Saturday, 21 February 2015

Nice Piece of Furniture

Mini photo courtesy of:

I recently came across this photo on Facebook and it reminded me of a funny routine by a Greek-American comedian called Basile, pronounced as any American will tell you, Bay-zil. It seems to me that our American cousins will never use a short vowel when a long one will do instead. Another fine example of this is the name of the most famous village here on Rhodes, Lindos. I've yet to hear an American call it that. They always prefer Lin-dose. I'm sure you know what I mean.

Anyway, no offense intended, just observing. After all, you say tomay-to and we say tomah-to and all that stuff, right? I mean, here's Bazile, a Greek by descent after all, and he knows full well that is real name is Vasilis, yet he calls himself Bay-zil! Ah, well then, best left as it is I suppose. He is very funny though, especially if you "get" the whole Greek culture thing. Try some of these for size…

I've watched a couple of his DVD's and believe me, you will cry laughing if you know anything at all about Greek culture and customs. I have mentioned him before, but it was a couple of years ago now I think. He has a basic website if you fancy checking him out, it's here (

The routine he did that I recalled was one about Greeks and their furniture. He makes the point that his ya ya would never throw out a piece of furniture, even if it was actually an old TV set. I'm old enough (sadly) to remember when you would buy a TV which was built into a heavy, polished walnut cabinet with two doors on the front that could be kept closed when the TV wasn't being watched, thus concealing the fact that the cabinet was in fact, basically a TV set in disguise. Mind you, the screens in those days were very convex and always a pale grey colour. They weren't much to look at out of their cozy wooden homes.

Something you'll doubtless have deduced is that in a traditional Greek home there are lace doilies all over the place. If there's a horizontal surface larger than a side plate, there'll be a doily on it.
For one thing you can work this out from the fact that no self-respecting souvenir shop even today in Greece is complete without its section of "locally hand-crafted" crochet doilies, right? Yeah, you've been there I know. Our old friend Gilma down South even has a doily over his telephone, which is one of those that has a handset in a cradle beside the keypad. When the phone rings he carefully lifts off the doily, folds it up and places it to one side before answering the call. Once he's "hung up" he'll unfold the doily and place it carefully over the phone again.
Doily Photo courtesy -

I can't have them anywhere near me and it's basically because they so remind me of a bygone era and huge old dark pieces of furniture that clogged up every room in a senior citizens' home. Basile's routine involved the fact that his ya ya had a huge dark wooden cabinet in her lounge for years, with a white crochet doily on top of it, and the cabinet was in fact an old TV set that had long since ceased to work, yet, owing to the fact that it was such an impressive piece of furniture, she wouldn't entertain the idea of throwing it out, oh no. Instead, it stood in a corner of her lounge, with this white doily spread over the top and - sitting on top of the doily - a brand new colour TV!!

Y'know, we have a Greek friend in a village not far from here who has no less than four TV sets in her sitting room. The first time we saw them we were reminded of the wonderful scene from the great classic UK TV comedy "Only Fools and Horses", where Grandad was sitting in his armchair watching two different TVs, the one on the left only had a picture and no sound, while the one on the right only had sound, but no picture. Well, our friend's comment, when we tactfully asked why she needed four TVs was, "Well, you never know, I might be able to get one or two of them fixed some time."

So, the doily on the Mini is a pretty sharp way to observe a classic Greek custom.

Well, I can't sit here blogging all day, I'm off to flose my teeth and trote off to my bed!

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