Opera House advertising pains former custodian of the sails

first_imgHe expressed strong support for the CEO Louise Herron, explaining his reaction when he first heard of the plan.“I was in pain. I was very worried. I was very cranky. Especially to accuse the beautiful lady we had at the Opera House. She is an ambassador for the Opera House. She’s a hard worker. She really loves the Opera House. Really wants the Opera House to be a focus all around the world.”He also expressed his disappointment on hearing the Jones interview with Ms Herron.“Yes I heard it and I was very disappointed. It was a very bad time for Mr Alan Jones to say those words against Louise. I know Alan Jones because he interviewed me more than 15 years ago. I know what kind of man he is. He loves the Opera House. We protested together on the steps of the Opera House when they started building Circular Quay and he was a big supporter of the Opera House. I was surprised when he said those words to the Opera House and to Louise. But I’m very happy now because he apologised and we hope to forget everything.”Long-serving Opera House worker and now recently retired Steve Tsoukalas, with his family.The actual projection took place last Tuesday evening in front of about 3,000 protesters who attempted to disrupt the projection by shining their own lights.Afterwards, Racing NSW CEO Graeme Hinton said: “We were surprised by a little bit of the backlash behind this … With The Everest, we do want to be a bit disruptive. We want to make this an event on the world stage, so we’ve learnt some lessons in how to make that happen. I don’t think we’ll be going quite down this path again.” The bold, brash, promotional push by Racing NSW to win the hearts and minds of race fans and punters by using the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House to advertise the Everest Cup horse race, has stoked a fierce debate about the use of a cultural icon for advertising. However, it’s also put under the spotlight the actions of media figure Alan Jones and the politicians said to be unduly influenced by him, in overturning the initial decision of the Opera House CEO not to allow the Racing NSW proposal to go ahead.Last Friday, Jones interviewed the Opera House CEO Louise Herron about her decision to only allow the jockey’s colours of the various horses to be projected during a six minute presentation coinciding with the barrier draw on Tuesday, as opposed to Racing NSW’s proposal of colours, names, numbers and logos.“Who the hell do you think you are?” responded Jones, who has a strong interest in the racing industry, and called for the sacking of the CEO, threatening to speak to the Premier on the matter. Following Jones’ threats, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian intervened by overriding the Opera House’s decision and coming up with what it claimed was a compromise plan.The Jones interview and its aftermath aroused criticism of Jones for bullying and for having an undue influence on politicians.One man who paid close attention to all the goings on was recently retired Opera House worker Steve Tsoukalas.Tsoukalas retired earlier this year to spend more time with his beloved family, after 50 years of working, initially during the construction phase of the building, and then as a maintenance worker. His remarkable story featured in a Neos Kosmos article Guardian of the Opera House published earlier this year.“I was involved a very long time with the sails. I replaced a lot of tiles on the sails. Thousands of workers, they worked in the Opera House. One of them was I, but I was the luckiest one to finish 50 years,” Tsoukalas said, speaking on Radio National this week, expressing his feelings about the decision to use his beloved Opera House to promote a horse race.“It was a terrible thing for the politicians to say that. The building is the icon of this country. I was working very hard for the last 50 years to build up that beautiful building. We don’t want to see the Opera House sails advertise gambling.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more