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submitted by Kytherian Newsletter Sydney on 20.04.2014

Peter V'landys. One of Sydney’s 40 Most influential people. One of Australia’s 50 Top Sports People

In the Sunday Telegraph of the 3rd March, 2013, Peter was ranked 40th amongst Sydney’s most influential people.

The Australian of the 5th May, 2013 ranked him 22nd amongst the Top 50 Sports People in Australia.

Peter V'landys. Member of the Order of Australia (AM)

On Australia Day 2014, Peter V’landys was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for services to racing.


To view / download a copy of this article as a .pdf, go to:

Peter V'landys.pdf

In the Australian honours system, appointments to the Order of Australia confer recognition for outstanding achievement and service. The Member of the Order of Australia is awarded for service in a particular locality or field of activity or to a particular group.

Recipients of the Order of Australia are from many fields of endeavour and all walks of life. The Order of Australia has four levels:
• Companion of the Order (AC)
• Officer of the Order (AO)
• Member of the Order (AM), and
• Medal of the Order (OAM)

Peter V’landys is one of those fortunate people who are able to combine their passion with their profession. He is an Australian racing administrator who holds the position of Chief Executive and Board Member with Racing NSW (an independent body established to control and regulate the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry). As chief executive of Racing NSW, Peter oversees the state’s massive thoroughbred racing industry - the ideal job for someone who has been passionate about racing since childhood. He formerly held the position of Chief Executive of the NSW Harness Racing Club and currently serves on a number of Boards associated with the thoroughbred racing industry.

Peter attributes his Member of the Order of Australia honour to the hard work of his parents, who migrated from Kythera, Greece when he was a young boy.

Kytherian roots

Peter V’landys was born in the Vlandis “patriko” house, in the village of Kalokerines on Kythera, Greece, in 1962. The patriko house of Peter’s grandfather is easy to locate. It lies 80 metres from the church of Ayios Spyridonas, Kalokerines, on the road to Myrtidiotissa. There, 30 metres off the road, on the right, is a ‘camara’, known to all the locals, as “Fossa”. Another ‘patriko’, Peter’s father’s family’s house, is located adjacent to the ‘camara’ of his grandfather.

His pappou, Paul Vlandis – known as “Pavlis” - was extremely well known on Kythera. One of his tasks, in the lead up to ceremony of Myrtidiotissa, was to go to every house on the island on a donkey, and collect the oil that each household donated to the church. Pavlis had 12 children, one of whom was Peter’s father, Nick(olas). Nick was one of four (4) of Pavlis’s twelve (12) children who migrated to Australia.

Peter V’landys mother was Katerina Petrochilos, known as ‘Peters’ in Australia She was the daughter of Alex and Kirrani Petrochilos, from Fratsia, Kythera.

Despite leaving the island at age 3, a number of childhood memories have remained very vivid for Peter. He recalls as a small boy that he loved eating almonds. “I used to eat them by the bucket loads”. When it was time for him to leave the village, his grandfather Pavlis planted an almond tree with him. “You will be gone”, his grandfather said, “but this tree will still be here.”

He vividly remembers falling off a donkey, and “splitting my head open”. Also the many long walks, even as a small child that he undertook, up and down the road between Kalokerines and Myrtidiotissa. He also recalls vividly his best friend at the time - a young girl called Maria.

Peter’s father Nick migrated alone to Australia in 1963. He had joined a brother and sister in Wollongong, and another at Gosford - in Australia. In 1965 Peter’s mother Katerina along with his two older brothers Paul and Alex, left Kythera and migrated to Australia on the Patris.

Jim Vlandis from Gosford recalls picking up the family from the dock in Sydney, and waiting for Nick to arrive from Wollongong to be reunited with his family. The family settled in Wollongong.

Nick and Katerina lived the typical Kytherian-Greek migrant’s life in Australia. “We were very poor,” Peter V’landys says. “It was a struggle early on. My parents sometimes had to go without food to feed the three kids. Dad worked 18-hour days in the Wollongong steelworks. Because he didn't have the language, that was the best he could get. He was a 'doubler'. He worked every day from 6 am and he would normally finish at four, but then he would do a doubler. He'd finish at l am, and then start at six again. He retired when he was 60 and died when he was 64. Mum worked 12-hour shifts in a cafe so that I'd have a good chance in life. My work pales into insignificance compared to theirs. I've never seen a man and woman who worked as hard." Peter had jobs from age nine.

Peter V’landys has returned to Kythera on two occasions, the first time as a 28 year old. “When I went back, the first thing I went to look for was the almond tree. It was there were pappou had planted it”. It filled Peter with joy to see it. He was also reunited again with his childhood friend, Maria.

In 2009 he went back to Kythera a second time with his wife Philippa. On this occasion, under the bed in the patriko home, Peter found a small icon of a patron saint. He put it in his wallet, and has never removed it from his wallet since. “You know, I have lost my wallet twice, but on each occasion it has been returned to me with all its contents intact. I am sure that it was the patron saint that ensured that this happened.” The saint has been identified as Ayia Paraskevi. (See photograph). Again, on the 2009 visit, he met with his childhood friend, Maria. Tragically, Maria has since ‘passed away’.

Personal life

Growing up in Wollongong, Peter fell in love with racing when a friend introduced him to neighbours who used to regularly watch Harold Park harness racing on television. "There was a horse called Paleface Adios that really got my interest. At the age of 10, I used to buy the Trotting Guide and The Sportsman, and go to the TAB and find somebody older, an 18 year old, to put my bets on. “He would take a ‘sling’ (a %) every time I'd win”. I had an unbelievable strike rate. I was a very good form reader. I used to punt quite a bit for a young bloke.” “But I also realised early on that betting really had to be treated as entertainment - it's not something you do if you want to buy a house''?

Peter attended West Wollongong Primary and Keira Boys High School. It was a teacher at Keira who insisted on spelling his name “V-‘-l-a-n-d-y-s”. “He kept on spelling it that way...and it stuck”. At Keira Boys High his mathematics teacher advised him to study Accountancy. (‘There’s no money in Teaching”.) He gained entry to Wollongong University, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree majoring in Accounting.

To pay his way through accountancy at Wollongong University, V'landys became the manager of the Unanderra Hotel at the tender age of 18. Originally employed as a glass collector and cellarman, owner, Duke Taylor employed him to manage the Hotel. “I thought, 'This a bit of a hard job for me at 18,” says V'landys. “And all the staff agreed. They went on strike.” But V'landys stayed, and Taylor, he says, taught him the motto, “If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, you baffle them with bullshit”. “And that's really been a good piece of advice,” he says. “It's helped me a lot.”

At 20, V'landys used money he had saved and borrowed to buy the Courthouse Tavern – “a good, wholesome, old-fashioned restaurant” across the road from the (legal) Courthouse in Wollongong, which thrived, despite having no new-age chefs et cetera”.

Peter worked part-time for a Wollongong accountancy firm throughout university. “So I was basically getting up at five o'clock in the morning and studying for uni,” he says, “starting at nine o'clock at the accounting practice, and then taking over at the restaurant at 5.30 until about 10pm. I learnt what hard work is.” He sold the restaurant after about two years, making “a reasonably good profit”.

“The education I received at university was invaluable and a major factor in my career path. I was very impressed with the relaxed atmosphere and the social life, but coming from an all-boys school I remember feeling quite intimidated sitting next to girls, because I didn’t know the etiquette.”

After he graduated at the end of 1984, Peter joined a multinational mining company in Sydney. Within 12 months he was promoted to company secretary, but the lure of the racing industry would prove to be irresistible.

On February 15th, 2003 he married his wife Philippa (nee, Hooke), an executive assistant at the CSIRO. They live in Hunters Hill with the cat and their three children, Katerina, Nicholas and Maddie. Peter and Philippa have followed the Greek-Kytherian tradition of naming their first two children after the paternal grandparents. In fairness Philippa chose Maddies name. Maddies middle name is Anna, named after Peter’s mother’s mother.

