Thursday, July 18, 2013


Nature really is quite amazing. During my two and a half month exile upstairs while the house alterations were taking place Douglas neglected (hardly surprising considering the amount of work and the pressure he was under) to water a shrub in a tub outside the garden door and, when I saw it, it was to all intents and purposes dead, just a mass of brittle branches and withered brown leaves – except for one miniscule portion of green, hardly visible. Where there’s life there’s hope as the old saying would have it and after one generous watering more green appeared. In just over a week and daily watering the shrub is once more a healthy specimen. There are branches of course that will never recover but they can be cut away leaving the remainder to flourish. Everything in the garden is overgrown and needs trimming or even drastic pruning anyway. I don’t know where this particular shrub came from. It just suddenly appeared so I have no idea what it is. It doesn’t flower but even so it is decorative beside the doors so I’m glad we didn’t lose it. I remember a couple of years back the same thing happened with a Virginia creeper because its tub was low down and out of sight on the far side of a wall it was a case of out of sight out of mind. Then one day I noticed this pathetic twig along the wire fence, remembered it, and three minutes with the hose had it springing back to immediate life. At one time I had hoped it would climb and cover the back wall of the building next door, built right on our boundary but, unfortunately, those winds of Crete broke it off and that was that. It obviously didn’t have, and never would have, the strength to resist.
Talking of coming back from the dead, I wrote an e-mail to our friend Michael Jenn listing all the writing I have done in the sixteen years we have been in Crete, neglecting to add nearly twelve hundred Blogs. Douglas maintains that after I am gone and not likely to return as a zombie he will edit and publish them. A big job is all I can say. But to return to the coming back from the dead bit, Michael’s response included a clip from the film he has finished working on playing a zombie in a scene with Brad Pitt. Great part, no dialogue to learn (obviously zombies have lost the power of speech) but lots of pathetic or menacing howls and a fantastically hideous make-up. Michael seems to attract roles that require this sort of thing. For most of the scene he is unrecognizable until almost the end when he steps into the light and you can just recognise traces of him. I don’t think I would ever have had the patience to sit in a make-up chair for three hours while all that was plastered over my face. In my old acting days I even resented having to wear crepe hair when moustache or beard was necessary. The spirit gum drove me crazy.
Anyway, in case it might be of interest, here is the list of works I sent him –

Just as a matter of interest and to bring you up to date with my writing here is a list of everything I have written since moving to Crete. Firstly, as you know having read it, my autobiography, “No Official Umbrella” then –

La Belle Otero – Musical Book and Lyrics.
The Journeys We make – novel.
Angel – novel.
Torque – novel unpublished
The Museum Mysteries and Other Short Stories – Gothic horror!
Dead On Time – a Thornton King adventure (also on Kindle)
Just In Case                         ditto.
Dead On Target                  ditto.
The Cinelli Vases                ditto.
Celluloid & Tinsel              ditto.
Men And Their Toys          ditto (To be published)
Two full length plays – ‘Marry Go Round’ (comedy set in Athens) and ‘The Muses Darling’ theoretical play on the death of Christopher Marlowe.
2 opera libretti – The first on the artist Modigliani, the second, the naughty goings-on at the Villa Lyses on Capri. Very Ronald Firbank this one.
The prose works are all available on Amazon.

Talking of Firbank many years ago I wrote the book and lyrics for a musical based on his novel ‘Prancing Nigger,’ but couldn’t get the rights. I suppose these days of political correctness and the awareness of racism the title would have to be changed even though it was used as a term of endearment and I cannot for the life of me think of a replacement or a better. Not I suppose that it matters as the likelihood of it ever been done is like zero. I could never understand why Sandy Wilson never chose this for his Firbank adaptation rather than ‘Valmouth’ which is so slender he had to include some of ‘The Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli.’ There is a scene in this novel where the Cardinal pursues a choirboy around the cathedral before expiring in front of the high altar. There is nothing new under the sun. It’s been going on probably for centuries.
But on the subject of racism I read in the news that a white boy in South Africa with the permission of his parents has undergone the Xhosa initiation ceremony which includes circumcision, this evidently in order to have a greater understanding with his black friend who went through it at the same time. This is truly remarkable, not only because of the boy’s bravery in facing this ordeal but he bears an Afrikaans name – de Wet.
I also watched on Facebook a ‘Cheerios’ commercial featuring a black father and a white mother and their little daughter. Despite the immediate avalanche of bigotry a number of young kids were interviewed for their reactions. They couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about and aired their views with such articulation, intelligence and in some cases positive vehemence, even in the very young; it was a joy to watch. They were all beautiful and maybe there is some hope for humanity after all.

1 comment:

lewis said...

Circumcision has never been a part of initiation ceremonies in S. Africa except among the Venda. Having read a phony "report" by obviously interested parties,
Bill Gates set up a foundation that pay a "bonus" in money to any male who gets "done". I reckon this simple youth did it for the money. Let's hope it doesn't rot off like those of many other victims.