Next Cretan Chatting Critically meeting, Wednesday, April 26th


I must apologise for my dull sloth. I intended to post a report on the first Chatting Critically meeting, which took place in Gavalohori on Tuesday, March 25th. A combination of being under the weather and making a trip back to Wigan has meant putting off the task. However, this evening’s jangling Easter Week church bells have woken me up.

Back then, on a bright, cold morning I made my way tentatively down the steep slope, my head swimming from a still mysterious allergy, concerned to be first in the kafenio. Indeed I was, being greeted warmly by young Giorgos, who has in recent months transformed the classic men’s retreat into a much more open meeting place. And to be fair, the blokes don’t seem to mind, taking it all in their collective stride. I was thrown briefly when Giorgos nipped next door for a haircut, confident fifteen minutes would do the trick. He was right, returning just in time to take the orders for coffees and juice being placed by the arriving would-be Chatters.

Following brief introductions by the ten of us present [3 men and 7 women] we threw ourselves into a wide-ranging discussion, which began with the question of what constitutes Truth, going on to explore amongst other things what information and disinformation continue to influence our understandings of the COVID pandemic and the spectre of Climate Change. To everyone’s credit, the challenging exchange of opinions was cordial and respectful. There was a consensus that our next gathering should be more focused in its content and intent.

Thus it was agreed that we should meet again on Wednesday, April 26th in the H Ελπίδα kafeneio, Gavalohori at the same time of 10.30 a.m, aiming to finish by noon. We were grateful to Phil Harrison for agreeing to lead off our next debate, which will explore the state of the Creative Arts in the third decade of the twenty-first century with particular regard, given Phil’s career, to the music scene.

All are welcome but it would be helpful if you could let me know if you are intending to be present – Last-minute arrivals will still be greeted with open arms!

Other topics suggested for future meetings include:

  • Given most of us are migrants, how do we understand the ongoing issue of immigration, refugees and government responses?
  • Where is the drive to a cashless society taking us?
  • What on earth is the Great Reset?
  • Are we living in an increasingly intolerant and divisive culture, which threatens the very basis of Freedom of speech?

Crossing fingers you might make it on the 26th.




Tomorrow. all being well. there’ll be a belated report from the first Cretan Chatting Critically meeting held in Gavalohori in March, together with notice of the next meeting to take place on Tuesday, April 25 in the same venue, H Ελπίδα.

Given our first discussion touched both on Freedom and Hope, here’s a song from HK (& Les Saltimbanks), Toi et moi, ma liberté – with translation.

You and me, my freedom
This is where it all begins
Time may well stop
For a new dance
You and me, my freedom

Tonight the city is asleep
Humans have their minds elsewhere
Do you know that for you my friend
I will sing for hours

I will open the windows wide
To contemplate the joys of the sky
And I will see you appear
Like a flash, a spark

This is where it all begins

Time may well stop
For a new dance
You and me, my freedom

This is where it all begins
Time may well stop
For a new dance
You and me, my freedom

Last the walls and the facades
And the speeches of circumstance
A few imprudent people escape
Freeing themselves from proprieties

And here they are joining us
Like in a big popular ball
Do you feel our sorrows slipping away
Tomorrow will be more beautiful than yesterday

This is where it all begins
Time may well stop
For a new dance
You and me, my freedom

This is where it all begins
Time may well stop
For a new dance
You and me, my freedom

Friends, trees are in bloom
And here we are again
Like brothers, like sisters
And the soldiers are disarmed

We dance barefoot on the Earth
We pitch on the roof of the world

HK et Les Saltimbanks is a French popular music group from the Lille metropolis.

HK, son of an immigrant and Roubaisien, develops ideas of nomadic utopias and tells the stories of the homeless, Tuaregs and revolutionaries in the first album entitled Citoyen du monde’. They are known for their committed texts dealing with social struggles…

Chatting Critically in the kafeneio, March 28, Gavalohori, Crete

A view from above the Kafeneio, H Ελπίδα, the Gavalohori plateia. Thanks to @gavalohori

After my musing upon Authoritarianism the other week a number of those present indicated an interest in some sort of monthly discussion group. To this end, I’m proposing that anyone animated by the idea, whether or not they were at the talk itself, meet in the fittingly named kafeneio, ‘H Ελπίδα’ or Hope, situated on the plateia of Gavalohori at 10.30 a.m on Tuesday, March 28.

I’ve no idea who might be able to come and I won’t be offended if I finish up sitting on my own. It’s happened before in more than one English pub. However, if you are able to grace us with your presence I will be chuffed. It would be helpful if you could let me know so I can forewarn Giorgos about the hordes likely to descend on the kafeneio. Contact me at or ring/text 00447547195092.

As for what we might talk about it feels a good starting point would be to share with one another a little bit about ourselves and what issues we find most interesting and/or pressing. I’ll come with some prepared thoughts in case we’re all struck dumb. To use such an old cliche in itself opens up a discussion about correct/incorrect, sensitive/insensitive language! Chuck in pronouns and that would be a fascinating exchange.

It’s important to stress that our dialogue should seek to be respectful of a diversity of opinion. More than ever we need to listen to each other and guard against labelling arguments as being Left, Right or whatever. Let’s chat with an open mind and question each other with empathy and tolerance. More than ever we need to be conscious of the ways in which we have been manipulated in recent times. The present and the future need critically aware citizens.

Hoping our paths might cross soon,

Tony Taylor


My dear friend, comrade and confirmed Graecophile, Malcolm Ball, who died exactly two years ago, would be made up with the idea of a Critically Chatting discussion group on Crete. I can just see him with a cheeky morning ‘Mythos’ in hand, suggesting, after a lengthy, even frustrating exchange of views, that we let our thoughts ‘marinate’ until the next time – a piece of advice well worth absorbing.