Friday, 13 August 2010


Villa 21 was an experimental unit for young schizophrenics, established by David Cooper in Shenley Hospital. D. Cooper was a psychiatrist and one of the leaders of the anti-psychiatry movement. He coined the term anti-psychiatry to describe the opposing methods of orthodox psychiatry. Villa 21 was in fact some kind of an anti-hospital running in the confines of a hospital. The unit was run under the principals of Psichiatrica Democratia as opposed to the authoritarian institutions of the time. A good representation of the latter can be seen in S. Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange.

Villa 21 was a greek post punk/new wave band formed in 1981. Adopting their name from Cooper's psychiatric unit and taking musical inspiration from bands like Joy Division, The Cure and early Christian Death they were quite productive from early on.
Their first two LP's (A ghost on the move and Men of clay) were among the lines described above and were arguably the best post punk works ever recorded by a greek band.

Their third LP (Electric poison) marked a departure from their known style and was in fact a garage rock and roll work. I am probably out of my usual field here but this was rock and roll that showed its hairy balls in the most impudent manner. The fourth album (Hellucinations, 1990) completed their turn and humbly but loudly ended their career. Of course as is usual with bands of that kind Villa 21 was quite prolific having also recorded several singles, EP's and songs for compilations.

Although back in the day I was well aware of their existence and had a vague knowledge of their work, I only approached their music in early 90's when I learned that the late Nick 'Flesh' Tagalos (guitarist/vocalist of Sadistic Noise aka the best greek death metal band of all time) had played with them. One way or the other I am glad I did so.

Cursed be thee...