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R.I.P. Tzimis Panousis

And it’s goodbye to Tzimis Panousis. One of the most important figures in the history of Greek rock, he was a trickster who managed to piss off almost everyone at some point over the last 40 years. His is a complicated legacy and it would be naive to lionise him uncritically. He was often very funny and may have done more than anyone else to effortlessly burst the vulgar, kitchy facade of modern Greek society. He championed the outcasts and the freaks but he was also a virulent antisemite whose positions are impossible to defend. One of his greatest achievements was his jaw- dropping appearance as a Frankenstein’s monster in the cult horror comedy The Dracula of Exarcheia- one of the most insane films ever made.

For me, this is his best song. A look into the life of a transvestite, it is humane and horrifying and suggests a creator who was far more thoughtful than the antagonistic persona he usually projected. The fact that it was written in the early 80s, at a time where casual bigotry was inextricably enmeshed in Greek society makes it even more remarkable.

(-Dimitris Kontogiannis-)

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