SOCIETY

Happy birthday, athensville!

What makes athensville the most exciting blog about the city of Athens today? I was thinking about this on the occasion of the two-year anniversary since the Athens blogger who goes by the same name as his blog (athensville.blogspot.com) made his first post in April 2009.

There seem to be three key elements behind its success: First, the blog?s professional design that makes for an original, attractive and refreshing page. Second, the manner in which the author deftly maneuvers between the tricky issues on the urban agenda while also exploring more popish themes. And third, that athensville is not afraid to be who he is: a young Athenian who wanders around the city with a camera (or a cell phone).

The athensville blog contains a lot of original photographic material. But the images would be of lesser value without the excellent texts that accompany them. Athens buffs of the future will be fortunate to be able to draw on the wealth of pictures and information posted.

But how did this anonymous graphic designer go about acquiring his online identity? ?A keen walker, at some point I decided to take a camera with me so I could capture the interesting things I came across in the center. It was about capturing the real Athens, with a tender and sincere gaze that was absent from the media.?

The blog is animated by a real passion for the Greek capital. ?On one hand I believe that no matter which city I lived in, I would still have this positive outlook, and I would still make a blog about it. On the other hand, I remember myself being 12 years old and admiring the old neoclassical buildings; I have memories of strolling down Iasonos Street, browsing through books about the history of the city. I guess it has a lot to do with my father, who was fond of the old Athens.?

Athensville lives in a house off Patission Street. Have recent developments made him reconsider? ?Not really, because I really like the neighborhoods around here. You can find nice streets and great architecture; they are probably the most underrated parts of the city. Of course, the recent killing of Manolis Kantaris has taken its toll. I was shocked by the whole thing. The shops were closed for days and migrants were harassed in the streets. I can only hope that something like that never happen again,? he said in regards to the mugging/murder of a 44-year-old Greek man in May that was allegedly carried out by foreign nationals.

What is the main problem of Athens? ?Its residents. I think we are uneducated; we have no love of public space nor awareness of how important it really is for our collective mood.?

Athensville recently found himself among the protesting crowds at Syntagma Square. ?Although there is no clear goal, the people still left their televisions, magazines and hair salons and went out to vent.?