Saturday 20 June 2009

Losing our Marbles

Reading Mary Beard's expert description of the new Acropolis Museum I am almost tempted to get on a plane to Athens. My past experiences of this city in intense August heat with very little money have not been great. Worse still the collosal disconnect between old and new. I had an imagined (no doubt falsely imagined) ancient paradise of democracy, philospophy, poetry discussed amid pristine architecture. I could not reconicle it with the dirty undignified city creaking its way through the late twentieth century that I saw. I went elsewhere in search of my classical dream.

I did however vow to return when the Elgin -- or as I should say the Parthenon -- Marbles had made their way back to their real home. Now at least people are talking about it again. I don't understand the reticence on the part of the British. Why don't we make a big event out of the return. Let's have a party, a festival of classical culture and most important of all why not a big competition for the world's best artists to reinterpret the Marbles. Imagine the stimuli in the Marbles' stories and themes or in our debts to classical Greece? Give them back with bang. It would be a soft power coup for Britan on the world stage. With the new art and good copies of the originals we would have a fabulous, and this time well-deserved, legacy not to mention tourist magnet. Come to think of it why not do it as part of the 2012 Olympic fesitivities?

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