5 JULY 1963, Page 7

A Poor Standard of Vice Bleak news from chums in

Athens. The Greeks, it seems, are going through the phase which the Italians went through some years since—that of 'cleaning things up' in deference to prudish tourists. This is only one more instance of that extraordinary phenomenon of our age—the craving evinced by all countries, as soon as they become independent or start making a little money, for sexual respectability. In so many cases this runs clean contrary to the tradition of millennia. Things have come to a pretty pass when an Alexandrian taxi-driver will show one nothing but new hospitals or waterworks and blushes at the very mention of the racecourse. Soon, one feels, there will be no cities of dis- tinction left; they will all be uniformly moral and aseptic. Havana has gone that way, also. they tell me, Tangiers; and I was very • disap- pointed recently by the poor standard of vice in Istanbul. There ought to be a society for preserving at any rate a few key monuments of cosmopolitan depravity, if only to confute the canting hypocrisy of the authorities.