively perhaps but that is all I have seen her play, after all). So then, she got a call from the one other person I have known to play j-music since ’96 (more correctly, I have been informed so, since in 1996 I was 14, for crying out loud), who goes by the DJ callsign of “room302”. A little while later, a joint event was set up for yesterday evening, starting at 21:00.

Now, room302 had already taken it upon himself to set up a niche of Japanese music EVERY Sunday at that selfsame bar, which I learned about from a common friend, Darkside Blues, with some elation. Much to my puzzlement, the one other time I had visited the bar, there were not so many people and disappointingly, almost none of the usual faces I see at all other events related to Japanese popular culture. Now, I cannot believe that the problem is basically time-related, since room302 starts playing at 21:00 and keeps it up for as long as the people interested want him to (or the bar closes for the night, whichever comes first), so even if someone (probably) has to go early to work on Monday, they can leave early enough to catch their much-needed sleep. I therefore conclude that for some reason, j-fans in Athens have not been informed of this seminal move. Well, you have now been warned, err… informed, I mean.

Fortunately, this event was more widely publicized and many familiar faces made their appearance while, most conveniently, I had my camera with me (don’t I always?). Somnium and room302 were joined on the decks by KrizD, while among the many cool stuff played were Dir en Grey, Onmyouza, Kat-Tun, Kaggra, Hide, X Japan, Abingdon Boys School, Due le Quartz, Psycho le Cemu and many others who, for the life of me, I cannot remember. To my delight, the event gathered quite a few people and I hope that, on future Sundays, all of you who were absent, will join us. There you have it, my rant is over, so we are moving on to the pictures; and a big thanks to the four lovely girls who indulged my photographic addiction. You rock!

A huuuge "thank you" to Somnium, room302 and KrizD for a really cool and fun evening. Mata ao ne!


Wednesday, 23 January 2008

When Thundercats Ruled the Earth

Now, this here article is a peculiar mix of archaeology (actual and animation-related) and geekiness, far away from the semi-political rant of the previous story. Let us first take a look at some facts, shall we?

Around 3000 B.C., a Sumerian artist of the Mesopotamian Era took to cutting away small pieces from a chunk of limestone, then chiseling it with much artistry and care, until the soft stone revealed clenched fists, taut muscles of the forearms, biceps and shoulders, as well as a female leonine head, all hidden within the rough stone and the man’s imagination. The lioness’s semi-humanized face is tight with concentration and annoyance, etching a timeless scowl on her features.

Guennol Lioness - Full View

In 1948, Alistair Bradley Martin purchased the little idol (measuring around 8,3 cm in height) or more appropriately, talisman – for it was fashioned so as to be worn around the neck as a pendant – from an archaeological dig near Baghdad, proceeding to loan it to the New York Brooklyn Museum of Art.

A, heretofore unknown buyer at Sotheby’s Auction House bought, on December 5th, 2007, the statuette for the surreal amount of 57,2 million dollars (which, if you consider the dollar’s plummet by relation to the euro or the British quid, could not have been such a bad deal). It is the largest amount ever paid for a single article of sculpture or ancient artefact at an auction house, beating even the 28,6-million-dolar 2000-year-old bronze “Artemis and the Stag”. It is unknown whether the statuette will be exposed to the public again, or will simply vanish for an unknown amount of time from the eyes of modern man, as it remained for nearly 5000 years.

Archaeologists have two predominant notions as to what purpose the statuette served. The older of the two is that represented by the late Sir Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan (Agatha Christie’s second husband, among other things!) in his book “Early Mesopotamia and Iran” (Thames & Hudson, 1965); according to this view, it was an attempt, by a people much more exposed to the perils of natural environment than any other “archaeologically surviving culture”, to represent nature’s hostility towards man, to capture it in a material form that could be looked in the face and thus, overcome. The more modern view is fairly straightforward: it was a talisman for some ruler, to the end of granting him strength akin to that of lioness protecting her young (much more fierce than a male lion).

Guennol Lioness - Detail

Now, I love archaeology and appreciate this artefact for what it is, the memory of a civilization long since turned to dust, who is able, through the vortex of time to still inspire the modern man, comfortable in his relative safety (at least from animals). However, when my eye fell on the article from the Greek paper “ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΟΤΥΠΙΑ” (December 9th, 2007), even though its archaeological nature was evident I couldn’t help thinking: “Gee, the guy who did the designs on the Thundercats’ Panthro, really was onto something!” Reasonably enough, you will wonder: “what the hell does anyone care?” Well, I for one miss these old, fairly naïve cartoons and their epic feel, Panthro was my favorite character and well, it creates an odd, fuzzy feeling to think that one of my childhood heroes was (well, in way – it’s not a s if they called the thing a Thundercat or anything, though I don’t speak Sumerian; anyone?) venerated by an ancient culture I hold in very high respect, not the least of reasons being their invention of the wheel and beer.

