talking with Greeks in thessaloniki

Article_grunbergArnon Grunberg at The Believer:

In One Step Ahead, Dimitris Athyridis’s documentary on the 2010 municipal elections in Thessaloniki, the then–mayoral candidate, Yiannis Boutaris, talks frankly about his alcohol dependency, his marital problems, and his conflict with Anthimos, the archbishop of the city, whom he accuses of hate-mongering because of Anthimos’s outspokenly nationalistic speeches. It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Boutaris after watching the documentary, even though it’s clear that the mayor, after the electoral close call, has not been able to solve all the problems before him. Garbage continues to pile up on street corners.

The mayor is not a career politician; he’s a vintner. He got his first diploma in chemistry in 1965 from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and another—in oenology—in 1969 from the Athens Wine Institute. I recognize the tattoos on his fingers from other articles I’ve read about him.

Boutaris is now seventy-one, his voice smoky.

more here.