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Friday, December 23, 2011

"I Hope For Nothing. I Fear Nothing. I Am Free." Nikos Kazantzakis

I stumbled upon John Karandonis' factory in Marrickville by chance and upon entering I felt I had entered a time warp. He was closing up shop after 51 years of service to Australia in the shoe business (he arrived in 1960). John talked about shoes and I promised to buy a pair but he said 'it better be before Friday or else I won't be around any longer'. With the hectic nature of Christmas upon me I promised to get back there on Tuesday, but in the end it was not until he was close to closing on Friday that I got back there. He was sporting the t-shirt below, a quote so dear to me that I had considered it to be appropriate as my own epitaph. Any of you who have read Nikos Kazantzakis or his 'magnum opus' as they refer to it on Wikipedia, Zorba The Greek, will likely know that this quote is what is written on a small wooden cross on Kazantzakis' grave in Crete.

Personally, I have never done the journey to Heraklion to see where the great author came from but I have been to Crete and I thought of Zorba on the morning of my Samaria Gorge walk when I went down to meet the sea from the mountains. It was therefore the most fitting t-shirt that an old Greek cobbler could wear on his last day of trade and it is a great shame that he most likely will not be replaced.

As a small consolation, he has patented a shoe for toddlers that is a real gem. He hopes to work on that in his spare time now. John also had some fabulous black french calf Chelseas amongst an array of other shoes which he was still trying to sell. His email is and his mobile is 0400 411 624. So, if you want any of the last remaining shoes - feel free to call him and he will meet you out there at the factory. Otherwise, he's off to enjoy his retirement at age 78. You can meet John below by watching the You Tube video.

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