20 June 2011

JOHN FORTE ~ A PRIVILEGED MEMORY

John Knox Forte, MBE

To Palaiokastritsa-sous-Monastère-sur-Mer to visit my hero and Corfu's National Treasure, the doughty John Forte.

A little too deaf even for my bellowing to get through, John had no problem chatting to my soft-voiced mother.

But I did have an animated chat with his wife, Nadia (née Kourkoumeli), both of us ranting and raging at the vulgar 'Yellow Submarine' tourist underwater outing, complete with the wretched song itself, endlessly repeating at volume 12.

I've a good mind to have Paul McC out for the weekend and have him sit through an afternoon of this torture. That'd have him setting his lawyers on the copyright/royalties smallprint.

nadiaBack to Nadia, she is a great-granddaughter of Sir Dimitrios Kourkoumelis, who was regent of Corfu in the closing days of British rule.

True to form, John was at work on a firebrand letter to top clerics in the Diocese in Europe along with our ambassador in Athens, copies to our fragrant vice-consuline in Corfu, Sarah Ticherou, who must rank among the top 10 Diplo Dolls anywhere in the world.

Church in Peril - John had come up with some ideas on how we might save our local church, Holy Trinity, from biting the dust as a result of rumoured slashing of funds from pittance to tipota.

Then we discussed the state of the world, put it to rights and then moved onto the beer.

Cult Killer: John has achieved so much in his 97 years but I rank highest his seeing off that vicious cult of Scientology.

  • His wonderful “Corfu. Venus of the Isle”, published in 1964. (And many others)
  • He revived cricket on the island
  • In 1960, he resurrected Holy Trinity Anglican Church which had been closed for over 20 years.
  • On his retirement from the army in 1958, Forte was appointed British vice-consul on Corfu, a post he kept until 1971.

    A true Corfu figure and it was an honour to sit with him and jaw off about the old days, of which many of his reminiscences include my own father with whom he put the golf club back on its feet.

    History in the living.

    RIP ~ John Forte died on Thursday, 9th August, 2012
  • 1 comment :

    Simon Baddeley said...

    Respect and honour. I would eventually have come across him but thanks to Corfucius heard of John Knox Forte far earlier. His seeing off of the SiontologyCorp's attempts to make Corfu into one of their celebrity centres was as straight a victory of good over evil as I have come across.