Take one: People at Nammos Restaurant are patiently waiting with great excitement for the real star to appear, while sipping their -500€ minimun consumption- drinks. At about 02:30 am Antonis Remos, a greek celeb pop star, makes his entrance on stage and the sky of Mykonos is lightened by hundreds of fireworks. About 30 minutes later, and while the firework show still goes on at the same rate, Remos addresses to the producer of the concert that he has overdone it with the fireworks, in what is an obvious play with the audience, which desperately seeks the extravaganza.
Take two: In the discreetly lit open square, which once was the entrance to the Agora when Delos was flourishing some 2500 years ago, a few hundred white plastic chairs are set to welcome those who made the short boat journey from Mykonos to enjoy the concert of Fotini Darra and Dimitris Papadimitriou, a renowned singer and composer respectively. As she finishes her first song, Darra walks forward to the audience, which is on the same level as her, and while she is blinded by the only available spotlight she refers to the light technician with the following words: “Can you please lower the light, so that I can see the guests? Even if that means you ‘ll see me less!”
The above mentioned scenes are so contrary to each other, that one would suppose they happened in completely different times and places, and each event was targeting a different audience. However both happened within a few miles from each other and in less than 24 hours apart. And moreover some people, not a lot but quite a few, attended both events, revealing the paradox of Greece -and Mykonos more specifically- for the seek for attention and desire to be seen with the need of maintaining our antecedent’s culture at the same time.
And my argument is not only confined in the diametrically opposed manners of entertainment we often choose, but it is also reflected on our behaviour in each case. We are excited to attend a concert under the full moon of August, but simultaneously we are prepared to argue and override the queue to ensure a good place on the 30 minutes boat ride to the concert venue. We feel awe for the legacy of our ancestors but have no guilt to sit on the ancient ruins just because there are no more seats available. We are moved by the music and the lyrics that speak straight to our heart in combination with the magical surroundings of an archaeological site but then again we do not hesitate of leaving behind piles of litters.
And it is exactly this oddity of adapting in different situations that has led Greece to its triumphs and its disasters at the same time. An amalgam of being the cradle of western civilisation and endorsing the oriental temperament by being in the crossroads of different cultures for more than 3.000 years now. We are as ambiguous as the verse, from a poetry collection by Takis Sinopoulos, that I chose for the title: *Shine sun of fantastic Greece. But fantastic can mean fabulous just as it can mean unreal and imaginary!
As a footnote: Being a part of a magical night, like the one I experienced in Sacred Delos -the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis- under the full moon of August and the sentimental music of Dimitris Papadimitriou with the crystal voice of Fotini Darra, I couldn’t end the post without mentioning my feelings. The one problem I always had when going to concerts was the lack of purification, what ancient Greeks called Catharsis. In a theatre play, the spectator is drawn into the world of the protagonist and shares his agony, his pain and ultimately the solution to his problems and leaves the theatre with a feeling of justice and satisfaction. In a concert on the contrary, the spectator can be drawn into the music and be elevated, but at the end he leaves the venue with of an unfulfilled feeling, due to the lack of Catharsis. On Saturday night it was the first time in my life that I felt the Catharsis in a concert. I do not know whether it was the divine energy of Delos, the earthly music of Papadimitriou or the theatrical performance of Darra, that ended with a promise to meet again, but I know that as I was walking back to the pier and watching the moon as it reflected in the Aegean Sea, I felt nothing else but pure satisfaction.