Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Nick Cave Top 75 Countdown (#25-21) & This Week's Statistics

Hello, my friends, old and new! The last few days I'm down with a cold, but that didn't stop me from writing today's story. Here we go!


Before the Nick Cave countdown continues, however, let's begin with our bonus track, from one of the soundtracks that Cave wrote in his long and illustrious career. In 2014, an interesting film starring Viggo Mortensen was released, called Loin Des Hommes / Far from Men. The film score was by Nick Cave and his writing partner Warren Ellis and was one of their most intriguing scores. Here's part of the soundtrack:


At #25 on our countdown, we find a song from the Bad Seeds album, Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus (2004). Full-tilt gospel punk - Cave, doing his best blood-and-thunder prophet, exhorts us to "Praise Him a little bit more."

Drummer Jim Sclavunos' aggressive, propulsive kit work is the bedrock of this set. It and Mick Harvey's storm-squall guitar playing shake things loose on Get Ready for Love, which opens the album. As Cave goes right for God in the refrain - "get ready for love" - in the maelstrom, a gospel choir roaring "praise Him" responds. His tense, ambivalent obsession with theology is pervasive; he mocks the Western perception of God in the heavens yet seeks the mystery of His nature. That he does so while careening through a wall of noisy rock damage is simply stunning. It leaves the listener revved up and off-center for what comes next.

This is what Jim Sclavunos, the drummer of The Bad Seeds, as well as Grinderman, has to say:

“In my book, the only thing that beats playing on Nick's songs is getting to co-write with him. Get Ready For Love was one of the first instances where I got to share in that process. Nick, Warren [Ellis], Martyn [Casey] and I were in a modest studio in Paris, working on a couple of songs that we recorded for Marianne Faithfull's album Before The Poison. We had some spare studio time and began jamming, just to see what came up. Nick can be quite clever at devising impromptu lyrics, which helps move things along: it spurs the band on and handily lends an immediate shape and a sense of direction to an improvisation. After considerable honing and finessing, a few numbers written this way ended up on the album, including Nature Boy and Lyre Of Orpheus; but the one I'm particularly partial to is Get Ready For Love. It's the most aggressive up-tempo opening track salvo that has appeared on a Bad Seeds album since The Mercy Seat kick-started Tender Prey. From my perspective, Get Ready For Love was a clarion call announcing a new chapter in the ongoing evolution of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. It was one of the first songs written together by Nick, Warren, Martyn and I, giving a vague hint of what was to come with Grinderman."

Here it is:


This is a live version at St. Lukes, London, in 2008:


At #24 is The Hammer Song, found on 1990's The Good Son. Not to be confused with the Alex Harvey cover on Kicking Against The Pricks, this Southern Gothic yarn finds Cave's narrator tormented by visions and guilt in the wilderness, while Mick Harvey's vibraphone punches through the melodramatic arrangements.

The Hammer Song is a manic, pulsating song that fights the woozy mood this album retains, it truly prevails at providing The Good Son with a new sight of imagery and atmosphere. Nick Cave sounds downright angry on this track and is a markedly exhilarating experience, to say the least.

Film director Tom DiCillo is a big fan of the song. This is what he  has to say about it:

"The Hammer Song has this very basic riff that just keeps repeating. But this little groove has enough interest and complexity that it can carry itself almost forever. And the more it goes on, the more I fall into the intense emotion of what that song is about. The Good Son was the album a lot of people who wanted to maintain The Birthday Party idea of Nick looked at askance. I was going to direct a video for it, and Nick told me one of its greatest influences was Burt Bacharach. But with that Nick view of the world, which is a little different to Do You Know the Way To San José! The Hammer Song has a bit of both - it's more ballad-like, then switches to this powerful crunch. And ultimately it comes down to Nick's voice and performance."

"He said to me once that he had the greatest admiration and awe for actors [Cave has acted in a number of films, including DiCillo’s 1991 movie Johnny Suede]. I think he acts with his voice. And if he was faking, you'd hear it. I saw him once where he started a song alone at the piano, stopped because something was off, walked around, then started again. And he found what he thought was missing. That's ballsy. He walks that line between abandon and absolute control. It takes tremendous courage to just go into areas that interest you and not worry."