Speaking in June 2010, when Nicholas was 20 months old and Katerina six months old, Peter asserted, “That's the best thing that's happened to me, the two little ones. My little girl is completely hyperactive – I don't know where she gets that from – and the little boy's as docile as anything.”

He'd been awake with the kids since 4am but, he says, “I never used to sleep anyway, so it's nothing new. When you work in one of these roles, you lie in bed and your mind just keeps going at 100 miles an hour. You find it very hard to sleep. But when you do, it's a real joy.”

Racing Administration

After commencing his career in the mining and leisure sectors, V’landys became involved in racing administration in 1988 when he was appointed as Chief Executive of the NSW Harness Racing Club the leading harness racing club in Australia which operated successful racing operations at Harold Park and Menangle Paceway. At that time he was the youngest person in Australia to be appointed as Chief Executive of a major metropolitan race club and under his administration, the NSW Harness Racing Club established a record of innovation including conducting an on-track registered club which made Harold Park the first racetrack to have poker machines (200) on course. This and several other commercial enterprises provided the Club with the broadest revenue base of any racing club in Australia.

During his tenure at Harold Park, Peter helped organise a number of Kytherian Association of Australia functions at the race course.

During this period Peter V’landys also played an integral role on behalf of the NSW racing industry in negotiations in relation to the $1 billion privatization of the NSW TAB and the restructuring of the Racing Industry’s finances.

In 2004 he was appointed to the position of Chief executive and Board Member of Racing NSW. In this role Peter V’landys also sits as a Board Member of several other NSW and Australian racing and wagering industry Boards.

Peter V’landys’ career achievements

Equine Influenza


In mid-2007, the States’ (and the country’s) racing industry was brought to a standstill as a result of an outbreak of equine influenza (a highly contagious exotic disease). New South Wales was the most effected State with all racing cancelled and the movement of all horses prohibited indefinitely. These actions had disastrous ramifications for the 50,000 persons who rely on the industry for all or part of their livelihoods and on the economies of Australia and New South Wales.

As V’landys noted, other than wars and the Depression, the only time racing stopped in Australia was in 1814, when Governor Macquarie put a halt to the very popular thoroughbred meetings because people were unfit to work for many days afterwards due to excessive celebrations.

V’landys assumed responsibility for the overall coordination of the industry’s response to this crisis and developed and implemented contingency plans to counter the effects of the outbreak and ensure the protection of the industry’s stakeholders. This involved negotiating with the Federal and State Governments for the provision of funding to establish emergency welfare schemes. He personally negotiated with the Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard MP and was successful in obtaining Government assistance in an unprecedented $235 million Rescue Package.

"Peter V’landys alone devised the concept of subsidising race horses," Peter McGauran, then Federal Agriculture Minister recalls. “At $20 a day for trotters and pacers, and $60 for thoroughbreds, V'landys reasoned they could keep a multibillion-dollar industry afloat - and the trainers, jockeys and strappers in work - so they could race as soon as the disease was eradicated”.

"It was brilliant in its concept," McGauran says. "But subsidising racehorses is a totally foreign concept with treasury and finance." So he introduced V'landys to then Prime Minister Howard - who, after 90 minutes, was a “champion” of the scheme. "Without V'landys enlisting the personal support of John Howard, the industry today would be a shell of what it once was."

McGauran testifies that Peter “builds an instant rapport and establishes a basis of trust quicker than almost anyone I've met. He's compellingly sincere and reliable, and he's relentless in his advocacy for racing, an industry structured in portals of self-interest. His rare gifts are that he got them unified into one voice, and that he understands racing in all its complexity. Too often others have no idea about achieving the possible."

V’landys oversaw the administration of the schemes to combat Equine Influenza, which were directed at participants, not only in the thoroughbred racing industry, but also in the standard bred racing and leisure horse industries.

On a State level Peter worked closely with the Minister for Primary Industries and his Department to contain the spread of the disease and our joint activities helped to mitigate the financial impact of the outbreak.

He also lobbied relevant NSW Ministers for the provision of further financial assistance which resulted in the provision of a $7.5 million grants scheme for the industry’s participants and race clubs and the establishment of a Special Mortgage Deferment Scheme for racing industry participants and a further one off grant to help promote the industry following the resumption of normal racing activities.

V’landys received many letters, and other messages of support, in the days following the announcement that he has received the Member of the Order of Australia award. Peter is not an openly emotional man, but he was genuinely moved by one writer’s sentiments. “I will never forget what you did for the racing industry participants during the equine influenza outbreak,’’ the letter read. “You kept food on the table for many families in racing, you gave us hope to keep going.’’

World Youth Day negotiations with State and Federal Governments

Following the Government’s announcement that the 200x World Youth Day would be held in Sydney and centred at Randwick Racecourse Peter V’landys coordinated the industry’s planning for the use of the Racecourse and the disruption which would be caused to the activities and livelihoods of racing industry participants during the World Youth Day activities. This included dealing with the NSW and Federal Governments and the Catholic Church and he was able to negotiate a $40 million compensation package for the racing industry.

Peter V’landys stood up to the authority of the Catholic Church, and what was referred to at the time, as “bullying tactics”, and won. "I ... think Mr Pell is a bully," V'landys said at the time. "He's refused any meeting with us because he realises he's not in a position of strength, because he's forcing his will on someone who doesn't want to comply. I've got nothing against the Catholic Church, or against a world-significant event, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the racing industry."

Race Field Legislation

Immediately upon his appointment with Racing NSW in 2004, Peter recognized the importance of the Thoroughbred Racing Industry maintaining ownership of the intellectual property rights in its racing product so as to ensure the protection of its wagering revenues.
Initially he explored the application of copyright laws to achieve this purpose. However, in 2008, as a result of his recommendations, the NSW Government enacted race field legislation which allowed the NSW racing industry to generate significant revenue from interstate and overseas wagering operators who were using the NSW product to conduct their wagering operations. Wherever corporate bookmakers based themselves, they had to pay a percentage to Racing NSW for publishing the field.”

In accord with the legislation V’landys developed a scheme for the collection of revenue from those operators. This program is returning up to $50 million per annum to the NSW thoroughbred racing industry and following the successful implementation of the scheme, the Governments and racing industries of other Australian States and Territories also introduced similar schemes.

Subsequent to the commencement of the scheme, the legislation and its implementation were challenged in the courts by two major wagering operators, Sportsbet and Betfair. V’landys coordinated and ran Racing NSW’s legal defense against those challenges and the matter came before a single judge of the Federal Court, the Full bench of the Federal Court, and subsequently before the High Court of Australia which found unanimously in favour of Racing NSW. The March 2012 outcome allowed the release of $150 million in accrued funds to the industry and ensured the on-going receipt of $50 million per annum.

V’landys’ efforts on this front have been recognized world-wide by international racing authorities.

Peter attests that “the biggest battle I've had in racing was with the wagering operators.” Again, he won the long fight but, “it was a strenuous battle, because it got quite personal”. The bookmakers accused him of dissembling, incompetence and misrepresentation. “They unleashed a tsunami of personal attacks which I had to cop. Sometimes I used to go to bed hating myself, after some of the stuff I'd read. It got to a situation when I got home and the cat kicked me, rather than me kicking the cat.”

In addition to its positive effect on the NSW thoroughbred racing industry the High Court result also provided certainty for the NSW Harness Racing and Greyhound Racing industries and all racing industries in the other States and territories, which were then able to proceed confidently with their funding models.

The Australian Jockey Club (AJC) and Sydney Turf Club (STC) merger

The Australian Jockey Club (AJC) was founded in January 1842.The AJC was considered the senior racing club in Australia and was responsible for founding the Australian Stud Book, which the combined club still oversees today. The club also, in conjunction with the Victoria Racing Club, formulated the Rules of Racing that is followed by all Australian race clubs.

The Sydney Turf Club (STC) was founded in 1943 and was the youngest of Australia's principal race clubs. It was formed following an Act passed by the New South Wales parliament called the Sydney Turf Club Act.

