If you’re a really honest composer, then you know that the question isn’t so much whether or not you’d give up a body part to write an earworm as indelible as the theme from Chariots of Fire, but rather, how many, and which ones. So, if worse comes to worse, do the right thing, and offer Vangelis a place to crash. The composer of that iconic beach-jogging soundtrack (not to mention Blade Runner, Missing, and a bunch of stuff that was recycled for the Carl Sagan series Cosmos) is in danger of having his house torn down by the Greek government.
Greece’s Culture Minister signed a decree allowing the demolition of a historical landmark in central Athens to improve the view for a new museum a stone’s throw from the Parthenon, the ministry said on Wednesday.
Despite protests from conservationists, minister George Voulgarakis signed a decree allowing the demolition of an art deco building and a neo-classical property owned by the Oscar-award winning composer Vangelis.
The Bernard Tschumi-designed New Acropolis Museum is now scheduled to open early next year. You might ask why the house needs to be razed at this late date, given that it could have been easily accounted for in the museum’s design. (And, apparently, was: the second photo down on Tschumi’s page, those buildings in the model? One of those is Vangelis’s house.) Then again, keep in mind that there’s a gallery devoted specifically to the Parthenon marbles, and, um, those are all still in Britain. Anyway, the government’s claim that the houses are blocking the view from the museum seems to be hogwash—you can see photos of the actual site here, and scroll down for interior construction views that show the Acropolis in plain view.
The government might have a better case if Vangelis had used his Hollywood millions to build a new, ostentatious monstrosity. But here’s the kicker—the house is itself a designated landmark. It’s actually two houses—one dating from 1908, and one from 1930—and both were listed as works of art by the same Culture Ministry that’s now trying to get rid of them. The whole thing seems rather shady—news of the minister’s decision didn’t make it to the papers for almost two weeks, and just ahead of Greek elections, scheduled for Sunday. Culture Minister Georgios Voulgarakis, of the currently ruling center-right New Democratic party, is relatively new in the post, having been more-or-less demoted from the job of Public Order Minister in February on the heels of a phone-tapping scandal (apparently, they get more worked up about that sort of thing in Greece than over here).
Vangelis would probably land on his feet—his latest project is scoring a new biopic of El Greco—but, just in case, Evanghelos, there’s a spare bedroom for you here at Soho the Dog HQ. Framingham, Massachusetts, isn’t exactly the center of the universe, but on the other hand, you’d probably never have to pay for your drinks over at The Aegean.