Panthro Character Designs (more
Thundercats designs can be found here)

Just an afterthought, for all you struggling novelists and storytellers like myself: maybe the Thundercats DID come to “this little blue planet, Third Earth” millennia ago, built their Cat’s Lairs and left their ruins for us to find and inspire our cartoons, unleashing our imagination.

Keep dreaming,


Monday, 21 January 2008

Breaking Into Politics (with a Sledgehammer)

Well, it’s just my luck that I should decide to make a stand for this poor, ill-updated blog and my PC decides to go haywire for a few stressful days; hopefully, the problem has been solved for now. Anyhow, computers possessed by malign and demonic intelligence NOT being our subject today, let us carry on.

I hate politics and that’s a fact: I have never bothered with it, not even in school. Whenever I found myself I some sort of “committee” or “council”, it was by accident and I was either bored with the self-absorbed people trying to get over the fact they had acne or were chubby or whatever, by “promoting big things”, those who were the cool kids and just loved the attention and further exposure to their “fans” or finally, those who had somehow gotten hold of a copy of Das Kapital from their grandpa’s bookcase (or, more usually, the basement), thought they had read it (an impossible feat for a modern, hormone-crazed teenager, seeing as the damn thing is around 8 volumes thick and all but simple reading) and just HAD to be the people’s voice in a private school for the rich, the very rich and the oddballs (most of my friends – including Ergo Proxy – and I were the oddballs, since past graduates’ kids do not pay tuition fees or at least, they are considerately cut down). The only “presiding council” I ever took to heart (and of which I ended up being, in effect, President, Vice-President, Secretary and Cashier, since only I bothered), was that of the RPG Club. Yes, THOSE were good years but it felt more like shepherding my fellow weirdoes and geeks toward some things I knew (not imagined) we were capable of and that was the end of it: only those people who had love for the game and fun out of it ever cared about what I said; the rest had no love for “the long-haired, bearded RPG guy” but they were afraid of me and eventually, of us, enough to leave us to our own designs and that was enough.

Given my Cypriot nationality (though it was my grandparents on my father’s side who came to Athens, all those decades ago and I am sad to say, I have visited Cyprus very few times), I do not have the right of vote during Parliament Elections in Greece and I am fine with it: not bothering with politics does not mean I do not watch the news or that I put a blindfold around my head, oh no. It means I support no party in the elections, save being against the one that has ruled for too long (and hence, has an easy time out of being corrupt), because I have no political lenses through which to “justify to myself” things such as embezzlement, bogus laws and retarded social conduct. On the other hand, voting has been mandatory in Greece for the longest time, among the countries of the EU (excluding the new entrees), which means my mother (and her mother, until she got too sick to move around and finally died – God rest her soul) has had to drop everything for a whole day, suffer through clogged roads to go to Piraeus and all to vote for some party that would never make it to power (since she has enough of a conscience not to vote for one of the practically hereditary governing parties, ΠΑΣΟΚ or ΝΔ).

Also, politics incite into people (at least in University students) a mentality akin to that of soccer “enthusiasts” (there are of course true enthusiasts, some who just love to see people kick a ball, hence the quotation marks): that of a stampede of sex-crazed apes with no females around, who can vent their frustration only by cracking each other’s skulls. I have seen (and heard it, me being in the amphitheater and the others bashing each other outside) it in my verdammt Physics Department and the neighboring Mathematicians and things get even worse elsewhere, I’m told. Besides, when expressing opinions like my own, you are liable (and it has happened) to be the target of idiotic commentary and verbal attacks (or worse), which has led me to simply keep to myself and have such discussions only with close friends, all the while declining voting incentives by friends with adamant political views. However, Greek reality had reared its ugly head again and a series of unrelated events, involving drugs, soccer, sex, politics, DVDs and journalism, has led me to write this article, the first possessed of political references – so bear with me.

