04 June 2006

Convulse Strategies

'The Corfiot' is our monthly local 'Thunderer'. *Everyone* reads it and there's no competition.

The editorial box gives its web site as at corfunews.net but I'm damned if I can call up webby versions of this fine journal.

The issue that came out soon after I swam ashore had a letter from some grande dame fart complaining about our saintèd new consul and how she was never around, never giving lavish cocktail parties, never bowing and scraping to grande dame farts who've been here since forever ... all that.

Also heaping praise on the *ex* consul who's still on the isle and doing good works and, as the writer suggested, taking up slack for our new gal.

Well gosh. What a cause celèbre *that* was. Tongues a' twittering, keyboards a' clattering, the lot.

My dear, we could hardly wait to read the follow-up correspondence.

Out comes the May edition and we rush to buy it and read. Well, not rush, because we've already heard from our resident literary lioness that she's replied; nay, we've even also had copies.

"Slanderous Attack" is the editrice's headline and boy is it fireworks:

A six-paragraph fusillade, of which the choicest:

"I read with contemptible and ignominious displeasure your letter", etc.

Hang about - isn't it up to *us* to decide if the displeasure with which the writer read the original slanderous attack is worth our contempt? If it truly *is* ignominious? Weird.

I read on and it's total déjà lu. I almost mailed the editor of The Review with a complaint: why did you not *tell* me that the Sage of Lariat Loop had eloped with the Peddy-phile's nordic butler and settled in Prospero's Cell?

"The letter is both an assassination and vicious insult to all of the British community ... the letter you printed is both damaging and a slanderous attack ... I note that the writer withheld name and address! ... such a contrived and vindictive letter should not, in my humble estimation, have ever been printed.

In view of the foregoing and the appalling letter, I think an apology is in order.

Convulse [sic] strategies such as the letter you printed should be stopped for once and all.

Name, Calahori, Corfu and Foxrock, Dublin."

There was one other letter chosen from the pack, headlined by the Ed "Disgusted of Corfu".

"The editor was right to run that moan 'concerning the British community'.

It alerted us to the presence on the island of our very own 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells', and is effective reminder of how essential an ingredient is cowardice of conviction in such cases of dyspeptic grizzle, highlighted here by the writer's request for anonymity of name and address.

Chris Holmes, Gouvia"

A man can flee the island, but he can't bridge the bane.

Follow-up: You'd think that letters of that calibre would inspire a decent showing of barbed wit and general epistolary muscle.

Not a bit of it. The June edition just out has but one response, of such bovine incompetence and feebleness it's hardly worth citing.

And this from the home of the Durrell's.

The writer, a 'Mr Punch', kicks off by quoting 'distinguished French writer and historian' Voltaire's adage that "I may disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it". Then it plummets into gibberish such as it being,

Punch cover

" ... only natural that there should be dissenters with this philosophy, and only to be expected that poison pen writers should express indignation at being unable to vent their venom on a correspondent with whom they are in disagreement but who has withheld name and address to avoid being insulted by a crank.

However, it is not the purpose of this letter to become embroiled with the present controversy raging in 'The Corfiot', but merely to express my thanks to the participating parties for the immense amusement with which - and I suspect many other readers - have been convulsed. All quite hilarious! (No pun intended!) Hopefully, other punters will contribute to the farce.

As I wrote in the first issue of 'The London Charavari [sic] in 1841 (it has since become a stock phrase): 'Laughter is the best medicine' - to which I might, with hindsight, have added: 'For those with a sense of humour.'

Yours ever, Mr Punch".

See what I mean? That sort of milksop rubbish wouldn't see light of day in the doughty pages of the Bainbridge Review.

I have *no* idea what Punch is getting at, nor of any raging controversy that has kept the ex-pat community convulsed.

And what pun? On hilarity?

As for the strutting reference to the golden days of Punch ("I know Punch and you're no, etc"), if anything sets my teeth on edge, it's flubbed quotes: the column was 'Charivari' - 'i' - and if the bogus Mr Punch can't be bothered to get that right, he should stay clear of pseudonyms, noms-de-plume, and so forth.

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