Here it is:


Since we've mentioned it, as an extra, here's the song with the same title, the Alex Harvey cover on Kicking Against The Pricks:


At #23 is a song from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' latest album, Skeleton Tree (2016). Skeleton Tree's drones and jitters offer no moments of release. The skies, seas, and mermaids that previously dominated Cave's thoughts are still very much present here. But on the opening song, Jesus Alone, he's wading deeper into the chop, the safety of the shoreline fading further out of view as he gets swept up by pattering drum drifts, humming organs, and swelling orchestration. The song was among the first Cave wrote for the record, yet its opening image - "You fell from the sky, crash-landed in a field near the River Adur" - feels unbearably prescient. (In July 2015, Cave's 15-year-old son, Arthur, died when he accidentally fell from a cliff near the family's current home in Brighton, England. The writing and recording of Skeleton Tree had commenced before the tragic incident, but the album was completed in its aftermath, and its specter hangs over it like a black fog.) It isn't so much about the finality of death as the ambiguity of the afterlife: Cave's orator welcomes a litany of souls into purgatory, but his stern proclamation - "With my voice, I am calling you" - makes it unclear whether they'll be redeemed in heaven or damned to hell.


This is a live version at the Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Australia, in 2017:


At #22 is a song called Hallelujah, from the Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' album, No More Shall We Part (2001). It's the hypnotic melody, the gorgeous atmosphere, the sardonic lyrics, and the enthralling vocals that make this a phenomenal song.

If this album is about anything, it is about love's ability to survive in the world. It is examined concretely and abstractly; to the point where it meditates on this theme even cinematically. In this way, Cave touches the heart in the same way Andrei Tarkovsky's films Stalker and The Sacrifice, and Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire do. There is powerful emotion here, spiritual, psychological, and romantic, without a hint of the sentimentality that would make it false. As both a singer and a songwriter, Cave's work has been transformed into something so full of depth, color, and dimension that there is simply no one except his mentors working on this level in popular music.

The songs plumb the depths of blues, yet contain glissando and crescendos from the orchestral music of composers such as Fartein Valen and Olivier Messiaen. A listen to Hallelujah will attest that it is merely one color on a musical palette that is more expansive now than at any time in the band's history.

Here it is:


This is a live version at Le Transbordeur (Lyon, France) in 2001:


Finally for today, at #21, is Higgs Boson Blues, from the album Push the Sky Away (2103). Higgs Boson Blues, the set's longest cut, uses the drum kit and electric guitars in a long, formless blues number that displays Cave in near rant mode; this track name-checks both Robert Johnson and the devil and references the famous story of Johnson at the crossroads. One of Cave's lyrically dense story songs, this is a dark anthem, possibly a hipster's last lament, but is also not without an element of humor; his black humor is evident inside sociological observations with Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana as characters.

Higgs Boson Blues begins as a solitary 3 a.m. strum in the vein of Neil Young's On the Beach but, over seven writhing minutes, ends up traversing the entirety of modern history, from "the missionary with his smallpox and flu" to the birth of the Devil's music to the anticipated death of a certain teen-pop starlet who "floats in a swimming pool."

Higgs Boson Blues is named for the elementary particle whose discovery 5 years ago was hailed as the most significant breakthrough in contemporary physics, one that essentially provides the missing piece in explaining the structure of our entire universe. But its discovery after 50 years of intense research has also led to something of an existential crisis among physicists, who are now left with no theory to prove, and asking themselves, "What now?" One can imagine Nick Cave asking himself the same question as he entered his fourth decade fronting a deviant rock band that had seemingly mined every last shade of noir. But in this album's quietly defiant title-track denouement, he finds a renewed mission statement: "If you got everything and you don't want no more/ You've got to just keep on pushing, keep on pushing/ Push the sky away." Because when you can't see the sky, you can't see your limits.

Here is Higgs Boson Blues:


This is a live version at PBS' Austin City Limits:


Now, let's continue with last week's statistics; after hitting a low point last week, this week's visits had an impressive increase of 32,3%. As far as the stories were concerned, Melina Mercouri was very successful, while last week's Nick Cave did well. Marilyn Monroe and George Maharis are still being read, while Freddie Jackson did even better than these, landing at this week's second place, behind Melina. Between last week's Nick Cave and George Maharis, at 4th place, we find the first part of an early-February story, concerning seven gay-themed movies from 2017.

