The famous Manolis Lagoudakis “Lagos” had practiced several professions in his life. His love for the lyre was so great that it also marked his professional career. Initially he served in the gendarmerie with a long service in Chania, but the lyre and personality of Manolis Lagoudakis did not correspond to the precepts of the Greek gendarmerie, which was a purely disciplined military life.
Manolis Lagoudakis, after his resignation from the gendarmerie, which was then compulsory for five years, devoted himself to Cretan music, as his great successes begin in 1935, the year coinciding with his resignation from the gendarmerie.
The war finds that Lagoudakis is married to his first daughter Elpiniki who was born in 1940. After the war, he has a small café opposite the oven of Stylianos Lagoudakis’ cousin who played bouzouki and sang melodiously. So they mixed the evenings and played first for them and second for the friends, if they were lucky enough to be in the little cafe of Lagos.
He may have been influenced by his friends from Chania and his henchmen who were revelers and fishermen, he bought a motor boat and a trawl net along with his son-in-law he married his sister Aspasia, Zacharia “Manolis” Kalogerakis. The fish seemed unable to feed their families, maybe the open & wavy sea of Perivolia was responsible so they sold the boat with the trawl after 34 years.
In 1955 he builds a new shop on his own plot and creates the tavern “Fairy”. He will stay there until 1964. He will move with his family to Paleo Faliro and open a successful patisserie supported by many Cretans from Athens. Perivolia has long been a place of pleasure, so the tavern of Lagos “Fairy” is a success that, in addition to the neat delicacies that Lagos offers, has such a reputation as a lyricist who comes from all over Crete to listen to his melodic lyre.
I was 12 years old in 1958 and I was lucky enough to help my uncle on the last Saturday of Halloween in his tavern. When I was 12, it seemed to me that I was worthy of this job because my uncle was a man who wanted everything with order and responsibility. My uncle’s shop seemed huge, for there was no bigger one in Perivolia. In the tavern of Lagos there was a small tezia & opposite a small table with a gramophone with a large funnel and many records of folk songs. When I went to my uncle’s tavern on Saturday afternoon, I was impressed by the decoration my cousin Elpiniki had made with her younger sisters Mary & Filippa. Carnival garlands of different designs gave the impression that you were in another place where you thought that amazons and fairies would soon be dancing.
We had reserved three tables for the companies from Chania. People then had fun as soon as it got dark & at 9am Lagos tavern was full & not a pin dropped as they say. My aunt had started grilling meat in her kitchen when you descended four steps from the tavern. My uncle wrote the orders and gave them to me to be prepared by the aunt, who was the best cook. The steaks had such a reputation that the tastiest were known all over Crete. The daughters of Lagos helped with the transport, but they never gave their father the dishes from the main entrance, only from a small part to the east. Lagos was strict and did not want his daughters to come to the tavern.
The carnival party was a great success. The customer service was immediate, steaks, salads, saganakia, wines, beers, children were offered to the guests and they were all happy. What struck me was that everyone had finished eating and told me to wash the dishes and leave the glasses. I asked the aunt – everyone is ready, but no one is leaving. – You don’t know if your uncle doesn’t play the lyre, nobody leaves. Everyone is waiting to have fun listening to the sweet lyre of Lagos. So he did and gave me an order if anyone wanted wine or beer to go to him and write them down on a white paper that he showed me.
In the tezaki inside they played together with the Pervolian bouzouki player Thanasis Tzorvas until the morning, in the early morning no one left until Lagos stopped playing. The people of Chania were the last to leave and they thanked him warmly.
From conversations I heard Lagos itself say “it was one of the best Halloween parties that happened in Perivolia”. Thus the old ones were happy, not with how much they earned, but when their customers and friends left happy. The Orchards had resumed the old rhythm of life after many years of misery and misfortune left behind by the German occupiers.
“Total travelaholic. Subtly charming zombie geek. Friend of animals everywhere. Music buff. Explorer. Tv junkie.”