ARIS GEORGIOU, Mylos, September 1990

b/w photographs. Text: Aris Georgiou. 40 pages. 29.7x21cm. Collector's publication in 7 copies. Idiocheiros, Thessaloniki, 2007.


Aris Georgiou
Mylos, September 1990

Some ten years after Don Quixote and the Adonis Theatre, which marked the early days of the jazz and improvised music scene in Thessaloniki, in the late 1980’s the small audience that existed at that time for this sort of music found a home at Pararlama, on Velissariou St. The place was run by Giorgos Tsakalidis and Nikos Stefanidis and the live music played there, which owed much to the passion and hard work of Sakis Papadimitriou, was an oasis of light in a city for the most part dark and silent. It was as if the city remained in the Dark Ages, while the Pararlama was seeking a way forward into the light of the Renaissance. Gradually audiences grew larger and there were signs of hope, perhaps even of explosive developments to come. Tsakalidis and Stefanidis were now looking for larger premises. We suggested they look somewhere in the western part of the city, and sure enough one day they took us out to see the old Mylos complex. First of all we just looked around the exterior, we didn’t have keys to get inside. We were intimidated by the size of the place, and the state of the buildings, and Giorgos may have been nervous too. But Nikos was evidently not put off. And enlisting other friendly forces he launched his campaign to usher in a new Renaissance, driven either by instinct or irrepressible excitement.

A few years later I wrote a short article called Thessaloniki AM and PM – in other words, ante Mylos and post Mylos. Because the project had already overturned the mediaeval status quo, the landscape was radically different and irreversibly new. I was called on to design the first modifications of the old buildings, and thus found myself in the fortunate position of being able to surrender to the charm of the derelict. Before the builders began to hammer and drill, turning plans on paper into bricks and mortar, the click of my shutter could be heard – obeying the commands dictated by that environment of abandonment, with its decaying materials, and derelict machinery from a bygone age, the smell of timber mixed with an ubiquitous layer of petrified flour and thick grease, all swathed in clouds of dust.

The Mylos complex dragged the city of Thessaloniki into a new age. It rose to the height of its success and popularity with extraordinary speed and confidence, but then, inevitably some would say, it began to decline. When, one summer, the Tower was consumed by fire, I had already ceased to go there or take my friends to see it. And it was only natural that I should realize the even greater value of the clicks of my shutter in the autumn of 1990, when, alone in the old industrial building, I went up and down the creaking wooden stairs. The stairs are no longer there; all that remains are the pictures I took.

A.G. / 01.12.2007