Both the AJC and the STC had co-existed as independent bodies since the early 1940s. A merger proposal was first mooted at the turn of the 21st century. However, the first real push for a merger came with the release of a report by Ernst and Young in June 2009 which recommended that a merger would save the New South Wales racing industry from collapse. The NSW Government pledged $174 million for Sydney racing if the merger went ahead, including a major revitalisation of Randwick racecourse. The move for a merger was controversial, with members of both clubs hesitant to lose their respective identities. While AJC members voted in favour of a merger, STC members voted against a merger. Nevertheless, the board of the STC decided to proceed with a merger.

Against resistance from traditionalists, Peter V'landys pushed the merger of the AJC and the STC, and a deal was clinched in October 2010, with a $174 million injection into merged bodies coffers.

Trackside

More recently Peter negotiated the sale to TAB Ltd of the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry’s future revenues from the computer generated racing game “trackside”. This sale realised $150 million for the industry and has allowed the development of new world class spectator facilities at the Randwick Racecourse.

These magnificent facilities’ include two new grandstands, a function centre, restaurants, corporate boxes and a 4500-seat horse parade ring. He has also driven significant prize money increases across the three tiers of racing. Little wonder that they call Peter V’landys, “the messiah”, and “the man who saved the industry”.

The small punters mate

Peter V'landys has masterminded deals that have pumped more than a $1 billion into the NSW thoroughbred industry - but it's the little wins for battlers that he holds most dear.
V’landys has said that one his of career highlights was convincing the TAB not to proceed with a decision to increase its minimum bet limit from 50c to $5.

"I felt sorry for all the little punters, many of them pensioners, who really enjoy a 50c each-way flutter,'' he said. "I went as hard as I've ever gone to help keep that minimum limit - it's probably my battler background coming out.''

One of Sydney’s 40 Most influential people. One of Australia’s 50 Top Sports People.

In the Sunday Telegraph of the 3rd March, 2013, Peter was ranked 40th amongst Sydney’s most influential people.
The Australian of the 5th May, 2013 ranked him 22nd amongst the Top 50 Sports People in Australia.

Looking to the Future

It is unheard of for a Chief Executive of Racing at the highest levels to maintain the position for even three years. February 2014 marked 10 years since Peter V’landys was appointed to the position of Chief executive and Board Member of Racing NSW.

Adam Taylor writing in the Daily Telegraph on the 28th February, 2014 argues that “even V'landys must reflect on what a difference a decade makes. Sydney racing is preparing for the inaugural The Championships series and the most anticipated autumn carnival in memory. The sport is well-placed to take full advantage of the gilt-edged opportunities delivered by the preceding decade”.

Peter V’landys is not a person to rest on past achievements. He is always guided by a vision for the future. "There's still a lot of work to be done, the racing industry has many challenges ahead." When asked to elaborate on what those challenges are, he specified the following:

Racing needs to find ways to stay relevant to the new generations.
Racing’s revenue base is and has been under threat so it must do everything in its power to at minimum maintain the base and ideally ensure it grows.
The need to embrace and maximise the advantages provided by technologies
Maintaining the integrity of racing at all cost.

Racings big issues for V’landys include:

The Championship Funding.
“We would never have commenced The Championships if we didn’t believe we could sustain the prize money.

Sydney Race Clubs Merger.
“Naturally with new facilities at Randwick some people’s perception is that the AJC has benefited most. I think the ATC is working very hard to ensure the success at Rosehill.”

Racing’s NSW’s Strategic Plan
It was completed 12 months ago but cannot be released as the major driver for all the initiatives is currently under consideration by a third party and releasing the plan may jeopardise success with the delicate state of play.

Racing Politics
“Like any industry there are people who are driven by self-interest and those who have an unhealthy sense of entitlement. Unfortunately I have a low tolerance for these types”.

The Past Ten Years

“I think in the ten years I experienced every emotion known to humanity. As psychology professor Robert Plutchik says there are eight emotions: joy, sadness, fear, trust, disgust, surprise, anger and anticipation. I definitely experienced every one of these”.

Whilst we are on the subject of psychology, a number of psychological qualities have been consistently attributed to Peter V’landys by astute observers. Above all, he is a winner. Rick Feneley from the Sydney Morning Herald has quipped that “the state's straight-talking racing boss has winning form”. Robert Nason, then Tabcorp's boss of wagering, encountered one of the toughest negotiators he has ever seen. Nason, now with Telstra, always respected V’landys honesty. "A lot of people have underestimated Peter to their ultimate detriment."

V’landys is a hard-nosed negotiator; his modus operandi is to tackle the difficult issues head-on and find a solution with a "can-do" machismo which often irritates his opponents. Peter has time and again been called the “can do” man. Some even go further, calling him a “saviour”, and some go even further still, calling him a “messiah”.

V'landys makes no apologies for refusing to back down when he believes passionately about a cause. He is straight-talking to the point of bluntness. "I think you've got to do your best for any organisation. If that sometimes comes across as abrasive, so be it. I've never wanted to win a popularity contest." V’landys is tough. He is very combative. As one racing identity put it, “he would rather have a fight, than a feed”.

V’landys always thinks holistically about racing. His vision ranges beyond entrenched and factional interests; always seeking the greater good for the entire racing industry.

The Member of the Order of Australia honour is a deserved acknowledgment for the man who has been at the helm of the NSW racing industry for a decade, throughout the most turbulent period in its history. This also makes him very durable.

Peter V’landys achievements are profoundly significant. All Australians, all Greek-Australians and all Kytherians around the world can take great pride in them.

The author would like to thank Peter V’landys for agreeing to be interviewed, and for the candour of his responses. Also to Jim Vlandis, Gosford, for providing information about the Vlandis family in Kalokerines, Kythera.
The structure and content of information about the Racing Industry was sourced from the WIKI entry for Peter V’landys http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_V'landys
Links to numerous newspaper articles about Peter V’landys, and Racing NSW Annual reports were accessed from the WIKI article bibliography as well as Google searches.

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submitted by Kytherian Newsflash on 21.05.2013

Boat with contraband cigarettes impounded on Kythera

According to preliminary estimates, the total quantity of contraband amounted to 1,880 cartons of cigarettes (18.8 million cigarettes)!!!

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submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 23.10.2012

great dinning with the best view ....

americanos is defiantlely a restaurant to visit while on the island , situated at NEOS KOSMOS ...AGIA PELAGIA ... neos kosmos food is like the food our mothers cook, it is superb dinnig... at what a view while eating traditional greek / kytherian food at its best .. say hello to owners dimitri and anna.... lovely hosts , great food and the view , well , i will leave it to you and see what you think ....

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submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 29.09.2015

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO BUILD OR RENOVATE ON KYTHERA ...THESE BOYS CAN HELP

Theodore Fardoulys (left) and George Gika, thinking of renovating a house or building ? that you have on the island,Theodore of Agia Pelagia and Sydney who has been living on Kythera for 6 years and has been going to the island with his parents as a young boy, will be able to assist you in all forms of construction. Theo is currently supervising the renovation of my grandparents house in Trifyllianika. This is a perfect opportunity if you can't be on the island to see your property being renovated or built he will organise quotes from all the best tradespeople from... carpenters,bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, all stone work for fencing etc. He will be able to obtain the best price to do that particular job. Also, is available for any land clearing as he has a large bulldozer on the island. You may have absolute piece of mind that Theodore Fardoulys will oversee the construction or renovation of your property projects as he knows most of the tradespeople of the island. He is available on email..... fardouly@hotmail.com, he also available on Skype and facetime. He also sends regular photos to you show you can keep up with the progress of your property. His very close friend in George Gika (right of photo) has a large excavator suitable for clearing and breaking up of large rocks that may be on your property and also with his father are the concrete experts on the island. Theodore comes highly recommended because I've just spent the last 4 weeks seeing the renovations to our house, so this is a perfect opportunity to renovate with confidence a house or property you may have on the island. Theodores contact number is... 0011 306945142724. you will be satisfied with their work !!......UPDATE ... JUST SPENT THE LAST TWO WEEKS ON KYTHERA TO SEE OUR HOUSE THAT THEODORE FARDOULYS IS HELPING TO RENOVATE WITH ALL OF THE ISLANDS TRADES PE0PLE .. I MUST SAY WHAT I SAW HAS MADE US VERY HAPPY WITH WHAT HE HAS DONE AND WITHIN THE BUDGET ... SO IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT FIXING THAT HOUSE ON THE ISLAND GET IN CONTACT WITH THEO !

