Saturday, March 3, 2018

Reflections on Thirty [six] Years.


As some of you may know, I recently had shoulder surgery and won't be able to type two-handed for a while, so I'm using that as my excuse for posting blasts from the past. This one went up six-years ago, reflecting the thoughts of my friend Jody Duncan, who together with his husband, Nikos Hristodulakis, were celebrating thirty years of owing and operating the Montparnasse Piano Bar, a Mykonos institution. So, here's what those thirty years behind bars meant to Jody. By the way, he's still serving time.

I've been thinking about how to approach this significant thirtieth season on Mykonos. That’s not to say the prior twenty-nine were insignificant, but when I try to put down all the memories rushing through my head, I don’t know where to begin.

Queen Latifah and friends with us behind the bar
Should I give you another funny tale of a frenzied evening in The Piano Bar?  Maybe the one from long ago about an extremely famous and overly demanding clothing designer from France who thought that waiting for a table during a busy evening was beneath him?  No, he still comes in.  I better forget that story.  Or the enthusiastic Irish lady whose husband ran off for the evening with another man?  Hmmm, I think I’ll tell you that one next time.

The long and the short of fun.
Margaret Thatcher?
Perhaps you’d like to hear about the first time Petula Clark sang in the bar, much to the delight of everyone here?  Oh that was a great night.  The crowd convinced her to sing and right after she finished she came over to Nikos and said that sadly now she had to leave because her “cover was blown.”  Nikos smiled and calmly told her, “My dear, your cover was blown long before you ever arrived at our bar.”

He carefully explained that passengers had recognized her on the flight to Mykonos, and from the moment her plane landed the central topic of conversation was “When would Petula Clark show up at Montparnasse to hopefully sing a chorus or two of Downtown.”  She burst out laughing, walked back to the microphone and did just that to a wildly appreciative audience.  She’s returned to the island many times, always obliging us and her audience with that same sort of gracious performance.  We still keep our eyes on the door for when the lovely Pet will come through it again. 

Then there are all those lovely sunsets, almost four thousand, each one slightly different from the others.  I can’t begin to count all the times over the years that someone has asked me, "Do you know you live in paradise"?   My response is always the same:  “Yes, I know.”  Though I must admit there have been times where I’ve taken sunsets for granted, only to be stopped in my tracks by a nearly perfect one.

Of course, I’m overwhelmed with memories of all the talent that’s appeared behind our piano and microphones, but there are way too many names and faces to even begin mentioning them all.  I’ll just stick to naming who’s coming this year:  Bobby Peaco, Kathy "Babe" Robinson, Phyllis Pastore, Mark Hartman, and Kelly Howe.  And one who’s not: our dear friend David Dyer.  Alas (for us), he’s serving this summer as associate conductor for the national tour of Peter Pan, starring Cathy Rigby. But he’ll be back in 2013.  So, how did he get that job?  Through the magic of Montparnasse: one of our long time customers hired him.  A tale in and of itself, but one I shall not tell. 

At least not now. 

I’ll save it for when I have to find something to say in another thirty years, but for now I think I’ll just end it here.

I’ll leave any punning observations on your choice of endings to others, Jody, as I’m mercifully off in Munich [actually Manhattan] at the moment and relatively incommunicado.



  1. Wow, nice tan, Jeff. You need to work on the southern hemisphere, tho...

    1. You and I couldn't be more polar opposites on this subject, EvKa.

  2. As those numbers add up, now heading into season 36, I depend on your blog to help me remember the moments, Jeff! We've had a lot, and in looking at one photo, I realized that three of the four pictured are no longer with us on this earth. But they, and their stories live on in our hearts and on our pages, a wonderful tribute. I look forward to sharing more adventures in the years to come on that fabulous and crazy rock!

    1. Ah yes, no matter what changes come to the rock, free spirits like Pericles and Brett shall live on forever as part of island legend, as well as in our hearts. Just keep the Nientes flowing.