This past Summer, a young photographer is viciously beaten up in Exarchia, downtown, while doing a piece on the face of Athens at night. Anarchists take him for a police agent (who, conveniently enough, does not carry a gun, right?), beat the shit out of him and steal his camera. Meanwhile, a heavily armed police force and prison bus are waiting out the night merrily, just a block away, staring at empty streets where everything is under control. The story makes the papers but no one seems to fret over it.

A month ago, a young woman who had, after much effort, gotten away from the vicious cycle of drug abuse, is abducted by her former “providers” and killed. The media bother with it for a couple of days and that’s it.

March 29th 2007, a 22 (or 25, couldn’t confirm myself)-year-old kid is murdered by “soccer enthusiasts” of the Greek team Olympiakos in Paiania; many others were severely wounded. 4 days ago, another young man (age, 24) is murdered in Loutsa, while his friend is sent to the hospital in critical condition, both knifed by “soccer enthusiasts” again, this time of the Greek team Panathinaikos. The police find out that “it was probably a premeditated hit, since the murdered young man had testified against one of the killers’ brother”. The media (except for the radio, which covered it quite a bit) bother all of 1 day or two (as a backup story to other stuff).

A month ago, started a roller-coaster which seems to take the “all-encompassing” media’s time: the secretary general of the Ministry of Culture, threw himself off of the 4th floor window, trying to commit suicide, after being extorted by “unknown elements”. These elements turn out to be a 35-year-old woman, of who further details are unknown (friend, fuck buddy, call-girl, someone’s sister?), another woman who went to deliver the info to some TV stations and a lawyer. You see, (the married) Mr. Zachopoulos (the secretary in question) had a thing for S & M (and his wife didn’t) and this kind lady indulged him, all the while having set up the proper machinery to record the fun for posterity. With the secretary out of the window but strangely, still alive, all hell breaks loose about who saw the DVD with the “hot stuff”, who delivered it, who filmed it, who got paid for it, who was on top (during the fun) and who, in the end, is to blame and who the fuck cares.

This is one of the videos from a Greek newscast, its end on a loop showing the idiocy of this whole affair. I am sorry to say, only our Greek readers (or those of you who know Greek, of course) will be able to appreciate this fully.

The names of two “journalists” (lowlifes who like to dig dirt on people and either make brainless fun of it or “seek funds” out of them, all the while “revealing the skeletons in the closets”, but for simplicity’s sake I will use quotation marks only here) came to the surface, one being Themos Anastasiades and the other Makis Triantafyllopoulos. The case seems to be (a) that Anastasiades delivered the DVD to Maximou Manor, the current residence of the Prime Minister and (b) has received the sum of 5000000 euros somehow in relation to this case. Seeing as the two golden boys had created a seedy paper together, called “ΤΟ ΠΡΩΤΟ ΘΕΜΑ” (the equivalent of “Breaking News”), Triantafyllopoulos has been cracking his moral whip at his former partner, taking the high ground (since Anastasiades’s fat ass has taken the entire available low one). Now they are called to testify in front of the DA, Anastasiades changing statement after statement (“the money was from a loan”, “the money came from selling the paper’s stock”, “the money came from other, personal sources in order to save the paper from being sold in stock by Triantafyllopoulos” and who knows what next?) and Triantafyllopoulos digging his former partner’s grave deep. All the while, the media are in a frenzy and the government wonders what to do and no one seems to bother with murdered youngsters, the trials of their killers, the “cannibal tribes of downtown Athens” who attack civilians with all manner of excuses or no excuse at all and the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer and pensions are plummeting, for a tomorrow filled with endless, black void and red tape.

Meanwhile, the party of opposition, which chose AGAIN for a leader nothing but a name on an old headstone, instead of someone who could at least argue intelligently, tries to find its ass with a map, for no other reason than to sit on it and spout weakly “they are corrupt, we told you so, see, see?”.

I, for one, do not care what anyone does in his or her bed, if they are gay, straight, S & M, seme or uke or if an idiot journalist with good connections is an informer, a snitch or a plain old peeping tom. Can someone clear the streets of the trash, human or otherwise, can they give the people work and mayhap an illusion of safety? And can they make this poor, little country anything else than the butt of a joke? I say unto thee: “Nay” and so they can fuck off and shove politics up their fat, well-fed asses. If you want to break into politics (but not use it as an excuse to thrash the car of the poor sod living next to you, minding their own business), take my advice and use a sledgehammer. Spider Jerusalem would and did, God bless his filthy soul.