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submitted by New York Times on 13.06.2012

Greek Antiquities, Long Fragile, Are Endangered by Austerity.

By RANDY KENNEDY

Published: June 11, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/arts/design/archaeologists-say-greek-antiquities-threatened-by-austerity.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

A version of this article appeared in print on June 12, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Greek Antiquities, Long Fragile, Are Endangered by Austerity.

Photograph: Gely Fragou, a 31-year-old Greek archaeologist, worked on short government contracts until the last one expired in 2010. She said that several friends have taken day jobs to make ends meet: One works in a bakery, another on an assembly line, and a third as a trash collector in Athens.

Photograph by Eirini Vourloumis.

KYTHIRA, Greece — A jarring public-awareness ad that has appeared recently on Greek television news shows a little girl strolling with her mother through the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, one of the country’s cultural crown jewels. The girl skips off by herself, and as she stands alone before a 2,500-year-old marble statue, a hand suddenly sweeps in from behind, covering her mouth and yanking her away.
Multimedia

Aris Tsaravopoulos, a government archaeologist who was pushed out of his job in November, and a student inspect a piece of Minoan pottery at a site on Kythira. More Photos »
An instant later, she reappears, apparently unharmed but staring forlornly at an empty plinth: The kidnappers weren’t after the girl — they were after the statue.

The ad, produced by the Association of Greek Archaeologists, is most immediately a reminder of an armed robbery of dozens of artifacts from a museum in Olympia in February, amid persistent security shortcomings at museums across the country. But the campaign’s central message — “Monuments have no voice. They must have yours” — is a much broader attack on deep cultural budget cuts being made as part of the austerity measures imposed on Greece by the European economic establishment, measures that have led in recent weeks to an electoral crisis, a caretaker government and the specter of Greece’s departure from the euro zone.

Effects of the cultural cuts are already being felt by the public, as museum galleries and sometimes whole museums suffer from sporadic closings.

But Greek and international archaeologists and curators warn that the real consequences of the cuts will not become fully apparent for years and will be far more dire for ancient artifacts and historical scholarship. Over the last six months dozens of the country’s most experienced state archaeologists — those with the highest number of years of service and highest salaries, 1,550 euros a month, or a little less than $2,000 — have been forced into early retirement as part of a 10 percent staff reduction within the government’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Through regular retirements and attrition over the last two years, the archaeological staff has shrunk even more, to 900 from 1,100, according to the association, the union that represents the archaeologists.

At a time when taxes are being raised, pensions are being cut and the national unemployment rate stands at more than 21 percent, this exodus has faded quickly into the bleak economic landscape. But scholars say the cuts are beginning to cause precisely what the television ad dramatizes: the disappearance of antiquities. The primary culprits are not museum robbers and looters of antiquities sites, but two even more treacherous forces that now have fewer checks on their power: the elements and developers’ bulldozers.

In a dry riverbed one late April morning on the island of Kythira, Aris Tsaravopoulos, a former government archaeologist who was pushed out of his job in November, pointed out a site where a section of riverbank had collapsed during a rainstorm a few months earlier. Scattered all along the bed as it stretched toward the Mediterranean were hundreds of pieces of Minoan pottery, most likely dating to the second millennium B.C., some of them painted with floral patterns that were still a vivid red.

Mr. Tsaravopoulos, who directed archaeological projects and supervised foreign digs on the island for more than 15 years, said he believed the site might be part of a tomb or an ancient dumping ground. (Extensive digs in the mid-1960s by British archaeologists helped establish that the island was a longtime colony of Minoan Crete.) The collapse of the bank had already caused some of the artifacts to wash out to sea. Filling the pockets of his khaki vest with larger pieces of pottery to date and place in storage, Mr. Tsaravopoulos said, “The next big rain will carry away more, and before long it will all be gone.”

In years past Mr. Tsaravopoulos would have organized an emergency dig at such a site. Now, he said, he can no longer do anything but alert already overburdened colleagues in the state archaeological service, with little hope any rescue work will be done in time: Since his forced retirement last fall, Kythira, a sparsely populated island slightly larger than Malta and six hours southwest of Athens by ferry, had not been visited by a government archaeologist.

Of course, long before the economic meltdown, sites were lost or poorly kept, partly as a result of the immensity of the task of preserving the county’s past. In Kythira alone, there might well be dozens of such unexplored sites; the Greek truism that you can’t turn a corner without tripping over an antiquity often seems almost literally true. (The country has 19,000 declared archaeological sites and monuments and 210 antiquities museums.)

“I believe that this ministry could double or triple the number of archaeologists it hires — and the number of guards — and still be understaffed,” said Pavlos Geroulanos, Greece’s culture and tourism minister until the May 6 elections brought in a caretaker government. Mr. Geroulanos has overseen the layoffs and forced retirements as his annual operating budget has dwindled 30 percent over the last three years. “There’s so much out there, and so much work to be done,” he said.

But now Greece’s already hidebound and inefficient archaeological bureaucracy, for years among the largest in Europe (where the state plays a central role in the field in many countries), is confronting a drop in resources so sharp that it is beginning to cede the responsibility for cultural heritage it has had for more than 150 years.

In Messenia, on the Peloponnesian peninsula, excavation work has come to a halt on a fifth- or sixth-century B.C. mountaintop temple discovered in 2010 not far from the well-known Temple of Epicurean Apollo, a Unesco World Heritage site. Xeni Arapogianni, the state archaeologist who oversaw the region and directed the initial excavation of the newly discovered temple, was forced into early retirement last fall before she could complete research for publications about the find.

“There’s still work that needs to be done there, but no one goes to do it,” Ms. Arapogianni said in an interview. “A department cannot function without a director.”

She added that the temple was not important simply as another place that might someday dot a tourist map but because the history of fifth-century temple cults in the region is still an emerging field of research, and the site could provide crucial insights. “This is not just another temple,” she said.

To many Greek archaeologists and university colleagues from other countries who dig with the government’s permission, an even more troubling repercussion of the austerity budget is that research leaves of absence for government archaeologists are being canceled, and money for their research excavations is no longer being provided unless they can find other sources to share the cost.

One effect is that Greek archaeologists are being pushed to focus almost exclusively on the more bureaucratic side of their jobs: inspecting construction sites for the presence of buried antiquities. It is a crucial task, but one that, even with the slowdown of development during the crisis, consumes almost all their time now. This means that scholarship is put on indefinite, and in some cases probably permanent, hold.

An American archaeologist with decades of experience in Greece, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating government officials at such an uncertain time, said: “Nobody in Greece digs nearly as much as the government archaeological service. And if they aren’t able to publish what they find, they might as well not be doing it at all; they might as well just rebury it.”

Despite its relatively low pay, the profession of archaeology has long been held in high esteem in Greece; it is a job that children aspire to, like becoming a doctor. And in a country where the public sector has been plagued for decades with corruption, archaeologists have retained a reputation as generally honorable and hard-working.

“They used to say that we were a special race,” said Alexandra Christopoulou, the deputy director of the National Archaeological Museum. “We worked overtime without getting paid for it — a rarity in Greece — because we really loved what we did.”

Veteran Greek archaeologists tend to view the crisis with a grim resolve to make do with the resources at hand. But many in the next generation are unable to do even that. The archaeological service has all but stopped hiring, and the hundreds of young archaeologists who work on part-time contracts are finding those contracts renewed more infrequently.

Gely Fragou, a 31-year-old Greek archaeologist trained at the University of Southampton, in England, worked for several years on short government contracts, but the last one expired in 2010. She continues to hope for work, but she said that several friends have taken day jobs to make ends meet: One works in a bakery, another on an assembly line, and a third as a trash collector in Athens. “If it wasn’t for my family,” she said, “I would have left Greece.”