May I remind you, if you like good Soul music, visit the story called Motown Countdown, here: Link which has the details on how to vote for our upcoming Motown Countdown. There is still time to vote. I already have three sets of votes and I expect at least two more. I hope that you'll pleasantly surprise me with even more than that...

As far as countries are concerned, the United States and Greece were the big winners of the week, while Australia, Brazil, and Spain also had a good week. France, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Cyprus, South Africa, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates have experienced drops, while Canada, Germany, Russia, and Italy kept their percentages more or less the same.

Here are this week's Top 10 countries:

1. the United States
2. Greece
3. the United Kingdom
4. France
5. Canada
6. Australia
7. Germany
8. Brazil
9. Spain
10. South Africa

Here are the other countries that graced us with their presence since our last statistics (alphabetically): Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Austria, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Beliz, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Turks & Caicos Islands, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. Happy to have you all!

And here's the all-time Top 10:

1. the United States = 26.1%
2. France = 25.1%
3. the United Kingdom = 13.5%
4. Greece = 6.6%
5. Russia = 2.6%
6. Germany = 1.7%
7. Canada = 1.44%
8. Italy = 1.23%
9. Turkey = 1.06%
10. Cyprus = 0.91%


That's all for today, folks. Till the next one!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Gay Icons - The Divas: Melina Mercouri

As many of you probably know, I live in Greece, so the talented and fearless woman that I present today feels more personal than most. I admired her screen persona, loved many of her songs, and respected her as a political activist (and eventually a politician.) I was close friends with a number of her close friends, so I had a fairly intimate knowledge of who she was in real life. (Out of respect, I won't be sharing most of it, I'm afraid.) I watched her last regular stage performance - she was mesmerizing in Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird Of Youth. I even met her up close once, at a gallery opening. She was Minister of Culture then - and the moment she walked in people began surrounding her like busy little bees. I could have used our common friends to approach her, but instead of elbowing my way to reach her, I preferred to study her from afar: She gave out such a glow! Plus she was impeccably attired and coiffed. When she passed, she was one of only three public figures whose death struck a personal chord with me - the other two were John Lennon and Harvey Milk. I am talking about Melina Mercouri.


Maria Amalia Mercouri (Μαρία Αμαλία Μερκούρη), who became known as Melina (Μελίνα), first to her family and then to the world, was born in Athens, Greece, in 1920, to a former cavalry officer and member of the Greek parliament, Stamatis Mercouris, and his wife, Eirini Lappa. Her grandfather, Spyros Mercouris, was the Mayor of Athens. When she completed her secondary education, she attended the National Theatre's Drama School, graduating in 1944. As a student, barely twenty-one, she fell for and married a wealthy landowner and well-known socialite, Panos Harokopos. After the first few years of marriage, they adopted a discreetly open relationship; the couple divorced in 1962.

After her graduation, Mercouri joined the National Theatre of Greece and played the role of Electra in Eugene O'Neill's play Mourning Becomes Electra in 1945. In 1949, she had her first major success in the theatre playing Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams and staged by Karolos Koun's Art Theatre. Χάρτινο το Φεγγαράκι (It's Only A Paper Moon), composed by Manos Hadjidakis, is from that play. This video was recorded two decades later, for French TV.


Mercouri then moved to Paris, where she appeared in plays by Jacques Deval and Marcel Achard and met famous French playwrights and novelists such as Jean Cocteau, Jean-Paul Sartre, Colette and Françoise Sagan. In 1953, Mercouri received the Marika Kotopouli Prize.  Mercouri returned to Greece in 1955. At the Kotopouli-Rex Theatre, Mercouri starred in Macbeth by William Shakespeare and L'Alouette by Jean Anouilh.

Mercouri's first movie was the Greek language film Στέλλα (Stella - 1955), directed by Zorba the Greek Greek-Cypriot director Michael Cacoyannis. Stella featured the epitome of Greek talent at the time and more importantly, the epitome of Greek gay talent. Director Cacoyannis, composer Manos Hadjidakis, and production designer Yiannis Tsarouchis (a close friend of mine) were not only gay, but they were the most celebrated (and probably the best) director, composer, and painter in Greece, regardless of sexual orientation. The film was adapted from a play by Iakovos Kampanellis, which itself was a loose adaptation of Prosper Mérimée's novella Carmen, which also became the basis of Bizet's opera Carmen.