“I hate it here”


Thursday, 17 January 2008

Back from the Grave...? & Anime Music VII - End of All Hope

Hum, hum... Hello again dear readers. I know, I know, our schedule has been pretty much mucked up and there hasn't been an update in SOME time. You have every right to be frustrated, angry or in fact, you would be right to have been just plain old tired and written us off. However, as extenuating circumstances, let me mention that, in fact, Ergo Proxy ended up going through more Hell than originaly planned and as for me, well, first I got quite a bit sick and then something happened which caused me to fall into one of my fits of depression (those who have had a look at MySpace, will have seen that this has not changed...). However, seeing as depression cannot be a reason to write you people off, I am back on the fortress walls and hope that things will improve. Since I have an awful lot of work today, I will leave you with one of my notorious music sections, which kind of reflects how I feel (well, not as bad as the song illustrates, in fact, but there is nothing more necessary than hyperbole). However, updates will resume normally tomorrow, so I hope you will forgive this little hiatus.

Well, this is "End of All Hope" from Nightwish's Century Child album, with footage from Full Metal Alchemist, one of my favorite anime ever. Hope you enjoy it for its artistic value and not for the feelings it evokes in someone who feels down.

All my best,


Sunday, 6 January 2008

Literary Section VII

Here it is then, with some delay: the promised aftermath of Act I of Prometheus's story. There will not be new fiction for some time, as it has to be written first, although a series of refreshing updates have been scheduled, which will cover the much ignored "reviews" part of the Section, so look forward to it!

Gothic Fantasy: The Memoirs of Prometheus
Act I: The Name of the Game
Aftermath: Season’s End

As a young man, his innocence ripped away from him, starts the journey that will lead him to his future fate, as a member of the undead Tectus, miles and miles away, across the sea where rage the Kaze Kami, who shielded Japan from the Golden Horde, across the vast planes which were the ancient home of the Rus and hunting grounds of the Bear-Garou and Loup-Garou, across the Arabian Lands of the expatriate Jinn, beyond the Kingdoms of the Middle Sea, past Stonehenge and Kildare, at the outermost fortress of the Old World, an ancient horn blows its dirge. The common people off the coast of Ireland and perhaps in the Isle of Man, find it a strange wind indeed, that makes Ireland’s shores and mountains sing thus. However, across the Mighty Isles, the Old Places vibrate and rumble, some silent and others not; and the people at Glastonbury Tor, Wyrd and mundane alike, feel the need to light a candle and pray.

Deep inside Skellig Michael, far under the ancient cloisters of the monks, deep beneath the slowly fading home of the Dragons of Kildare, in a hall protected by some of the most ancient survivors of the Wyrd and Words known only to few and then some to only one, two voices are heard: one is old and a bit strained with emotion, the other unknowable, akin to a deep echo in a stone valley and riddled with sadness and tiredness.

“Have the children all left?” booms the darkened hall.

“Almost my friend; Bowen is seeing to the last, as the final remnants of the Sanctum finally fade, except those who will come with me.”


“Young Selina, Plato, Kali from McFallon’s bunch and Helena will rendezvous with us in Greece, along with Catherine.”

“What about Myrdryl?”

“He…has some issues to work through. Though he never had much love for Gilda, her betrayal shook him up quite a bit. He always expected some form of retaliation but nothing like what she did. I believe even you were surprised.”

“That a serpent such as Kachtchei would penetrate our little piece of Eden was inexcusably unexpected. However, it made very clear that this time was nigh.”

“It has been over six decades now, hasn’t it?”

“Not enough. Time was when we could last a few centuries, 150 years at the very least. The Wyrd is waning my friend and I fear for the future. What if I have erred horribly in my ways?”

“You have done well by us, old man. It’s been a very long way and time since brash and reckless Aidan of York, don’t you think?”

“Indeed, but two World Wars? Two? Every one of the lives lost weighs heavily on me. I cannot find it in myself to forgive me.”

“Yet you are your only accuser. Human nature is not yours to control; never has been. Only, you could alter the course of events more dramatically in the past, same as our enemies. It is not as if you have erred, only that humans display an amazing capability for self-destruction.”

“…and what of the boy? Can I wash myself of that too?” Ozymandias bit his lower lip. Rarely was he at a loss for words but this was one of those rare times. He thought about it, struggled a bit with his thoughts and then answered with conviction.

“Free will is a sword that cuts both ways. You know it; bloody hell, you have even felt it.”