Mr. Geroulanos, who served as the culture minister for two and half years, an unusually long stretch amid Greece’s shifting political alliances, said the deep staff cuts were unavoidable in order to make the strongest case that his ministry could live within its means, as the rest of Greece is now having to do.

“We’re at a time now,” he said in an interview in his office in Athens, “where I can safely say that every dollar given to the ministry will be well spent.”

Even with the ministry’s budget falling every year of his tenure, he said, it has been able to complete important projects, like modernizing the facilities at more than 100 publicly accessible ancient sites. Over the last three years Greece has also managed to compete successfully for tens of millions of euros from the European Union available for archaeological projects.

But critics of austerity say these few bright spots pale against the irreversible damage already under way.

On the island of Kythira, Mr. Tsaravopoulos recently visited a plot of sparsely wooded field, acting on a tip from a friend that a bulldozer had been at work there without a permit or antiquities inspection. He arrived to find a makeshift dirt road freshly carved into a hillside, scattered with dozens of broken pieces of glazed pottery dating to Hellenic and early Roman times.

As he was leaving, the owner of the land arrived with his family, and he and Mr. Tsaravopoulos, who knew him, had a curt discussion in the middle of the road before the man walked on.

“He told me he didn’t realize he’d damaged any artifacts and that he was sorry,” Mr. Tsaravopoulos said later. “Then he told me very nicely: ‘Oh Aris, I heard the news that you had to retire. I’m very sorry about that.’ He knows that I have no power anymore to prevent people from digging wherever they want.”


A version of this article appeared in print on June 12, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Greek Antiquities, Long Fragile, Are Endangered by Austerity.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by New York Times on 13.06.2012

Greek Antiquities, Long Fragile, Are Endangered by Austerity.

By RANDY KENNEDY

Published: June 11, 2012

A version of this article appeared in print on June 12, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Greek Antiquities, Long Fragile, Are Endangered by Austerity.

Photograph: A closed room at the National Archaeological Museum. (Aris Tsaravopoulos and Gely Fragou at the door).

KYTHIRA, Greece — A jarring public-awareness ad that has appeared recently on Greek television news shows a little girl strolling with her mother through the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, one of the country’s cultural crown jewels. The girl skips off by herself, and as she stands alone before a 2,500-year-old marble statue, a hand suddenly sweeps in from behind, covering her mouth and yanking her away.
Multimedia

Aris Tsaravopoulos, a government archaeologist who was pushed out of his job in November, and a student inspect a piece of Minoan pottery at a site on Kythira. More Photos »
An instant later, she reappears, apparently unharmed but staring forlornly at an empty plinth: The kidnappers weren’t after the girl — they were after the statue.

The ad, produced by the Association of Greek Archaeologists, is most immediately a reminder of an armed robbery of dozens of artifacts from a museum in Olympia in February, amid persistent security shortcomings at museums across the country. But the campaign’s central message — “Monuments have no voice. They must have yours” — is a much broader attack on deep cultural budget cuts being made as part of the austerity measures imposed on Greece by the European economic establishment, measures that have led in recent weeks to an electoral crisis, a caretaker government and the specter of Greece’s departure from the euro zone.

Effects of the cultural cuts are already being felt by the public, as museum galleries and sometimes whole museums suffer from sporadic closings.

But Greek and international archaeologists and curators warn that the real consequences of the cuts will not become fully apparent for years and will be far more dire for ancient artifacts and historical scholarship. Over the last six months dozens of the country’s most experienced state archaeologists — those with the highest number of years of service and highest salaries, 1,550 euros a month, or a little less than $2,000 — have been forced into early retirement as part of a 10 percent staff reduction within the government’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Through regular retirements and attrition over the last two years, the archaeological staff has shrunk even more, to 900 from 1,100, according to the association, the union that represents the archaeologists.

At a time when taxes are being raised, pensions are being cut and the national unemployment rate stands at more than 21 percent, this exodus has faded quickly into the bleak economic landscape. But scholars say the cuts are beginning to cause precisely what the television ad dramatizes: the disappearance of antiquities. The primary culprits are not museum robbers and looters of antiquities sites, but two even more treacherous forces that now have fewer checks on their power: the elements and developers’ bulldozers.

In a dry riverbed one late April morning on the island of Kythira, Aris Tsaravopoulos, a former government archaeologist who was pushed out of his job in November, pointed out a site where a section of riverbank had collapsed during a rainstorm a few months earlier. Scattered all along the bed as it stretched toward the Mediterranean were hundreds of pieces of Minoan pottery, most likely dating to the second millennium B.C., some of them painted with floral patterns that were still a vivid red.

Mr. Tsaravopoulos, who directed archaeological projects and supervised foreign digs on the island for more than 15 years, said he believed the site might be part of a tomb or an ancient dumping ground. (Extensive digs in the mid-1960s by British archaeologists helped establish that the island was a longtime colony of Minoan Crete.) The collapse of the bank had already caused some of the artifacts to wash out to sea. Filling the pockets of his khaki vest with larger pieces of pottery to date and place in storage, Mr. Tsaravopoulos said, “The next big rain will carry away more, and before long it will all be gone.”

In years past Mr. Tsaravopoulos would have organized an emergency dig at such a site. Now, he said, he can no longer do anything but alert already overburdened colleagues in the state archaeological service, with little hope any rescue work will be done in time: Since his forced retirement last fall, Kythira, a sparsely populated island slightly larger than Malta and six hours southwest of Athens by ferry, had not been visited by a government archaeologist.

Of course, long before the economic meltdown, sites were lost or poorly kept, partly as a result of the immensity of the task of preserving the county’s past. In Kythira alone, there might well be dozens of such unexplored sites; the Greek truism that you can’t turn a corner without tripping over an antiquity often seems almost literally true. (The country has 19,000 declared archaeological sites and monuments and 210 antiquities museums.)

“I believe that this ministry could double or triple the number of archaeologists it hires — and the number of guards — and still be understaffed,” said Pavlos Geroulanos, Greece’s culture and tourism minister until the May 6 elections brought in a caretaker government. Mr. Geroulanos has overseen the layoffs and forced retirements as his annual operating budget has dwindled 30 percent over the last three years. “There’s so much out there, and so much work to be done,” he said.

But now Greece’s already hidebound and inefficient archaeological bureaucracy, for years among the largest in Europe (where the state plays a central role in the field in many countries), is confronting a drop in resources so sharp that it is beginning to cede the responsibility for cultural heritage it has had for more than 150 years.

In Messenia, on the Peloponnesian peninsula, excavation work has come to a halt on a fifth- or sixth-century B.C. mountaintop temple discovered in 2010 not far from the well-known Temple of Epicurean Apollo, a Unesco World Heritage site. Xeni Arapogianni, the state archaeologist who oversaw the region and directed the initial excavation of the newly discovered temple, was forced into early retirement last fall before she could complete research for publications about the find.

“There’s still work that needs to be done there, but no one goes to do it,” Ms. Arapogianni said in an interview. “A department cannot function without a director.”

She added that the temple was not important simply as another place that might someday dot a tourist map but because the history of fifth-century temple cults in the region is still an emerging field of research, and the site could provide crucial insights. “This is not just another temple,” she said.

To many Greek archaeologists and university colleagues from other countries who dig with the government’s permission, an even more troubling repercussion of the austerity budget is that research leaves of absence for government archaeologists are being canceled, and money for their research excavations is no longer being provided unless they can find other sources to share the cost.

One effect is that Greek archaeologists are being pushed to focus almost exclusively on the more bureaucratic side of their jobs: inspecting construction sites for the presence of buried antiquities. It is a crucial task, but one that, even with the slowdown of development during the crisis, consumes almost all their time now. This means that scholarship is put on indefinite, and in some cases probably permanent, hold.

An American archaeologist with decades of experience in Greece, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating government officials at such an uncertain time, said: “Nobody in Greece digs nearly as much as the government archaeological service. And if they aren’t able to publish what they find, they might as well not be doing it at all; they might as well just rebury it.”

