I am not sure if we ever actually met. Somewhere in the not so distant vraka past our paths must have crossed in Paphos, the place where so many things started. Its strange though because I felt like I really knew my dear friend and compadre Arthur Tilley, my Paphian cyber buddy who had moved to Finland, because like many people these last few years, emigration seemed a better option than trying to survive in post ‘kourema’ Cyprus. Arthur first came to my attention as journalist when my wife Marina worked at SIGMA TV as a sound engineer. He was the station’s correspondent for Paphos. Many years later we ‘reconnected’ on Facebook and bantered on about so many things on a fairly regular basis. Arthur was always brave enough to speak his mind, even if people didn’t like what he said, he stood up always for truth, rights, justice and most of all, for freedom. He was passionate about the liberation and unification of Cyprus and frustrated just as much as me about corruption and the suffocation of expression by local party hacks.
Arthur was also a musician, and that side of him always fascinated me. We planned to meet to discuss all of that. He started playing music at the age of 15. Like most people he started out in a covers band, as a drummer in The Crazy Horses. A short time after with a Andros and George Athanasiou , and Andreas Georgiou they formed the Black Angels a pioneering rock group in Cyprus in the 1980’s – and I always felt they must have been pioneering because they were from Paphos. There are so many chapters to Arthur’s life. Journalist, athlete, radio and TV presenter, and more recently, after he relocated to Finland with his wife Tuula, he became a qualified youth worker!
More than all the music and journalism, Arthur was a rebel, a fighter til the end, a person dedicated fully to the liberation and unification of this at times suffocating and frustrating homeland of ours Cyprus. Friday 26th February 2016 was such a day. Vibrant, creative and non-stop. I met a few old friends, saw our 12 year old daughter Melina take part in a musical at Satiriko, and then had to shoot across town to talk about Reggae at opening of a poster exhibition. When we got home and heard the news about Arthur through Facebook, silence struck, shock, sadness, how, why, ma yiati olan, not Arthur!
We never had that coffee, neither here nor there, and I am sure it would have been ‘tou laikou’. Arthur passed away on that morning while undergoing heart surgery combined with complications from pneumonia which he had been trying to shake off. I will always drink to your name my friend and compadre, and think of you, Paphos, Cyprus and that cherished Freedom. Rest in Peace Arturo…