Sunday, 23 August 2009


Who doesn't know Chardonnay? Who doesn't like Chardonnay? Well, I don't and in this post I am just going to explain why.

Chardonnay is a very common wine, but it is in fact the name of the most popular and possibly the most versatile grape in the world. The Chardonnay grape is so popular because it is easy to grow – that is probably why so many grape producers champion it.

Chardonnay grapes grow in a wide range of conditions all over the world. In California it is the most widely planted white grape. It can grow in cool damp conditions and in hot arid regions. Chardonnay has a propensity for acid and glycerin, which is responsible for giving it a velvety texture – this is what is important in this type of grape. Some argue that it is also so popular because it has little indigenous character of its own and instead displays the characteristics of the soil and climate where it is grown. In France it is a key ingredient in Champagne and is the grape in Chablis. In Spain it is used to make Cava. Another Chardonnay often sited as worth trying is the Jean Rijckert Macon-Villages. To put it in 00's business terminology: flexibility, adaptability and integrated character are the key words that characterize the wide usage of chardonnay. (most of the info is copy-paste from Wikipedia and googling)

I have yet to try a Chardonnay that I like.

Upper class readers might think, "well you probably can’t afford one" and their point will be absolutely valid. But exactly here comes the contradiction with Chardonnay's success, which is also the reason why I am so passionately against it and all that it stands for.

It is not a coincidence that Chardonnay became the most popular white wine in the 1990s, the decade when mass consumption hit unprecedented levels in Europe, America and East Asia, adding a new -ism to our everyday vocabulary, consumerism.

The middle class enjoying more access to money than ever has pursued 'class'. Chardonnay combines a name with a high degree of recognition, one that can be used to communicate messages about one's ‘taste’ and class; it has a theatrical quality, since in order to pronounce it right you need to add a French "rrr" which implies that you may speak French -still the ultimate indicator of proper middle class upbringing along with piano lessons- but without actually risking being asked about being a francophone or not, a question that, in most cases, will cause the embarrassment of either part; it is the favorite wine of “celebrity” (pause to puke) chefs; and is in abundance in any supermarket you choose to go to.

And this is where the problem lies. Unless you are willing to spend above 50 Euros (49,9999 Pounds ;-)) and you really know how to choose your liquor, the Chardonnay you will get will most probably be shit. The finesse and style one is assuming when suggesting having a Cha"rrr"donnay never lasts after the first sip. The result is that we end up with shit wine in our glasses; what is worse, we are forced to pretend it is good in order not to reveal our poor judgment and lack of familiarity with wines.

To throw some Adam Smith in the text, the process begins with the "consumer" (since you are nothing else but a spineless bloodsucker) wanting to drink wine. The wines available are completely unknown so in order to preserve the 'class' impression the middle class consumer will go for the easy solution, Chardonnay. This is the demand side. The "offer" side is that being as versatile and easy to grow as it is, the cellars of wine makers are full with Chardonnay wine which needs to be sold to the class seeking idiots, us. The consequence is 600 different kinds of "Chardonnay" dominating the wine section of supermarkets. Those wonderful white pinot grigio, simple dry, and house wines are hard to find among the hordes of chardonnays invading from California, Chile, South Africa, Australia etc.

So, to conclude, what we have is a partially premeditated conspiracy to hypocrisy between the consumer, the producer and the "pimps" (supermarkets etc) to promote bad taste dressed as finesse; to promote satisfaction and “pleasure” through the consumption of shit. Chardonnay is the epitome not only of the sell-out of taste to consumption, but of the redefinition of taste to fit consumption, that is the battle cry of the vulgar materialism of our times.

Disclaimer: The author is not spending more that 15 euros on a bottle of wine, unless when dining with very specific company, so no I am not a smart ass loaded with money, who can afford drinking good wines. Also, my personal experience comes only from a few European (and European-looking) countries and China, so I -proudly- confess guilty to the crime of generalizing.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Trabant is back!

IndiKar a group of car engineers and designers has announced that it has designed the successor to the legendary DDR car. The new Trabbi will be battery powered, following an increasing demand for emission-free cars.

All that is left is to find the investors...

Clich here for more

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Art in times of recession

In 1939 the Ministry of Information in England set up the War Artists' Scheme (W.A.S), devised by the then director of the National Theatre, Kenneth Clark. One of his tasks was to organize the safeguarding of the national collections. Paintings, like humans, were evacuated from the cities, taken away and hidden down the mines in Wales.

The state funded artists to paint and depict the war-torn landscape and photographers to document the war effort. The theatre was suddenly right at the heart of society, touring everywhere, with plays asking important questions about life, uncertainty, peace, community, humanity. Short trailers and documentaries were made and broadcast, to point out that ‘although we know what we’re fighting against, we sometimes forget what we’re fighting for: to be free to work, to play, to listen and look at what we want to’. There was a 'painting of the month' at the National Gallery, bringing a painting out of the mines and on show gathering queues of people to see it around Trafalgar square. Ballet shows were taken into the factories as an initiative of CEMA (the council for the encouragement of music and the arts). Free lunchtime concerts were given and documentary-makers, dancers, actors and photographers, were considered to be part of the national treasure (with the state giving them jobs in the country in order to keep them out of the forces because they were too valuable to expend!)

