Σάββατο, 26 Ιουνίου 2010

the zoo


"Mum and I were ensconced in a spartan but clean room in one of the rickety houses climbing the bare slope above the waterfront. The owner of the house was an old widow forever lamenting the death of her royalist husband in the political turmoil of the 1920s. She lived with what I believe was her mother, a bedridden and blind wreck hidden in a corner downstairs, the glimpse of which made me shudder.
I shuddered because sun-drenched Hydra was about life, and abundant young life at that. Every day was drenched in sun. On days when Mum wasn’t needed on the set we’d walk over the crags to a beach, philosophizing about life, in the varied company of perhaps a Swiss air hostess or a family of Oxford dons with peeling red faces. The blessed Greek summer air would caress our bare limbs. One day I obtained my first-ever employment as an extra a waterfront crowd scene, with 30 drachmas and a tub of the most delicious Russian salad I have ever eaten as my daily wage. Thirty drachmas corresponded exactly to one US dollar, which for a fourteen-year-old in 1962, and in Greece at that, wasn’t bad money at all. Especially after a couple of weeks of such scenes.
In Island of Love there’s a bit where a Greek professor boasts of the sexual capacities of island men even into old age. One morning I wandered down to the waterfront where they were doing a scene in front of a small white church. As the camera rolled, a bride and groom emerged. The groom looked to be about seventy and his bride about half a century younger. The actress-bride looked very familiar… Good lord, it was Mum! The scene was over in a moment. Mum doffed her wedding dress prop and laughed about it. Still, it felt weird.
With her shapely body and dark compact hair, my mother certainly looked as if she had just stepped out of some Italian film set. She was a favourite among the boisterous Italians who made up most of the camera crew, and was promptly taken under the wing of one of the older technicians, Elio, who took a fatherly care for her welfare. The others called him “Uncle Elio,” though he can barely have been past forty.
Sex, of course, was never far from the surface in a place like Hydra in the summer. Not that I had even a slight taste of it. Mentally I was still in damp and repressed England. One morning a Greek model in a skimpy bikini was hired to slink provocatively along the waterfront past the yachts for a certain scene. Before the camera rolled, a makeup man daubed pink cream over her shoulders and perfectly-formed breasts. My eyes widened as the man’s fingers invaded the model’s bikini-top, rubbing the stuff almost down to the nipples. She gave no sign even of noticing his existence. It was all a burst of life as I had never known before. There’s a photo somewhere of Mum and me with a bunch of Italian cameramen seated at the old dark red-fronted Skouna fish taverna where Franco, the fattest and funniest, has just shown the cooks how to make proper spaghetti. Our faces are sun-browned and smiling. And I’m growing up".
[οι zoo ήταν άγγλοι που έκαναν ένα πέρασμα από την ελληνική σκηνή στο δεύτερο μισό των '60s και αυτό είναι ένα απόσπασμα από το πολύ καλογραμμένο στόρι του ντράμερ τους johnny carr που υπάρχει σε συνέχειες εδώ].
i cry + six miles from the cage