“Aye, yet free is as free is allowed. I should have kept him here. I should never have sent him in that place of ancient reasoning, of blood dressed in silk. I thought the worst could be avoided, I though Sorakirin would suffice. I even had Kurai check on him; but he too is born and bred of the eastern Wyrd…” A deep sigh, like a breath coming from cavernous lungs. “He was made to hold enormous potential and yet I fear the harshness of his story will alter him, if not break him. He is so young…”

“As was another, as I recall, a much greater burden forced upon him so many centuries ago; and look what he has achieved. A champion cannot be shepherded, cannot grow in safety. If good is to come from the boy it must be as it always has: by the Trial of Tales. We came to accept that a long time ago.”

“But at what terrible, terrible cost. I remember every one of them: every face, every smile, every death.”

“Aye, you hold the bad along with the good, forever. There has been much good done by these old hands and time will come when it will be done again. Your words, not mine.”

“Aye and that is why I will split the Three again. Rama needs to go first. Both worlds need a healer, not another warlord. That is why I need you to do something for me, something you will find unthinkable and yet is equally necessary.”

“Tamar, is that it? You want me to place him out of phase. You talk to me about errors and then ask me to court disaster. Why?”

“Listen to me; there is not much time left. Tamar is the swift one: he will grow enormously once he awakens, while Rama needs to mature slowly, grow into the tree others can lean on. He must have time to appear first!”

“You will make another martyr, another saint? You realize what you risk…You realize what might happen to you… Can you face another Gwehwyfar?”

“I must! I must entrust myself to you and Hagane and hope for the best. Trust in the stories my friend! They have always been strong enough to forge us anew and so it must be now for if not, it means our time is past.”

“Very well, I shall try my best. Have you found them or will we entrust ourselves to the whims of Quantum Mechanics?” A smile, unseen, more of a feeling.

“I have: they have not yet met, I believe but already they dream strongly, in their own ways. All of 13 years old, spiraling through their differences to their inevitable meeting: the unseen and the seer, the mercurial and the steadfast.”

“You always did have a good eye for allegory, though still anchored in the past.”

“I will take that as a compliment. I must go now; the epilogue beckons” and the voice seems to fade like calming wind, as an unearthly cold fills the chamber and Ozymandias’s breath starts to come out in puffs of steam. He touches one last time the large, stone hand of his Lord, his brother, his friend and then steps back from the granite bed. First is a sudden gust of wind, like the roar of a great beast and sure enough, a huge wolf, white as snow blindness and three meters tall at the shoulder, enters majestically: the North Wind. In a rumbling voice that would make lesser men tremble with primal fear, he calls his greeting:

“Well met, Artificer. I have come to fulfill my ancient pledge to the Wordsmith.”

“Well met Jarl of the Winds: you have been expected and are gratefully welcomed.”

Then, man and wolf bowed to each other in respect. As they turned to the cave’s opening, myriads of crystal bells echoed all around them, approaching, as the cold started to make Ozymandias a bit uncomfortable. For all his Magic and creations, this was not something he would endeavor to contend with; among the highest of the high, in any world, royalty in all its terrible presence and beauty. Ice Sprites entered the chamber in the dozens, singing the praise and announcing the arrival of their mistress and mother: the Ice Queen. She came in on wings of pure cold, filling the air with her presence, her uncountable, harmonic tunes and a cold as only the Heart of Winter could summon. She smiled at Ozymandias and he, in turn, attempted to, through lips blue from cold and made a deep bow, before leaving the cave; soon, more than the air would be frozen. She was the Keeper of the Vaults of Eternity, where even memories, dreams and ideas froze, to be preserved for all time.

He entered the tunnel whence he had come, just before the cave was sealed with black ice, hard as steel – probably harder. He took a moment to let his body return to a normal temperature and rubbed himself vehemently. For all his resistances and stamina, unlike his friend, he had no love for the cold. After he felt the blood flowing in all the parts of his body again, he turned to the seemingly uninterrupted black wall that sealed the chamber behind him. He placed a hand on the icy surface:

“Sleep and dream well, my King, until next we meet” and a small tear escaped his aged eye. After a minute’s silence, he straightened up, his features and his resolve tightened: much and terrible work had still to be done and he quickly followed the path that would lead him to the surface of an empty, titanic rock, where once stood a home.


Not making any sense?

Go to Part I. Right under the Dumbledore story.
Go to Part II.
Go to Part III.
Go to Part IV.
Go to Part V.
Go to Part VI.