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May 07, 2006

Monastiraki or Μοναστηρακι

Monastiraki When we were in the process of renting our apartment our estate agent suggested to us that Monastiraki (or Μοναστηρακι in Greek) might be a place to look for second-hand furniture or electrical goods. She also suggested it might turn out to be full of crap, but it was worth looking anyway.

The shop is on the main road between the town of Hania itself and Germaniko Pouli, so we go by it most days. We've only seen it open in the mornings, so we peered through the windows a couple of times before we were able to get in.

It is the kind of place where you wonder what their business model is - how do they actually pay the rent each month? It has amazing stuff in there though. A whole glass-case full of vintage and antique cameras and filters (hello Lee!). It has a wall of vintage electrical equipment including eight-track cartridge machines and reel-to-reel tape recorders. There are some lovingly restored old gramophone players, and some not so lovingly restored that look in desperate need of patching up. Upstairs has some record racks that seem to deal exclusively with naff stuff from the 80s, and some curious looking Greek vinyl from the 60s and the 70s.

Insidemonastiraki2 Then there are piles of things that are interesting to look at, but you can't really imagine anyone ever buying them. Old magazines and comics, including some great "Boy's Own" style comics where obviously U.S. strips like "U.F.O." have been rescripted into Greek. There is a box full of worn old postcards, and some stuffed toys that have obviously been well loved by their previous owners. A dusty collection of well thumbed issues of Greek editions of "Playboy" and "Penthouse". An old trumpet that has become so blackened that you wouldn't think it had ever been a brass instrument. There are old pots that would look lovely on our balcony, but are €80+, and in the bit of waste ground next to the shop they have more antique pots, and some wooden carriages that must have once been horse-drawn. They are now crumbling as the wood rots.

It is also one of those shops where you think that if only someone sorted it out just a little bit more, it would do so much better. There are lots of second-hand books, but they are (mostly) sorted by Greek/non-Greek, rather than into individual English/French/German languages, which makes browsing really hard. And almost nothing seems priced, so you feel that even trying to buy something will be like the haggling scene from "Life of Brian".

Insidemonastiraki1 The one exception to all this is that they have an organised box of prints of photographs of Hania in the early 1900s, showing things like the fact that the minaret on the Mosque of Janissaries by the harbour was destroyed some time between 1902 and 1910, or that the current site of the Hania stadium had been an athletic field well before the stands were constructed. We've already decided that once we have a bit of spare "house dressing" money two or three of them will look lovely on the walls of the spare room/the den/office. Mind you, before we buy them, we probably ought to get some furniture for the spare room/the den/office so you can actually sit in it to admire them!

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Once again, no news from home. Just wanted to see the mighty O's promotion mentioned on Lemon Tree. Oh, and how can this entry be 10 May when it is still the 8th? Was there a second hand TARDIS in the furniture shop? And if so, what's the Leeds result?

> obviously U.S. strips like "U.F.O."

Are you talking about "UFO" - the TV Show with Commander Straker and SHADO intercepters and the like?[1]

If so, I shall have to pull on my pedantry trousers and point out that it's a Gerry Anderson show - and therefore British.

Of course, if you're talking about a completely different "UFO" then I'll take my pedantry elsewhere.

[1] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFO_%28TV_series%29

I reckon you've got me on the pedantry front there - although there is an off-chance that the comic strip version was actually scripted and produced in the USA by Marvel or someone ;-)

I really dropped the ball with this post didn't I - initially publishing it three days into the future - and then it turns out to be riddled with factual inaccuracy

Dave - meet my pedantic friend Stuart. Stuart - meet my friend Dave and his pedantry trousers.

On another post Stuart claims (I suspect with 100% accuracy) "Marvel didn't do any UFO strips but it did appear in the british weekly 'Countdown' along with other Gerry Anderson strips so it's probably a reprint."


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