Sunday, 8 May 2011

Island Life

I surmise these days islands are things you are either desperate to escape from or desperate to escape to. In the sunshine of a Friday afternoon, with the rigging tinkling against the yacht masts and the estuary water melting in to the sky, with houseboats picturesque in the mud of the salt marsh and even a friendly black cat on the balcony, Mersea Island felt pretty much perfect, in fact it felt more than that, it felt like home. I was born here.
By 10.30 at night, with the music pumping from the downstairs bar, and local lads kicking off and mouthing the sort of intimacies you only say when off off your nuts;
'I love you......
.....I love your parents....
...........I love your parents dog!'
It was still pretty pleasant. This was after all my tribe, I'm an Essex Island Boy. However an alarming number of my primary school friends (who stayed) are now dead via smack.
Even the next day, with Julie phoning up estate agents for the prices of picturesque houseboats on a whim and the clean air ruffling your hair, and the smell of the sea, it was fantastic.
It was only when the very friendly lonely old fella in the pub (the only fella in The Black Lion at opening time across from the church that I used to be a choir boy in) shat himself that, in Ancient Greek terms, the omens appeared a little bleaker. That and the boarded up corner shop where I used to pick up my Airfix Magazine.
So we recovered from reverie and caught a taxi out while the tide would let us and went to a bloody awful exhibition in Colchester (because we said we would) called, curiously, 'Citing Reverie' which was the sort of exhibition put on by PhD students citing chunks of unreadable prose in the name of theses on beach huts or people who collect Nazi models. Sometimes a beach hut is just a beach hut, and a collector of Nazi models may just be someone you don't want to spend too much time with, but these two were milking them for the type of phoney 'PhD via Practice' tosh that means, essentially, lots of work about very little for no purpose whatsoever.
However the garden of the Minories was nice, including a bouncy castle opposite Britain's oldest solid one, until I noticed something very nasty lurking over the tree tops looking something like a giant banana.
'They call it the giant banana' said the very well spoken lady also bewildered by the text on the exhibition walls..'some South American architect...'
It's not finished yet, and has cost millions, taken ages, but it still looks rubbish, and I took delight in explaining this to her, and then found out she was some kind of trustee.
We scarpered back to Bethnal Green.

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