1 Jan 2005

Sakis Naked! ~ Max Jan 05

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Girls with sexy high heel shoes, silk stocking and short black skirts next to bodyguards dressed in black. Teenage groupies with fogy eyes sitting next to groups of 30 something managers from the glass buildings of Kifissia that have gone to the club to dance "Shake it" on the tables.

A huge black jeep stops in the alley. Sakis dressed like a New York yappy with jeans, a sweater and a black coat is getting out of the black car and into the club using a backstage entrance. The girls scream. The door closes.

That is a typical Thursday night outside FEVER.

Woody Allen says that" "Real stars never wait in line outside a cleaners' shop". You will never catch them making bank payments in an ATM machine. And you will never see them trying on clothes in Zara's (= huge department store) dressing rooms. Genuine stars are like mysterious figures of Bret Easton Ellis stories; they simply don't belong in real life. The come and go using huge black jeeps, and locking themselves behind huge doors guarded by armies of body guards. Their "image" demands that they simply don't fit in. Knowing about them means knowing nothing at all.

And that is the first rule of becoming a myth.

The second rule is a challenge. Being a star means giving a punch to the clichéιs of average.

Sakis Rouvas has always played his cards right. He has always had: managers, scandals, shocking appearances, concerts that provoke people and social appearances with the elit. He has appeared in tuxedos and worn out jeans. He has sung "easy songs" who will become ring tones for his groupies cell phones and has surprising collaborations. He moves with the speed of a car, or a race horse, making distances seen pointless: he has sang "Ela mou" and Hatzidakis. He has sung sirtaki and "Shake it". He has made enemies (like the "Grey wolves" who threatened him when he gave that fateful concert in Cyprus in 1997) and sworn friends (when he sung in Istanbul in 2004). He has done everything and worn everything (leather pants and Valentino skirts).

Sakis is backed by a huge corporation of advisers, managers, stylists and secretaries whose job is to "Build his myth following the footsteps of Robbie Williams and Madonna.

At the beginning he was just different. In 1991 at Thessalonica's Festival Sakis sung "Par'ta". Hatzidakis picks him out from the crowd. During the end of his performance there's an earthquake. Literally on 5.3 of the Richter scale. An earthquake that was bound to happen again and again - in the metaphoric sense, of course – in the following years, wherever Sakis appeared. Sakis is the fresh face with the long hair and the torn jeans that is bound to "tear down" the walls of the 80's. Sakis puts an end to that era, dancing like Michael Jackson. From then on stars as we knew them were over: they need a lot more glitter in the trendy 90's than awards given by the "intellectuals" of the 80's.

Sakis was the answer to the Greek's conformism, the same way Madonna was the answer to the American Puritanism. He was flattered, envied, lusted after, followed, betrayed and made fun of. But in the end he was vindicated.

It is the beginning of the 90's. We, the generation 25 something, can say we have lived the revolution of television, no matter how silly that sounds. We don't have any other "great revolution" and social struggles: our heroes are born on screen and die with zapping. When you don't have heroes, you have stars! Sakis is the face of the day. He "sells". Sakis appears "live" in one of the most popular shows ever aired on the Greek TV. He is wearing his hair long and a leather pants and is using a spot's car trying to "escape" the girls who saw him on the TV and came to get him. They scream and they faint. Ever since then there is always an ambulance available wherever he is appearing, just in case. He is capable of causing girls to swoon because he is unattainable. Sakis becomes the Prozac that cures the massive depression of his groupies.

In the next few years the boy with the long hair is drafted. He cuts his hair and shows up at the new – recruits centre in a limo. If for some people the army is tough, I imagine that for a Super Star the situation in unbearable. It's not that kid from Corfu that can't deal with it, it's the star that simply can't fit in a uniform and do petty chores. He needs time to adjust from the provoking image of a star to a simple disciplined soldier. But the media won't let him have it. Publications and paparazzi and military hospitals all play a part and the situation gets out of hands with no reason. And like it always happens in cases like these, everyone has a different story to sell.

A few dozen hits later Sakis style becomes an institution. Whether he walks or flies he is news. But he doesn't shock us. We are waiting for his next move. All those that used to shock us are now classics. He becomes friends with Nana Moushouri in Paris with the same ease that he signs autographs for the armies of Rouvitses that follow him around. He participates like a genuine star in glamorous and luxury cruises in Valentino's yachts and shoots video clips that are super production. His ratings are humongous every time he appears in a show. He is seen everywhere. He sings in French, Greek and English. He sings everything: classical folk songs, rock ballads and teenage hits. He is no longer one of the upcoming names in Greek show biz. He has a vision, maturity, biceps sponsors and Haute Couture clothes.

His appearance in Eurovision Song Contest is the last ace that he draws from his sleeve. In the year of the Olympics, Sakis is making Europe sing and dance sirtaki. "Shake it" is like a teaser for the triumphs that will follow: the victory at the soccer championship and the Olympics.

Sakis is turned in one night from a star to Greece's national star.

Everyone knew him before but now everyone accepts him. He is no longer the kid who sung flying and shirtless.

He meets with the archbishop in Fanari (= that's where the archbishop of the Orthodox Church is located) and with the mayor of Athens. In the summer time boys dress up like Rouvas. They are wearing white T-Shirts with the Greek flag (Sakis was the first one who wore it) and jeans. Later during Euro he is painted blue and is screaming along with everyone else. People say "Ki an den to' fere o Sakis, tha to ferei o Zagorakis" (= Sakis didn't get it but Zagorakis – the leader of our national soccer team – will) All for one, and one for all.

And that is the third rule of becoming a myth; the illusion that you belong to everybody. Sakis doesn't have a target group any more, he belongs to all the Greeks.

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