Despite its relatively low pay, the profession of archaeology has long been held in high esteem in Greece; it is a job that children aspire to, like becoming a doctor. And in a country where the public sector has been plagued for decades with corruption, archaeologists have retained a reputation as generally honorable and hard-working.

“They used to say that we were a special race,” said Alexandra Christopoulou, the deputy director of the National Archaeological Museum. “We worked overtime without getting paid for it — a rarity in Greece — because we really loved what we did.”

Veteran Greek archaeologists tend to view the crisis with a grim resolve to make do with the resources at hand. But many in the next generation are unable to do even that. The archaeological service has all but stopped hiring, and the hundreds of young archaeologists who work on part-time contracts are finding those contracts renewed more infrequently.

Gely Fragou, a 31-year-old Greek archaeologist trained at the University of Southampton, in England, worked for several years on short government contracts, but the last one expired in 2010. She continues to hope for work, but she said that several friends have taken day jobs to make ends meet: One works in a bakery, another on an assembly line, and a third as a trash collector in Athens. “If it wasn’t for my family,” she said, “I would have left Greece.”

Mr. Geroulanos, who served as the culture minister for two and half years, an unusually long stretch amid Greece’s shifting political alliances, said the deep staff cuts were unavoidable in order to make the strongest case that his ministry could live within its means, as the rest of Greece is now having to do.

“We’re at a time now,” he said in an interview in his office in Athens, “where I can safely say that every dollar given to the ministry will be well spent.”

Even with the ministry’s budget falling every year of his tenure, he said, it has been able to complete important projects, like modernizing the facilities at more than 100 publicly accessible ancient sites. Over the last three years Greece has also managed to compete successfully for tens of millions of euros from the European Union available for archaeological projects.

But critics of austerity say these few bright spots pale against the irreversible damage already under way.

On the island of Kythira, Mr. Tsaravopoulos recently visited a plot of sparsely wooded field, acting on a tip from a friend that a bulldozer had been at work there without a permit or antiquities inspection. He arrived to find a makeshift dirt road freshly carved into a hillside, scattered with dozens of broken pieces of glazed pottery dating to Hellenic and early Roman times.

As he was leaving, the owner of the land arrived with his family, and he and Mr. Tsaravopoulos, who knew him, had a curt discussion in the middle of the road before the man walked on.

“He told me he didn’t realize he’d damaged any artifacts and that he was sorry,” Mr. Tsaravopoulos said later. “Then he told me very nicely: ‘Oh Aris, I heard the news that you had to retire. I’m very sorry about that.’ He knows that I have no power anymore to prevent people from digging wherever they want.”


A version of this article appeared in print on June 12, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Greek Antiquities, Long Fragile, Are Endangered by Austerity.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Angelos Grammenos on 09.06.2011

Vasilis Kailas, photographed at the audio-visual studio were he works, 2011

Vasili was a child prodigy of Greek cinema and theatre was born of Kytherian parents (from Mitata) in Athens, on June 16, 1953. He began his career is movies at a very young age, appearing in 1957 in the film The Last Lie. He very soon established a distinctive record as a young supporting actor. He also played lead roles in films such as Mary Plyta Loustrakos’, Salesman.

Watch cinema performances of Vasili as a child actor at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAeT-CUbwHg&feature=related

In 1985 he was the protagonist in the film She Graduated. He gained roles in 117 films, mainly Greek language, but also “foreign”. He has established a reputation as the child prodigy of Greek cinema. He later went on to a career in the theatre.

In forgoing cinema for the theatre he lost a chance to establish himself economically. He harbours no regrets, however. The golden age of Greek films has long past. But generations of Greek audiences continue to adore Vassilakis Kaili for his "afflicted" roles.

His personal life reflected many of the roles he played in films. He struggled with poverty and hardship, but, being resilient, has managed to overcome these challenges.

Today, he still works behind the cameras and the spotlight, providing a distinctive voice to many children's heroes. (See article, in Greek, below).

The Union of Ionian (Seven) Islands, on 29th May 2011, at 6:00 pm, in the Old Parliament House, Syntagma Square, Athens, conferred awards on 2 persons from each of 6 of the Ionian Islands, and 3 persons from Kythera. Greek Post will follow up this award, by issuing a postage stamp in each awardees honour.

The three from Kythera were, George Miller, Film Producer, Sydney Australia, Professor Nikos Petrochilos, Athens and Hora, Kythera, Greece and Vasilis Kailas, cinema and theatre actor, Athens, Greece.

Filmography

Did you get a degree? (1985) [Andreas Dovas]
The Saint of Preveza (1982) [Father]
Vengos the mad bomber (1980)
The great storm of Love (1972)
Burning flesh (1971)
Intoxication of the flesh (1970)
Let the jury consider the (1969)
I want my child back (1969)
In our teacher ... with Love (1969) [Andreas Liapis] I will rock my heart (1968) [(small) Dimitri]
Dream elusive (1968)
Eradicated genera (1968) [(small) Bill Karatzoglou]
Family Corraface (1968) [Nicolis]
Humble and katafronemenos (1968)
In front of the gallows (1968)
Stay close to my beloved (1968)
Dew or noble (1967)
The hour of justice (1967)
What do you born poor (1967)
For the heart of the beautiful Helen (1967)
Sometimes they cry and the strong (1967) [(small) Andreas Geralis]
The Salesman (1967) [Kostas]
Isaiah dancing (1966) [Vassilakis]
You hurt my love (1966)
Winner (1965) [(small) Peter Ntavaris]
The Rebel (1965)
Slighter with my sweet (1965)
Angels without wings (1965)
I live for you (1965)
The Great Oath (1965)
Why have you forsaken (1965)
I am a miserable (1964) [Sunday]
Every port and sorrow (1964)
Persecuted of fate (1964)
Girl Pain (1964)
Storm in a child's heart (1964) [Yiannakis Kontovasilis]
The liar (1963) [Peter]
For a little tenderness (1963)
The brat (1963)
The Great Sin (1963)
Hearts in the Storm (1963)
The Prodigal (1963) [(small) Michalios] Midnight in the villa Nelli (1963)
The madcap (1963) [(small) Thanassis]
Wounded Hearts (1963) [Vassilakis]
A fool with a patent (1963)
Handyman and erimospitis (1963) [Yiannakis]
Two we drink on the cross of pain (1962) [(small)]
The bride run away ... (1962) [Kostakis Bakouris]
Lafina (1962) [Giannios]
The Greek and Love (1962)
Christmas bum (1972)
The loustrakos (1962) [(small) Vasilis Maras]
Makrykostaioi and Kontogiorgis (1960) [(a small weapon)]
Madalena (1960) [Pantelis Haridimos]
The lady our grandparent (1958) [Argyris]
The last lie (1958)

Series Vasilis has played

All the glory all through 1988 ET2
Kostis Palamas 1993 ET1
Folk tales from around the world ERT2 1982

BY http://www.espressonews.gr/,
BY http://homepage.mac.com/,
FROM AND 90lepta.com www.retrodb.gr

The other life of Vasilis Kailas.

