I’m so lucky.
Here I am in another unfamiliar island. Kefalonia. Louis de Bernieres painted a wonderful and nuanced picture of a haphazard and heartfelt community here when he wrote his breakthrough novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. It’s worth a read, despite the film. It’s the final part of his audition for the new Lorca. He’s not the new Lorca. But it’s a gorgeous book. And his South American trilogy is world-class magical realism and genuinely up there with what inspired it. Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord is one of those rare books that I can still remember decades after. Cochadebajo de los gatos. A book with great light and great dark. Good strong world building fiction.
I see what de Bernieres saw about this eccentric and friendly island. It’s far easier to just go to the Cyclades via Piraeus and hit the party. But the feeling is totally different in the Ionians. As with Ithaki, so here. Grounded but expansive. Extremely friendly, but also just getting on with life. There might be more shops on Kefalonia than Ithaki, but it feels very familiar from my week on Odysseus’s homeland. The goats still run the place. I wish I could work out how to communicate with the woman who invited me to the dress rehearsal of her play in Ithaki over a decade ago. The leading actor took a dislike to me back then because I was a foreigner. He kept making weird fisting gestures at me and glaring. I was embarrassed and rushed off after their dress rehearsal and the only way I had of contacting her was an Ithacan landlords website that has been extinct for years.
There’s still a clear drive towards communism in these islands though. As with when I was last here, the KKE and their hammer and sickle still take up a lot of visible space on graffiti targets. In Sardinia it’s independence – as with the Catalans. Here, it’s communism. Everywhere it’s just a hope that we might momentarily be able to have things run by actual humanpeople who have been to the post office before. Remember school groups? “Who wants to be in charge?” It would always yield the sociopathic narcissists. As then, so now. The cardboard people in the UK are trying to out-hewmon each other. The only thing that’s certain is that whoever ends up in charge won’t know what a real person is, but will happily tell you tales of how they were once accepted into realpersonland.
I took it easy today. I got a rental car, which makes everything possible. It’s expensive but worth it for the freedom and for the little bit of space that’ll be ours. If you have a car you are never homeless. Lou gets here tomorrow, so tonight I sat on the balcony and I drew up my invoice for Extreme-e. It’s a fuckton of money. Yay. Good to know I’ll get it back. I’ve spent a few grand on things like printer cartridges and Aircon.