Whatever Happened To Stavros?


You know, the cheery, sweaty Greek stereotype serving the fat ginger British tourist sterotypes in Greece? And of course, here and from Goa to Ibiza you do find a certain kind of British tourist, the one in the photo (incredibly, proudly used as a role model for this shot from an ad for mustard), who makes you ashamed to be the ambassador of your country. ‘An ambassador is a man of virtue sent to lie abroad for his country’ said Henry Wotton Sr, but he didn’t mention reading the Daily Express and getting falling down drunk every night.

It’s been a time since I was back in Greec, but multi-culturalism and economic migration appears to be transforming once run-down areas, creating European boulevards where once there were dusty building sites, and introducing Med cuisine to replace kebab shops. There’s a downside too – the Russians have brought in furriers (are they insane? It’s 30 degrees here!) and, according to my garrulous taxi driver, prostitution, thanks to the offshore breaks that have encouraged authorities to relax restrictions against casinos and topless bars.

While the general effect of migration on Med destinations is good, the curse of the holiday villa (occupied for a couple of months each year) has swept the Greek islands, leaving them at the mercy of service industries. It’s a great subject for a book, but apart from Ballard’s ‘Cocaine Nights’ and ‘Super-Cannes’, Hilary Mantel’s ‘Eight Months On Gaza Street’ and Polly Hope’s brilliant ‘Here Away From It All’ I can’t recall any. Thrillers on the downside of tourism, anyone?

5 comments on “Whatever Happened To Stavros?”

  1. His sons grew up and were embarrassed by their dad. That’s what happened. (You could go on and construct an argument about satellite television, low-cost mobility and changing notions of masculinity in the Eastern Mediterranean, but at the heart of it, that’s what happened.)

    Or, sometimes, his sons grew up and hired Albanians to do it.

  2. I.A.M. says:

    The oik above is an under-paid model/actor who’s happy to be under hot lights in a photos studio for money, hence the expression of pride. Granted, it could be a piece of documentary evidence and he could be a toff escaping for a week-end after Daddy refused to pay his gambling debts in The City.

    As for thrillers about the downside of tourism, there’s one by Desmond Bagley about a hurricane in the Caribbean (possibly Barbados), but that’s it of my experience. Bring it on, oh Talented Author of Renown!

  3. Helen Martin says:

    The book is “Wyatt’s Hurricane”, which is extremely good, as are all of his, except the unfinished ones which (I think) his wife finished. The people left windows open so the houses wouldn’t be blown down (which Mythbusters disproved) and the phrase ‘fair, fat and forty’ takes on a real image.
    I wondered why I finished the Stavros name with Niarchos so I looked him up. He’s dead. Between his birth in 1909 and his death in 1996 he was married and divorced (sort of) five times and certainly was a prime candidate for playboy of the year. Great businessman, but sounds like a suitable subject for my projected study on sex drive linked power drives. Someone should do the study, at least.

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