Η άλλη ζωή του Βασίλη Καΐλα


From:

http://www.espressonews.gr/default.asp?pid=79&catid=16&artID=849476

Εμεινε στην ιστορία ως το παιδί-θαύμα του ελληνικού κινηματογράφου. Και όσο και αν άλλαξε, παραμένει ακόμη ένα άδολο «παιδί» αφού για την αγάπη του για το θέατρο έχει χάσει μέχρι τώρα πολλά λεφτά. Και όμως, δεν το μετανιώνει. Τον Βασιλάκη Καΐλα τον λατρέψαμε μέσα από τους «πονεμένους» ρόλους του... Τα χρόνια πέρασαν, το κλάμα στέρεψε, οι χρυσές εποχές του καλού κινηματογράφου έσβησαν, όχι όμως και ο γλυκός λουστράκος που τόσο αγαπήσαμε. Τόσο στην ταινία όσο και στην προσωπική του ζωή πάλεψε με τη φτώχεια και τις κακουχίες, αλλά δεν το έβαλε κάτω και τα κατάφερε... Σήμερα, στα 55 του χρόνια πλέον, εξακολουθεί να δουλεύει πίσω από τις κάμερες και τα φώτα της δημοσιότητας χαρίζοντας τη χαρακτηριστική φωνή του σε πολλούς παιδικούς ήρωες. Ο χρόνος του ελάχιστος, αλλά η «Espresso» κατάφερε και συνάντησε τον μικρό αδελφό της Μανταλένας, σε ένα στούντιο στο Μαρούσι, όπου βρίσκεται κλεισμένος τουλάχιστον δώδεκα ώρες την ημέρα προκειμένου να ολοκληρώσει έγκαιρα ένα ακόμη επεισόδιο παιδικής σειράς. Με το χαμόγελο στα χείλη μάς άνοιξε την καρδιά του και μίλησε για τη ζωή του, τους μεγάλους ηθοποιούς που αγάπησε και τον αγάπησαν, αλλά και για όλα εκείνα τα δύσκολα χρόνια που οι άνθρωποι ήταν μια αγαπημένη οικογένεια.

«Η ιστορία του Βασιλάκη ξεκίνησε ξαφνικά. Από τη μία στιγμή στην άλλη. Οταν ήμουν τεσσάρων ετών, το 1957, είχα την τύχη να μένω με τους γονείς μου στην ίδια πολυκατοικία με την Ελλη Λαμπέτη και τον Δημήτρη Χορν. Μια μέρα, καθώς έπαιζα στην είσοδο της πολυκατοικίας, άνοιξα την πόρτα για να μπει ένας κύριος. Ηταν ο Κακογιάννης που είχε έρθει από το εξωτερικό για να γυρίσει την ταινία “Το τελευταίο ψέμα”. Με πλησίασε, με ρώτησε πως με λένε και ανέβηκε έπειτα στο διαμέρισμα της Λαμπέτη» θυμάται ο Βασίλης Καΐλας και συνεχίζει: «Εκεί, της είπε ότι συνάντησε στην είσοδο ένα αγοράκι, το οποίο ήθελε να παίξει στην ταινία που ετοίμαζαν. Της είπε ότι ήμουν κάτι ξεχωριστό. Ετσι κατέβηκαν μαζί κάτω, με βρήκαν και πήγαμε στον πατέρα μου για να του μιλήσουν. Τον έπεισαν κι έτσι έπαιξα για πρώτη φορά στο “Τελευταίο ψέμα”».

Οι γονείς του τον συνόδεψαν στα γυρίσματα, τα οποία για εκείνον ήταν απλώς ένα παιχνίδι. «Ημουν μόλις τεσσάρων ετών και δεν καταλάβαινα τι έκανα. Μου έλεγαν θα πεις αυτό, με αυτό τον τρόπο και το έκανα, καθώς έτσι διασκέδαζα» λέει και προσθέτει: «Επειτα ήρθε ένας μικρός ρόλος, ο ρόλος του μικρού Αργύρη στο “Η κυρά μας η μαμή” με τη Γεωργία Βασιλειάδου, που κλήθηκε για να με ξεματιάσει» συνεχίζει χαμογελώντας και βυθίζεται στις αναμνήσεις του. «Ωραία χρόνια, και ανέμελα. Είχα την τιμή να δουλέψω με μεγάλους ηθοποιούς, μεγαθήρια, που δυστυχώς “έφυγαν”. Θυμάμαι τα γυρίσματα της ταινίας “Μανταλένα”, όπου έπαιζα τον αδελφό της Αλίκης Βουγιουκλάκη. Στο νησί τότε δεν υπήρχε ρεύμα, τα γυρίσματα ήταν εξαντλητικά, αλλά είχα δίπλα μου έναν μεγάλο κύριο. Τον ηθοποιό Παντελή Ζερβό που έπαιζε τον παπά. Είχε λατρεία με το ψάρεμα και κάθε πρωί πριν από το γύρισμα ντυνόταν με τα ράσα, έβαζε τα γένια και πηγαίναμε μαζί για ψάρεμα μέχρι να έρθει η ώρα μας. Ντυνόταν για να είναι έτοιμος... Ψαρεύαμε με κλωστή και παραμάνα... Επειτα ήρθε η ταινία που έγινα πολύ γνωστός, ο “Λουστράκος”. Τότε ήμουν επτά ετών και θυμάμαι ακόμη και σήμερα τα απαιτητικά και κουραστικά γυρίσματα».

Η ταινία «Λουστράκος» σφράγισε με την επιτυχία της την επαγγελματική πορεία του Βασίλη Καΐλα. «Εγινα γνωστός και οι άνθρωποι με αναγνώριζαν. Εγώ δεν ήθελα δημοσιότητα. Ημουν μικρό παιδί. Δεν μπορούσα να διαχειριστώ όλα αυτά που γίνονταν. Ηθελα την ησυχία μου. Με έβλεπαν στο δρόμο με τους γονείς μου και έλεγαν “ο κακόμοιρος ο Βασίλης”. Ο κόσμος τότε πείναγε, μιλάμε για φτώχεια και σε κάθε ταινία ταυτιζόταν και με έναν ηθοποιό» λέει και συνεχίζει: «Τότε η κλάψα ήταν ο καθρέφτης της κοινωνίας. Εβλεπαν στην ταινία το φτωχό αγόρι, τον Βασιλάκη Μάρα να δουλεύει λουστράκος για ένα πιάτο φαΐ και τον αγώνα του να σπουδάσει για να γίνει γιατρός κι έπαιρναν παράδειγμα για να κάνουν το ίδιο».

Μάλιστα, όπως μας αποκάλυψε, πριν από μερικά χρόνια όταν πήγε στο σχολείο της κόρης του για να ρωτήσει τον καθηγητή της πώς πάει στα μαθήματα, με έκπληξη άκουσε να του λέει ότι έγινε καθηγητής χάρη σε αυτή την ταινία. «Απίστευτο και όμως αληθινό. Πήρε κουράγιο από την ταινία, πάλεψε και τα κατάφερε. Σήμερα όμως πια, δεν ξέρω αν υπάρχει καθρέφτης. Ολα είναι πλέον διαφορετικά. Τότε υπήρχε αγάπη μεταξύ των ανθρώπων. Τους ένωνε ο αγώνας για ένα καλύτερο αύριο, μια καλύτερη ζωή».

Ο Βασίλης Καΐλας συμμετείχε συνολικά σε 117 ταινίες, όχι μόνο ελληνικές, αλλά και ξένες. Η πορεία του, ωστόσο, δεν ήταν εύκολη καθώς, όπως λέει ο ίδιος: «Επρεπε να πηγαίνω και σχολείο. Οι γονείς μου, που ήταν πάντα δίπλα μου, όπου και αν γίνονταν τα γυρίσματα, είχαν πάρει ειδική άδεια από το τότε υπουργείο Παιδείας κι έτσι πήγαινα σχολείο σε όποια περιοχή δούλευα. Ετσι τελείωσα το Δημοτικό και το εξατάξιο Γυμνάσιο, αλλά δεν συνέχισα... Είχα πλέον κουραστεί... Πήγα όμως στη Δραματική Σχολή. Γύριζα ταινίες, έπαιζα στο θέατρο με τον Χορν, την Παξινού, τον Μινωτή και άλλους μεγάλους ηθοποιούς. Μου άρεσε πολύ και όλοι με αγαπούσαν. Δεν θα ξεχάσω ποτέ τον Νίκο Μοσχονά που ήθελε να με πάρει μαζί του στην Αμερική, αλλά δεν με άφησε ο πατέρας μου. Ομως κάποια στιγμή όλα τελειώνουν. Ο ελληνικός κινηματογράφος έσβησε και όποιος είχε δουλέψει τότε με όλους αυτούς τους επαγγελματίες, δεν μπορούσε να συμμετέχει σε προχειροδουλειές. Η εποχή εκείνη δεν έχει καμία σχέση με την σημερινή πραγματικότητα. Σκέφτηκα τότε να φύγω μετά από παρότρυνση του θείου μου και να πάνω στην Ελβετία όπου θα μάθαινα τη δουλειά του ωρολογοποιού και να αναλάμβανα έπειτα το μαγαζί του. Το είπα στον πατέρα μου και τότε εκείνος μου είπε να κάνω ό,τι θέλω. Αλλά προτού αποφασίσω να ανέβω στο πατάρι και να πετάξω όλο το υλικό που είχε μαζέψει εκείνος από την καριέρα μου... “Εγώ, παιδί μου, δεν μπορώ να το κάνω. Αν θέλεις, πέταξέ τα εσύ” μου είπε και τρελάθηκα. Eτσι αποφάσισα να συνεχίσω...»

