27 October 2012


~ A Tale of Real People ~

Chuck towel in. I admit defeat.
Last night saw the third episode of our contentious documentary on the 'two islands' of Corfu - still not definitively explained by the makers but much conjectured and pronounced on by the fierce commentariat of Facebook annexe, The Corfu Grapevine.
I set out to review the series as a whole, never imagining the tsunami of local feedback and strident opinions that burst over me.
Only episode three and I'm exhausted monitoring the heart-felt comments and, frankly, baffled by the 'thinking' behind many of the opinions.
Who are these people? What has coming to Corfu done to them?
If I felt so inspired, I'd ditch the keyboard, grab the Ovation and write a Randy Newman-style paeon to 'Real People', quoting extensively from actual comments.
It's of personal satisfaction that the prelude post I dashed off has proved so prescient ~ indeed, actually quoted from, albeit without their realising they were all drawing from a single source.

  • The defensiveness ~ the long-nursed grudges and pre-conceptions ~ the resentments and life-long yearnings to be heard. It has opened flood-gates of deeply-buried emotions way beyond mere televisual entertainment. I am not up to the task of measured analysis, let alone a light-hearted commentary.
    We live in straitened times, bankrupt and going down slow. How else hold our heads up except to declare ourselves 'real'?
    The deafening roar of self-justification depresses and disarms my pen. I lack the vocabulary to pin it to the page.
    His ear bent by a neighbouring bar-stool drunk, Hemingway turned to the man and said
    "I get in my own jams."

    Thanks to my mother, here in Corfers I mix with the 'Unreal' and - do you know what? - Grapevine might be a-thunder with knee-jerk reactions, but in the salons of the plummy-voweled, not a ripple disturbs the uneasy calm of our own woes.

    We/They simply do not comprehend what on earth all the fuss is about.

    This must be how all Us/Them revolutions start: cultural incomprehension.
    I set out to tease and goad with harmless wordplay, but I under-estimated the sleeping beast that has been woken.
    It has not just stirred but reared breathing fires of rage and strangled-vowel indignation that even the most articulate rabble-rousers must sense goes deeper than the imagined slights that fuel these verbal flailings.
    I will not take them on.
    I've met them individually, of course: in the workplace, pubs and the daily humdrum of life. But never out of their native habitat, and here again is a clue to the uniting unhappiness of displacement.
    I've never had a 'home' country - Australia, Hong Kong, unmarried London/married London, Texas, Boston, London again, Hong Kong again, Seattle and crumbling marriage ... Corfu and crumbling family home.

    Just to type it is exhausting but only now I do type it does any sense of the rootless reality come thru.

    I have nothing to say for or about my fellow inhabitants of this paradise ghetto.

    I'm not inclined to watch further episodes, not because of what'll appear on the screen but of the intense boredom and incomprehension stirred by the almost hourly torrent of must-read reactions from others with whom I share my final home.

    Ace comment link from the Bluesman.


    Corfu Blues said...

    Some interesting observations, Chris.

    It prompted me to find out more on this and related topics.See:


    Life is simpler in Dorset!

    Simon Baddeley said...

    It is perhaps an impossible project. As Will said through Caliban 'The isle is full of noises'. The lines that follow might not seem to fit any more - in part because other writers wrote them long ago - Durrells- both - and many before them. But I'm sure in different times and places on this island its visitors and people have encountered the thought that 'The clouds ... would open, and show riches ready to drop upon me, that when I waked, I cried to dream again.'
    The wonder that stared earlier visitors in the face (ignoring the peasant poverty and politics - unlike Thucydides http://www.flickr.com/photos/sibadd/816656544/) - is still and always here, entrancing, magic and seductive, but it's elusive, has to be discovered when not expected. Roaming about with a camera and crew must make it trickier. Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles comes to mind as a model for writing or filming about Corfu. It's a place made of anticipations and recollections (like a love affair) - some based on a lifetime, some on a few days or months or five years (Durrell's stay), and even, tomorrow evening or yesterday morning.
    I like what you've written by the way.