There is a definite gay subtext in the film. Stella is better understood if taken as a gay man, who is willing to sacrifice everything, even his life, for his freedom of sexual expression. The film may be older than sixty-years-old, but it's still as exciting. If you haven't seen it, I suggest that you do.

The film included a number of great songs. Αγάπη Που 'γινες Δίκοπο Μαχαίρι (Your Love Has Become a Double-edged Knife) is the best of them:


Also great: Εφτά Τραγούδια Θα Σου Πω (I Will Sing Seven Songs For You):


The film was a big hit and received special praise at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival. Among the film's admirers was American expatriate Jules Dassin, forced to leave the US because he was a subject of the Hollywood blacklist in the McCarthy era, and subsequently moved to France, where he revived his career. Dassin asked to meet Melina - and the chemistry between them was almost tangible from the start.

Soon after, Melina received an offer from Dassin - he was about to film Ο Χριστός Ξανασταυρώνεται (Christ Recrucified), the renowned novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, and Dassin offered the pivotal role of Katerina / Mary Magdalene to Melina. The film, called Celui Qui Doit Mourir (He Who Must Die) was filmed on the Greek island of Crete, Kazantzakis' homeland. Once again, the production designer was Tsarouchis and his assistant was the young Cretan painter Yiannis Migadis, also a very good friend of mine. They both had cameos in the film.

Mercouri and Dassin were obviously smitten with each other, but it seems that it was Melina's strong will that tipped the scales - by the end of the film they were officially a couple. They would then go about the business of getting their respective divorces - and finally, in 1966, they were married. They would stay together until Melina's death, almost forty years after they first met.

Then Melina worked with another American expatriate, a victim of McCarthy and his cronies, director Joseph Losey. Together they made The Gypsy and the Gentleman (1958). The following year she worked again with Dassin, in La Legge (The Law). Melina's co-stars were the cream of the crop of European cinema: Marcello Mastroianni, Gina Lollobrigida, Yves Montand, and Pierre Brasseur.

The next year, 1960, Mercouri and Dassin collaborated again in the film that was a landmark for both: Never On Sunday (Ποτέ Την Κυριακή). This was the film that won Melina the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as an Oscar and a BAFTA nomination. Dassin also received two Oscar nominations (for directing and writing the screenplay). There was also an Oscar nomination for Costume Design and an Oscar win for Best Song - the first time that the award went to a song, not in English. The composer, of course, was Manos Hadjidakis. This is the song in question - and Melina is singing:


It was the year that Elizabeth Taylor (Oscar-nominated for Butterfield 8) had a number of serious health problems that brought her to the brink of death. Reacting to the news, Melina wrote a letter to her fellow-nominees (Shirley MacLaine, Greer Garson, and Deborah Kerr) that all four should drop out of the Oscar race so that the award would go to Taylor. In the end, nobody withdrew from the race, and the Oscar went to Taylor anyway.

Πάμε Μιά Βόλτα Στο Φεγγάρι (Let's Take A Walk on the Moon) is also heard in the film:


... As well as Η Προδοσία / Έγινε Παρεξήγηση (Just a Misunderstanding):


As well as the awards, this film was an international hit. With it, a surge of tourists wanting to discover Greece began, it escalated four years later with Zorba The Greek and was definitely hurt by the military dictatorship (1967-74). Never On Sunday also defined the way foreigners perceived Greek people, as good-natured, outgoing people whose main interests in life included singing, dancing, and making love.

Strangely enough, the first time I saw Never On Sunday was not in Greece, but in the United States, in Santa Monica, Ca, in particular. I was visiting and it was on TV - it made me strangely nostalgic, given that I had only been away from Greece for 6 weeks - and I would be back in a month. Perhaps it was because my US visit came at a strange time for me, having spent a very depressive year after the loss of my father, a little after my 18th birthday. Also, within the next six months, I would fall in love twice - the second one being for good. My formative years...

