Wednesday 5 August 2009

A few years ago Christopher Booker wrote a fascinating book about the seven narratives that form every story known to humankind. I think it was called The Seven Basic Plots – but I can’t look it up here in a bedroom in Central Zimbabwe with no internet connection and my own copy back in Croydon. Booker’s thesis is basically that any story anywhere will correspond to or derive from one of these fundamental plots.

Well, I have sat down and watched South African TV soaps and they are the same as every other British, European and American soap opera. No one has an ordinary life in which ordinary things happen… like meals and chat and falling asleep. Instead, every conversation is pregnant with significance as life-changing decisions are made and statements uttered. Every encounter is a crisis and it’s all about dodgy kids (of any age), relationship break-up, relationship make-up, hope, denial, death, dying, love and romance. It is dire – whichever language it is in.

Then there was the advert promising exposure of celebrity couples and their relationships. Is there nowhere in the world where this obsession is seen for the nasty escapist voyeurism it actually is? How depressing.


So I arm-wrestled the bishop’s five-year old grandson, Simba, seen here this afternoon when he tried on my sunglasses. Just how cool is that?