Friday, 17 June 2011

Tilos in the Past

Thanks to my friend Harris, a.k.a. 'The Right Guy in the Right Place', which is what you need to get anything done properly, he informs me, I have found University Press in Rhodes, who are poised to print another lot of books for Vangelis. Also thanks to him I ate amazing tuna sushi (better in fact, slices of raw tuna filet, dark with marinade, served with horseradish) in Kafeneion I Agora last night, but that's just about me and food again...

So back to Vangelis, known to many of his friends who visit Tilos year after year as 'Zorbas', because of the restaurant he used to run on the seafront in Livadia, where he used to dance. A couple of winters ago, he sat up on the hillside while making charcoal and made notes about life as he remembered it growing up in Tilos, and eventually he wrote it as a little book called Tilos in the Past.

This spring, I helped him to get a hundred copies printed up. His son Nikos is now running a lovely new restaurant, Ouzeri, overlooking the sea in Livadia, and the books have been displayed there for about a month. This week Vangelis told me they've sold out.

Working in publishing as I do, it is a heartening lesson that a good book priced at 7 euros can sell a hundred copies in a month in such a small market as Tilos, when written with an audience in mind, and hand-sold.

And so there's a bit of a rush on to print some more, which is my excuse for living it up in Rhodes for a few days. And we're hoping Vangelis will write another one next winter. Incidentally, Harris just texted to say he's got too much work on to meet for coffee this afternoon. Guess even the Right Guy can't always be in the Right Place.

On the topic of Tilos in the Past, I went on Charlie's Church Tour a couple of weeks ago with my mum. What a fascinating few hours, and how can I have such a rubbish few photos to show for it? Within just a small corner of the island - my back yard, as Charlie puts it - there are about a dozen tiny churches that help to illustrate the history and culture of Tilos. What the tour is all about is opening your eyes and imagination to what may be just off the path that you are walking on. And a way to try to interpret it. Of all the people who drive from Megalo Horio or Ayios Antonis to Livadia every day, who knows they are driving over a minuscule, centuries-old chapel, hidden under the road? We crawled into the hidden history of Tilos. No pictures of that - you'll have to go on the tour and discover it yourself! What an interesting back yard I have.

Oh, and here's Harri, myself and my mum slightly older sister in the Kafeneion I Agora, Mandraki, Rhodes...


  1. Jennifer: What I think would be really neat would be if you asked around the long-time residents and borrowed from them some old snapshots of life on the island in the old days and posted them on your blog. Pictures that show how people dressed and lived on the island before in influx of new things. Our old pictures wander off and get lost, but they show a world that ought be saved from forgetting.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion. I agree, I'd love to do something like this. Unfortunately am too busy with work at the moment but when I get chance I might start to ask around.