Back to Melina: in 1960 she released a single on the (French) Barclay label, also composed by Hadjidakis. It was called Ιλισσός (Ilissos):


After two smaller parts in a French and an Italian movie, Mercouri's next starring role was in English-speaking Phaedra, again by Dassin. Phaedra was based on the ancient Greek story of Hippolytus as written by Greek tragedian Euripides [c.480BC - 406BC], in which Phaedra, daughter of Minos and wife of Theseus, falls in love with Theseus' son Hippolytus. The tale was adapted into a contemporary story by Greek writer Margarita Lymberaki. The film was shot in England, France, Athens, Pireus, and on the Greek island of Hydra. The part of Phaedra's stepson and lover was played by Anthony Perkins and rumor has it that Tony found Greek men extremely appetizing...

This time the music was written by the other great Greek composer, Mikis Theodorakis. Αστέρι μου Φεγγάρι μου (Αγάπη μου) (My Love) is the movie's love theme:


Also in Phaedra, we find the song Σε Πότισα Ροδόσταμο (I Gave You Rose-Water To Drink). You can also hear the voice of Anthony Perkins:


A war film called The Victors (1963) followed - an international production with a galaxy of international stars and then came her next big hit with Dassin, Topkapi (1964). The caper movie that earned Peter Ustinov his second Supporting Actor Oscar once again was scored by Hadjidakis. Here's the film's first scene:


This film marked the third and most prominent appearance of Jules' son Joe Dassin on a Dassin-Mercouri movie. He then went on to have a very successful singing career, until his very premature death. Here are two of his biggest hits. This is L'été Indien:


... And this is Et Si Tu N'existais Pas:


Melina then starred in the Spanish film The Uninhibited (1965) and after that in the spy comedy with James Garner that was filmed in Portugal called A Man Could Get Killed (1966). This is where this tune was first heard:


Another film was released in 1966, 10:30 P.M. Summer, directed by Dassin, who was now her husband. Mercouri, however, had never given up on her stage career: One of her big hits was the Greek production of Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth (1960), under the direction of Karolos Koun. It was a play that she reprised in 1980 under the direction of Dassin (I saw her in that) before she gave up the stage for the position of the Minister of Culture, which she held longer than anybody else in Greek history. More on that later.

In 1967, Melina was offered a job in the United States, where she played the leading role in Illya Darling (from 11 April 1967 to 13 January 1968) on Broadway, for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. These are a couple of scenes from the musical on the Ed Sullivan Show on TV:


Less than 3 weeks after the premiere of Illya Darling, Melina was informed of the overthrowing of the legal government in Greece by a military coup. She immediately joined the struggle against the dictatorship. She traveled all over the world to inform the international public about the dictatorial regime in Greece, in a relentless campaign for the international isolation and fall of the colonels. During the seven years of the dictatorship, she was best known for her anti-junta activity, as one of the most "visible" and severe critics of the military regime. The dictators took away her Greek citizenship, and confiscated her property; there were terrorist attacks against her and an assassination attempt in Genoa. Heedless of the consequences, she continued to fight until the fall of the junta with speeches, interviews, recordings, marches, concerts, hunger strikes.

She didn't like the fact that her Greek citizenship was revoked. Being Melina, she commissioned a song to be written to express how she felt. The song was Είμαι Ρωμιά (I Am Greek) and it really lets the dictators know how she felt:


The French version was called Je Suis Grecque - and it was more of a celebration of being Greek:


Before she left the US, she made one last movie in Hollywood, Gaily, Gaily, with Beau Bridges. The music was by Henry Mancini. In this scene, she narrates Christmas Eve On Skid Row:


While being in Paris, she only made two films, both directed by Dassin. One was La Promesse De L'aube (Promise At Dawn), the story of writer Romain Gary and his mother, a Russian actress. The other was an experimental political film called The Rehearsal, concerning the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic School in 1973, which led to the Army attacking in full force in order to suppress it.