Art, in conclusion, became part of the national conversation and available to all (something that was of course always the norm in communist countries), its status radically changed forever. The idea was that even in the darkest days of the war people must prepare for peace and ‘make a better peace’ than they had before!

As history repeats itself in these tough recession times, cultural centres, theatres, operas, galleries etc. are falling like dominoes, all around the globe. As art depends on public sector, big private money (banks, millionaires, giant corporations) and audiences who now have very little money to spend, it is facing collapse and decline. Creative arts, music, crafts and so on are a big part not only of the economy but also of boosting low morale and playing a major part in recovering from hard times. But can the arts community rise through the current challenges, giving way to an incredibly powerful time and a changed post-recession society? Or will it (stupidly in my opinion) back away, become defensive (no need for pretty pictures in recession times) and disappear, leaving us even poorer?

(inspiration and quotes from Alan Yetob's wonderful BBC documentary Imagine 2009: Art in Troubled Times)

ps: i don't write often but when i do i can't shut up :o

Nirvana vs Rick Astley

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

"Ελλάδα 2010: Τα παιδιά των μεταναστών" μια θλιβερή ιστορία

Το συγκεκριμένο θέμα μου ανεβάζει το αίμα στο κεφάλι. Εν ολίγοις βαράω κόκκινα με την μαλακία που δέρνει ελληνικό κράτος καθώς και όλους τους ελεεινούς ανθρώπους που σφυρίζουν αδιάφορα για το συγκεκριμένο θέμα ή που ακόμα χειρότερα αντιτάσσονται σε αυτό. Όπως και να έχει όμως this is not about me αλλά για όλα αυτά τα παιδιά που έχουν μεγαλώσει -μεγαλώνουν- στην Ελλάδα ως παιδιά μεταναστών. Συνολικά 300.000 παιδιά που η ελληνική πολιτεία αρνείται να αναγνωρίσει ως έλληνες πολίτες παρά το γεγονός ότι αυτά έχουν περάσει όλη τους τη ζωή στην Ελλάδα.

Μια πολύ καλή ενέργεια έγινε από το Βρετανικό συμβούλιο στην Ελλάδα το οποίο έτρεξε το 2008 το project Imagine your Future. Το project περιλάμβανε νέα παιδιά που έχουν background σχετικό με μετανάστευση να λένε τις ιστορίες τους και τις προσδοκίες τους με ένα οπτικοακουστικό τρόπο. Ο στόχος ήταν να διπλός, από τη μία να εκπαιδεύσουν τα παιδιά στη χρήση νέων τεχνολογιών και συγχρόνως το τελικό αποτέλεσμα αυτής της ενασχόλησης να είναι ένα μήνυμα που ίσως να κάνει τη βαρήκοη κοινωνία να ακούσει κάτι.
Το project έτρεξε και σε άλλες χώρες και μπορείτε να δείτε μερικά επιλεγμένα βίντεο στο site του British council.

Δείτε το βίντεο της Γιάννας που ήρθε από την Τασκένδη, του Χρίστου, του Vini που περιμένει να βγει από τη φυλακή για να βρει την Besa, και του Albert που είναι δυστυχώς και αυτός στη Φυλακή.
Επίσης ένα trailer από ένα ντοκιμαντέρ που πολύ θα ήθελα να δω και όποιος έχει πληροφορίες για αυτό plz share!

"2nd Generation" Documentary trailer from videoguerra on Vimeo.

Alice in Wonderland

Have never been a big fun of Alice in Wonderland however after watching the trailer I got very excited. The downside of this is that we have to wait until next March 2010. I hate this bloody teaser concept. Dont fucking give us a teaser, give us a film we can watch in the next 2 weeks!!!

Ο καφές φάρμακο κατά του διανοητικού εκφυλισμού


Το σχετικό άρθρο της ελευθεροτυπίας εδώ

Monday, 27 July 2009

Why low cost airlines are so cheap?

In case you ever wondered how come they are so cheap here's the answers to your questions. Nothing that we didnt really know but a nice way to visualise this

Friday, 24 July 2009

We choose to go to the moon

As this week is the 40 year anniversary of landing on the moon (or from the day we were told that we landed on the moon-for all the disbelievers) here's one of the inspirational speaches from JFK. Below is the short version but if you want the big version you can click here. Now if you'd like to feel the full experience of Apollo enter this site and go through the 11 stages that will take you to the moon. Enjoy!

Economist: Thinking Spaces

In an attempt to attract younger audiences that are more tech savvy the Economist has commisioned this very cool website. The idea is to navigate through the "thinking spaces" of various interesting/inspiring? people and ultimately as a means of engagement upload your "thinking space". Havent tried this yet but I reckon it follows the same principle of social networks but ina smaller scale.

Have a go with the website here. For sure a great web design job...
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