Ετσι, μετά από πολύ κόπο κατάφερε και ίδρυσε το παιδαγωγικό επιμορφωτικό θέατρο, το οποίο ανέβασε δεκάδες παραστάσεις με επαγγελματίες ηθοποιούς, όπως ο Αλέκος Αλεξανδράκης, η Νόνικα Γαληνέα και άλλοι. «Γι’ αυτή την αγάπη μου έχασα πολλά λεφτά. Αλλά δεν το μετανιώνω. Μετά ήρθαν οι μεταγλωττίσεις και οι επιλεγμένες δουλειές. Με τις μεταγλωττίσεις ξεκίνησα πριν από 25 χρόνια από την ΕΡΤ και συνεχίζω μέχρι σήμερα. Δίνω τη φωνή μου σε παιδικούς ήρωες και όχι μόνο. Μία από τις καλύτερες δουλειές μου ήταν “Το μικρό σπίτι στο λιβάδι”» αναφέρει και καταλήγει λέγοντας: «Ευτυχώς η ζωή μού τα ’φερε μια χαρά. Δόξα τω Θεώ. Εχω μια υπέροχη κόρη και μια υπέροχη γυναίκα. Το αστείο είναι ότι πάντα φοβόμουν να φλερτάρω λόγω δημοσιότητας. Πίστευα ότι οι γυναίκες δεν γνωρίζουν τον Βασίλη Καΐλα, αλλά τον Βασιλάκη των ταινιών. Ευτυχώς, η γυναίκα μου δεν ήξερε τι δουλειά έκανα καθώς δεν έβλεπε ταινίες. Οταν το κατάλαβε, ήταν αργά. Την είχε πατήσει...»


ΣΥΜΜΕΤΟΧΕΣ ΠΟΥ ΕΓΡΑΨΑΝ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΑ
(ΤΑΙΝΙΑ / ΡΟΛΟΣ ΠΟΥ ΥΠΟΔΥΘΗΚΕ / ΧΡΟΝΙΑ)

1. Η κυρά μας η μαμή / Αργύρης /1958
2. Το τελευταίο ψέμα / Βασιλάκης / 1958
3. Μανταλένα / Παντελής Χαρίδημος / 1960
4. Μακρυκωσταίοι και Κοντογιώργηδες / Μικρός με όπλο /1960
5. Λαφίνα / Γιαννιός / 1962
6. Δύο μάνες στο σταυρό του πόνου / Μικρός / 1962
7. Η νύφη το ’σκασε... / Κωστάκης Μπάκουρας / 1962
8. Ο λουστράκος / Μικρός Βασίλης Μαράς / 1962
9. Η ψεύτρα / Πέτρος / 1963
10. Πολυτεχνίτης και ερημοσπίτης / Γιαννάκης / 1963
11. Πληγωμένες καρδιές / Βασιλάκης / 1963
12. Ο άσωτος / Μικρός Μιχαλιός / 1963
13. Είμαι μια δυστυχισμένη / Κυριάκος / 1964
14. Θύελλα σε παιδική καρδιά / Γιαννάκης Κοντοβασίλης / 1964
15. Περιφρόνα με γλυκιά μου / «Σπουργιτάκι» / 1965
16. Ο νικητής / μικρός Πέτρος Ντάβαρης / 1965
17. Ησαΐα χόρευε / Βασιλάκης / 1966
18. Ο εμποράκος / Κωστής / 1967
19. Κάποτε κλαίνε και οι δυνατοί / Μικρός Ανδρέας Γεραλής / 1967
20. Θα κάνω πέτρα την καρδιά μου / Μικρός Δημήτρης / 1968
21. Ταπεινός και καταφρονεμένος / 1968
22. Ξεριζωμένη γενιά / Μικρός Βασίλης Καρατζόγλου / 1968
23. Οικογένεια Χωραφά / Νικολής / 1968
24. Στον δάσκαλό μας... με αγάπη / Ανδρέας Λιάπης / 1969
25. Βέγγος, ο τρελός καμικάζι / 1980
26. Πήρες πτυχίο / Ανδρέας Ντόβης 1985

ΓΙΟΥΛΗ ΣΤΑΡΙΔΑ
ΦΩΤ.: ΔΗΜΗΤΡΗΣ ΓΚΟΛΦΟΜΗΤΣΟΣ

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 05.12.2010

''KYTHERA OF OLD''

even in the eighties donkeys were the only means of transport for the locals of the island, also the humble donkey doubled as the work ''horse'' the donkey could virtualy go anywhere to get to far away '' horafia''

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 26.05.2010

Out and about at Potamos

A recent tidy up at the front of the Potamos Hospital.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Mieke Coumans on 02.02.2010

building boats in Agia Patrikia

is this a new boat?

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Japio Ruijg on 23.05.2009

maria

the inside of maria's

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Mieke Coumans on 19.03.2009

Supermarket in Agia Pelagia

Georgos Kapsanis in front of his shop with a Dutch tourist

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Business Group on 30.11.2008

Eva Kasimati. Dentist. Livathi, Kythera. Business Card.

Young dentist. Superb moderm dental surgery.

Livathi 80100
Kythera

Tel: 27360

Mobile: 6947 439404

Email Eva

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Victor Panaretos on 08.11.2008

Kytherian sea salt.

The best in the world.

It would be great to have a photographic record of how sea salt is harvested on the island.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Victor Panaretos on 08.11.2008

Sea Salt in containers

....drying in the sun.

It would be great to have a photographic record of how this sea salt is harvested on kythera-family?

How did that sea salt get into those containers?

Photos > Working Life

submitted by George Poulos on 05.11.2008

Fully laden truck with metal collected from Kythera for re-cycling.

About to board the Ferry for Naplion.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Dimitris Kontoleon on 13.09.2008

Astikon. The main lounge room.

The most popular coffee shop on the island was established in 1908. At Astikon you will enjoy a cup of coffee, a soda, or a cocktail.

You will taste a variety of appetisers, accompanied by ouzo, or tsipouro (a type of local alcoholic beverage), sweets, and a variety of ice cream flavours.

Have your breakfast at Astikon. Breakfast is served from 7:00 am. We are also open until late at night!

Have an iced beverage, or a beer while listening to selected music.

Sit indoors, in the large lounge area, or outside, if you a romantic type, who enjoys taking in the view, and the "happenings" in the delightful village of Potamos.

At Astikon you will be able to play board games, backgammon and chess, as well as access the computer, and the world wide web.

A "hot spot" wireless internet connection is available here.

Divest yourself of all anxiety.

Pleasant surprises await those with an open mind.

Events include poetry readings, movie screenings, and art exhibits.

You are in the central meeting point of the island.

The traditional kafenion.

Opposite the Church,
Potamos
Kythera

Tel: 27360 33141

Email, <i>Astikon</i>

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Panayotis Vardas on 05.09.2008

Fosfanari

Trendy new Coffee Bar, recently opened, on the right hand side as you walk down from the main platteia in Hora.

Snacks, coffee, beer, wine & spirits, in a delightful setting with views across the valley in Hora.

Proprietor: Panayoti Vardas, Livathi.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 01.09.2008

active rent a car and bike

when on the island and needing a car call filippos petas, from active car hire, phone 33207or 6974667083, for good cars and great rates,filippos is a young local boy from diakofti, and will look after you.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Japio Ruijg on 10.05.2008

Car of the baker in potamos????

i think the car of the bakery in potamos