She did, however, record a lot of songs, some political, for the resistance to the junta in Greece, and some nostalgic. These songs were all released in France - and were the main reason that French people embraced Greek music. Here are some of those:

This is Mes Amis D'hier, composed by Stavros Xarchakos:


This is the original Greek version, which I love even more. It's called Φύγαν τα Παιδιά (The Young Men Are Gone):


Also by Stavros Xarchakos, this is Par Dix, Par Cent, Par Mille:


Also by Xarchakos, this is L'oeillet Rouge (The Red Carnation):


Naturally, she sang a lot of songs by the Greek composer who was also a political exile and a central force in the anti-dictatorship struggle, Mikis Theodorakis. This is Entre Les Lignes, Entre Les Mots:


... This is Attendre, Attendre (Ο Καημός):


... This is the theme from Zorba The Greek:


... And finally, this is Ο Δικαστής (The Judge):


This is Au Café Saint-Just, composed by Manos Loizos:


This is Les Bateaux de Samos, a song written by Yiannis Spanos:


Georges Moustaki was already famous in France. He too had Greek roots. Μεσόγειος (The Mediterranean Sea) was his:


Also by Georges Moustaki, this is Ο Μέτοικος (Le Métèque):


Here is a song by Vangelis, called Athènes Ma Ville (Athens):


After the fall of the dictatorship and the restoration of democracy in 1974, she settled in Greece where she continued her political activity in the Pan Hellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) of which she was a founding member, whilst actively involved in the women's movement. In the legislative elections of 1974, she was a PASOK candidate in Piraeus, where she lost the seat for 33 votes.

She continued her theatre and cinema career with roles in Brecht's Threepenny Opera, directed by Jules Dassin (1975) - after 15 years of absence from the Athenian stage - and as Medea in Euripides’s tragedy directed by Minos Volanakis (1976). The performance was shown in the whole of Macedonia and in the Lycabettus theatre in Athens but was not allowed on the official program of the ancient drama festival in Epidaurus. This interdiction by the chief executive of the National Theatre appointed by the government then in power, her political rivals, gave her the title of the "exiled Medea". In 1978 she starred, alongside Ellen Burstyn, in A Dream of Passion, based on the Medea character and directed by Jules Dassin. Before that, she had appeared in two films, Jacqueline Susann's Once Is Not Enough, in the role of a lesbian (1975), and a comedy called Nasty Habits (1977), alongside Glenda Jackson, Geraldine Page, and Sandy Dennis. In November 1977, Melina Mercouri was elected as a Member of Parliament for PASOK in Piraeus, garnering the highest number of votes in the whole of Greece. After her victory, she devoted all her energy to politics and culture.

During this time Melina didn't record much. She took part, however, in an album by her old and dear friend, Manos Hadjidakis. The song was tongue-in-cheek and was called Η Προσευχή Της Παρθένου (The Virgin's Prayer):


Here are Melina and Hadjidakis himself, on a rare appearance for French TV. The song is by Hadjidakis (of course) and is called Ο Κυρ Αντώνης (Mr. Anthony):


Merkouri also recorded a duet with her stepson Joe Dassin. The song was called Όχι Δεν Πρέπει Να Συναντηθούμε (We Must Not Meet):


She was again elected deputy in 1981. During the next elections (1985, June 1989, November 1989, 1990 and 1993) her name was on the list of the top national parliamentarians. When PASOK won the October 1981 elections, Melina Mercouri was appointed Minister of Culture, a post she would keep for the whole 8 years of the PASOK government (1981-1989) and would resume the position again between 1993-1994, the first Minister of Culture in Greece to remain in office for so long.

Being a member of Parliament or a Minister of Culture didn't alter Melina's demeanor. She was never a Margaret Thatcher kind of politician. She was her usual impulsive and outspoken self. Also, she was always a friend of gay people - and would be one of the few voices in Parliament at the time who were not against us. In 1979 Melina was already a member of Parliament, but that didn't stop her talking on TV about how she sang and danced for Greta Garbo. It seems that it was mutual infatuation:


Mercouri, a heavy smoker throughout her life, died on 6 March 1994 at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City, from lung cancer. She received a state funeral with Prime Minister's honors at the First Cemetery of Athens four days later. The Melina Mercouri Foundation was founded by her widower. After her death, UNESCO established the 'Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes (UNESCO-Greece)' which rewards outstanding examples of action to safeguard and enhance the world's major cultural landscapes.

I find that the best way to close this is with another song by Stavros Xarchakos, called Να Με Θυμάσαι Και Να Μ'Αγαπάς (Remember Me And Love Me). Melina, we do remember you - and we will always love you...