[ilds] the bar as a centre of learning

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Fri Jun 1 21:21:39 PDT 2007


To David Holdsworth 

- the bar IS a centre of learning. Of course after a few dozen beers my Canadian friend and I came to the inevitable conclusion that without the Canadians and the Australians World War One would have lost by the British, that the Americans got off their bums too late to do much and the world would be a better place if Canada and Australia were a lot closer together. After that we walked out singing old heroic songs while having to think hard as to where our respective hotels were. 

Durrell may well have approved. And people on this list with names like Bruce Redwine make me confident that enjoying the fruit of vine is something many on this list share with LD. One of the things I have always liked about LD is that he was a vinuous soul inspired by wine and sun and women and warm, relaxed landscapes (why not?). In this vein I have always felt that LD would have liked Australia - the climate and colours and maybe even the people who are like Englishmen with the social anxiety and class consciousness removed. Sometimes when he describes Greece in Prospero's Cell and Reflections on a Marine Venus and Better Lemons I can smell, see and feel equivalent scenes in my own country. Unfortunately LD would have needed a passport to get in here. Perhaps that's why he never came down under.

Given Bruce's comments, we should get a party together and head off to Provence after the Durrell conference in Paris next year. Maybe there is still the old slow coach of a train available rather than the TGV? A Durrell Tour springs to mind - perhaps ending up on St. Marie sur la Mare or even Greece itself.

Durrell's island books also reveal strongly his love hate relationship with England. Characters such as the hard drinking, cantankerous officer Gideon and his friend Hoyle are endearingly rendered on the pages of Reflections on a Marine Venus in stark contrast the inept class of governors who mismanaged the Cyprus crisis descibed in Bitter Lemons. Indeed I believe Durrell lost his job there when he telephoned the governor while drunk one night and described him as 'an inept c--t'. And of course Durrell's Antrobus stories are an enormous send up of the British 'colonial' service. 

Enough said, it's chardonnay time.

David Green




Denise Tart & David Green
16 William Street, Marrickville NSW 2204

+61 2 9564 6165
0412 707 625
dtart at bigpond.net.au
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