Friday, 14 June 2013

Corsica Bound: Diary of Departure: 5


Yet another windy morning. We decide to spend the day in the village and sit in blankets on the terrace. I finish ‘Feast Day of Fools’, quality pulp fiction. The liberals and lunatics, idealists and idiots have all stumbled in and out of view. Many don’t make it. The message is not original but well delivered: acceptance and redemption:
“The totality of a man’s days eventually become a circle rather than a sum, and one way or another, he always ended up at the place where he began.”
Sounds familiar…
A horn blares late morning which means a food van of sorts. We still haven’t worked out the various parping codes. I venture out to La Place for bread and return with two fillets of rascasse, which is like a  quality cod. 12 Euro for two steaks is steep so I’ll stretch it to two meals. We finally get our fish & chip lunch. Sorry to keep coming on all Jamie Oliver but I love cooking here; it's a big part of our day so... I make the ‘frites’ out of waxy spuds and gently sauté one of the fillets in olive oil, then add garlic, parsley, lemon and butter. Served up with a tomato salad and aeoli. A glass of rose ensures an afternoon nap. I’m awoken by a text from Sandrine, the lady that we’d met at La Roche on Tuesday.  She gives her address in Marseille for the CD and a note: “It was funny and magical to meet you and Diana. I reserve our place on the rocks for May 28, 2014. We kiss you! Ciao, S, JC & Z!”  This island always offers up serendipitous moments.
Dinner is tried and tested; spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce and a bottle of white wine from Alzipratu, a vineyard in nearby Zilia that we can see from the terrace. Dessert is brandy and dark chocolate.
B, B & B.
I’ve started in on a translation of Niccolo Ammaniti’s ‘I’m not Scared’ which is an Italian fairytale/nightmare/parable. Written from a 9 year old’s point of view, it’s innocent and knowing; compulsive and unputdownable… substantial yet slight and chock full of great characters. There’s a ‘Famous Five’ naivety that’s deceptive, the child’s eye makes the moments of terror all the more vivid. Reminiscent of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Night of the Hunter’, the kids are the stars, living out their wide-eyed days in bright sunshine while the adults lurk in the shadows. No one is to be trusted.  A novella, I’ll finish it in one pass tonight.
Ipod: Sam Baker’s ‘COTTON’. 
Baker was blown up in a train in South America; victim of a terrorist bomb… He was left with brain damage and a mutilated body, he had to endure speech therapy and, with his fingers mangled he had to reteach himself to play guitar. 
His gifts are simply rendered and all the more effecting when you know what he’s been through. Baker’s other two albums are ‘Mercy’ and ‘Pretty World’
All three are pretty special. 
The first clip below starts with Baker's description of the day he was involved in the bombing...
'Everyone is at the mercy of another one's dream...'
Song of the day: 'Angels', 'Broken Fingers', then 'Palestine' 'Change' & the beautiful ‘Angel’s Hair’


  1. I'm not scared is a great book and the film is worth checking out as well

  2. All three Sam Baker albums are exceptional, I have just received the new album 'Say Grace' on download as I was one of the sponsors of the Kickstarter campaign where Sam raised $44k in one month to help with the production/release costs etc. (Might be worth thinking about Trev?) His lyrics have been likened to the writing of Raymond Carver? I wouldn't know, but you may have a view ?
    Mel A. Sheffield

  3. I didn't know that there was a new album Mel; need to check it out. These Kickstarter/Fundraisers are everywhere... I think Lloyd Cole's next album was paid for by fans. I rattled here a few months back about it seeming like holding out the cap... maybe with the star of the industry it's the way ahead; certainly ensures that the hands on the wheel are enthusiasts... and 44K! There must be strings and a gong!
    As for the Carver comparison, I know what you mean. There's an economy to Sam's language and choice of subject matter, which is similar to Carver; the dear ordinary, the profundity of the mundane... I think that Baker's lexicon has been severely restricted by his brain damage after the explosion and... in its savage way, has given him a unique voice; he sees and speaks with an almost autistic intensity that gives a profound and moving quality to his songs...