Saturday, August 6, 2022

Bring Us Authentic Mykonos




Over what’s fast approaching fifteen years, I’m honored to have been often asked to contribute articles to Mykonos Confidential, the classic summertime magazine voice of the island’s storied past, and chronicler of its nonpareil hedonistic present. 


This year I was asked to write a piece tied into the issue’s theme of “authentic Mykonos.” Which got me to thinking about what is authentic and what makes something so. My answer took me back to the past, into the present, and on to the unexplored future. Rarely have I been asked to comment on my island’s future…perhaps because Casandra’s efforts it that regard didn’t end well for her.


But what the heck, here’s my vision of what may lie ahead.  Not sure you’ll agree, but it’s my keyboard.


The text of my article, titled Bring Us Authentic Mykonos, is set out below, and appears on pages 54-55 of this link to the magazine.  It kicks off a series of other essays in a section titled,“The Talk: Memories , Opinions & Insights––Confessions on the dance floor, visions for the next day of Mykonos, thoughts de profundis.”


All exploring a place unlike any other.


Enjoy—or better yet, think.


Mykonos Confidential
asked me, as a longtime lover of Mykonos and author of crime novels set here, to focus my thoughts on “the original sense of Mykonos, the remains of it, or the new shape of authenticity for our roller coaster of an island.”


That seemed a relatively simple task.  Just describe my decades-old memories of a favored beach, taverna, club, museum, church, or hotel, plus the mode of transport that took me there, and be done with it. After all, I wasn’t being asked to undertake a Jason-like search for the Golden Fleece or describe experiences reminiscent of Odysseus’ struggles to return home.


Or was I?


According to The Cambridge Dictionary, something is authentic if “it is real, true, or what people say it is.”


I take that to mean each of us creates personal visions of what is authentic and what’s not, and when asked to describe what we regard as authentic with respect to place, it all depends on what happens to be extant at the instant a particular slice of time is etched into our memory.


That is not a new phenomenon.  What is authentic to those of us who recall Mykonos of decades past is undoubtedly different from what each preceding generation–running back to antiquity–would recall as authentic. 


Such is the natural order of things, for once the current is identified as authentic of the past it becomes the target of the forces of NOW relentlessly pressing to cast away the authentic in quest of the blockbuster new.


It seems appropriate at this point to offer examples of authentic Mykonos that no longer exist. It’s not an exhaustive list of what I bemoan, but nor do I mention any authentic that remain, out of fear that will doom them:


Joanna’s Nikos Place at Megali Ammos—home away from home.

Montparnasse Piano Bar in Little Venice––where Broadway met the beach.

Elia Beach in its virginal state––pristine and free.

Fouskis’ boat Delfini between Chora and Elia––where strangers became friends.

Seven Sins Bar—informal spontaneous cocktail parties with its Lalaounis neighbors.

Thalami Bar beneath City Hall––where kamakis came each night to show off their catch.

Piero’s—Mykonos’ symbol to the world.

Caprice Bar in Little Venice––the epitome of sunset experiences.

Vengera at the top of Matogianni Street––where people-watching got its start.

Nine Muses––where jetsetters came to party.

And most of all, Tassos Stamoulis––the island’s most universally beloved and respected man.


Tassos Stamoulis

Having said all that, I can think of no place on earth better exemplifying the principle of shifting authenticity than Mykonos.  Each year our island experiences striking changes.  New hotels, new restaurants, new homes, new clubs, new beach rules, new traffic patterns, new shops, new complaints, and new ideas.  “New” springs up each year like mushrooms, in what’s become an entrepreneurial paradise for those seeking to capitalize on the hopes, desires, and fantasies of hundreds of thousands of first-time visitors seeking to be part of the fabled and heavily promoted Mykonos experience.


I’ve come to accept that each first-time visitor to Mykonos will form his/her/hir/their own authentic vision of the island, one likely very different from my own but no less vivid or valid a measure of their adventure.


I do not quarrel with those who mourn the passing of the places, people, and way of life epitomized in their private memories of Mykonos.  I share many of those feelings. Yet, I’m buoyed by realizing how blessed I’ve been to have lived a life–and met my wife–amid my authentic Mykonos.  What I wish for new discoverers of Mykonos is that they find similar opportunities for forming bonds and memories as lasting and rewarding as my own.


I have no doubt achieving that goal will require vigilance on the part of those entrusted by the Mykonian people to faithfully shepherd the island forward in a manner dedicated to protecting the existential spirit of this blessed place, while resisting the proffered temptations of false prophets and the ever-present lure of easy profits.


That is a daunting challenge, for maintaining the authentic values of a community requires unwavering loyalty to real and honorable principles.


But I hold out hope.




Jeff’s Upcoming Events


Bouchercon 2022   Minneapolis, MN

Thursday, September 8th  11:30-12:15 

"Odd Jobs: Writers Write What They Know."

Alan Gordon AKA Allison Montclair (Moderator), Julie Holmes, Donna Andrews, Linda O. Johnston/Lark O. Jensen, Annelise Ryan, Jeffrey M. Siger


  1. Jeffrey I miss all of the aforementioned mentioned bars and restaurants as well. Meanwhile, Mýkonos still has plenty of authentic places for me to discover while I embrace the new reality of the island. Great Read as always.