Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

No awards, but a couple of books

No awards, but a couple of books

We have certainly warmed up a bit over here in Symi, with temperatures reaching the high 30s, some people have said they have recorded temperatures at their properties in the low 40s too. Summer has definitely arrived. So have lots of boats, the harbour was quite full on Sunday night, and there was a large gathering out there in the bay on Monday too.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Hazy heat

It was good to see lots of places full in the evening when we went to Yialos for dinner. We were royally spoiled at a great apartment by the bridge which afforded views we don’t normally see. We were also lucky to find a taxi to take us back up at 10.30, the 11 pm bus can get very crowded, and I didn’t fancy a walk up after such a hearty meal.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Afternoon heat

In other news, we have seen the results of the Cyprus Film Festival. No awards for ‘The 13th’ in this one, but we still get to show off the ‘official selection’ laurels on the poster and cover, for whenever the company manages to arrange a distribution deal. This is proving difficult because of the things that have to be put in place before a company accepts distribution responsibility. The problems are, as usual, caused by money, so there’s no definite news on that yet.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Yialos at night

There is more definite news on my next book. (Here he goes again!) The Saddling is proving to be something of a hit with my loyal readers, and there are now 13 reviews up on Amazon.co.uk – the more it gets, the more they will promote it… you now the score. It only takes a few minutes to write one, and every one counts. I’ll also be using some of the reviews as quotes on the cover for the next in the series, ‘The Witchling’ which I have now started writing in earnest. Well, I have started in it Word and on scraps of paper as I do, but you know what I mean.

Also, the Miss P short, ‘Honestly’ is being read by a few beta readers. Neil has read it, laughed in the right places and enjoyed it. I hope to have this out in a month or so (must find time to do the layout once I’ve done the second draft), and I shall also be adding in some review quotes from ‘Remotely’ at the back, plus a link to that novel. So, if you want to see your review in print, make sure you leave a review there as well, assuming you have read it.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Grumpy looking gin & tonic

And that’s my news this Monday morning as the heat builds up, the sea remains calm, the boats come and go, and the fan works overtime. That’s the electric fan we use to cool ourselves down, not the fan who writes me good reviews on Amazon. Okay, I’ll shut up about that now and let you get on with your day.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Slightly more cheerful G & T

Movie moments

Movie moments

Picking up where I left off… Over in Cyprus… The film filmed on Symi, ‘The 13th’, was shown in a programme of screenings on the Saturday night (17th) and was well received. I answered questions afterwards and then went for something to eat; it had been a long day. On Sunday, I was able to slip away during the morning to have a look around a tiny part of the Archaeological Park in the blazing sun for a couple of hours. (Today’s photos.) Later, rather red and sweaty, I headed back to where I was staying to prepare for another evening of films, this time, those being shown in the experimental film programme. It was on the way back from this event that what William Goldman (Screenwriter of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, among many others) calls a ‘movie moment’ happened. It is one of those stories where you had to be there, but I’ll try and tell it as I experienced it.

Paphos, Cyprus

Paphos, Cyprus

There are four of us in a car, two film directors and two comedy writers (me being one of the writers, in case you were wondering). We needed to stop at a shop to pick up some bits and pieces (beer) for later. The car pulls up, and Aris and I leap out, him from the driving seat, me from the back, and we both slam our doors at the same time, fall into step and march quickly into the shop.

‘I feel like I’m in a Tarantino film,’ I say as there was something movie-ish about the timing.

Inside the shop, I find what I need, pay for it and turn around to see the other three watching a TV screen up on the wall. A film is playing, and clearly, something major is about to happen.

Three separate gangs are arriving at a casino. There are long shots and close-ups, some tracking shots as the heavies walk through the casino, and the sound and colour, plus the action, are actually quite good.

‘What’s this movie?’ someone asks.

‘Not sure. Looks good.’

We watch a bit more as it’s quite a compelling scene.

‘Something’s about to kick off.’

‘Is it Tarantino?’

‘I don’t recognise it.’

‘Great shot.’

Remember there are two film directors here, no doubt studying the camera angles while the writers write the ‘black stuff’, the action/stage direction in their heads, wondering how they would write this scene.

The three gangs are meeting up on the roof of the casino, and it’s all getting very tense. The music is building.

‘It’s nicely choreographed,’ someone says, meaning the action.

‘Reminds me of West Side Story.’

Everyone is very impressed, and even though we’ve got our supplies, no-one is in a hurry to leave. The scene has us hooked, and we want to know what’s going to happen.

‘Is it a Scorsese?’

‘Might be.’

And then the screen splits into three.

‘What is this film?’ Frustration that none of us recognises it, we feel like we should.

The three gang bosses are shown in the split screen, facing the camera. They lift their hands to their faces, and suddenly they pull away latex masks to reveal…

‘Uh, Charlie’s Angels.’ All four of us say it in disappointed unison, turn and walk out. Another movie moment.

Paphos, Cyprus

Paphos, Cyprus

I found it funny at the time, it’s better when I tell it to you in person. Which is an interesting point. Telling stories is to the same as writing stories, and comedy is very difficult to write. It’s much easier to speak as you can keep the flow going, use expressions and gestures, leave pauses and so on. Anyway, that was my Saturday and Sunday night in Paphos. The next day I headed for home which meant a taxi to the local bus station. The taxi turned out to be more like a limousine, a rather grand way to arrive at a bus station. From there it was a journey to Limassol to change buses, and another one on to Larnaca for the plane. A one-hour 45-minute flight over Rhodes and Symi to Athens to change. Another plane, where I was flying with Yiannis Poseidon who had been in Athens, down to Rhodes, once more waving at Symi as I passed, and a taxi to the hotel before taking the ferry the next day. And that, in a nutshell, was my trip to Cyprus. Here are some more photos.

Paphos, Cyprus

Paphos, Cyprus

Paphos, Cyprus

Paphos, Cyprus

IF

IF

Jack, the Alarm Cat

This isn’t my usual kind of blog post, but I know that many people will want to know about this. I will be back with my usual blog on Monday.

I’m interrupting my trip to Cyprus with the sad news that Jack, the Alarm cat, died on Thursday night. He was 14 and had long suffered from his bad ears and skin. Despite treatments and care, they got to the stage where they would bleed and there was nothing we could do to stop them. We were unable to have them removed due to his heart condition and, in the end, that wouldn’t have helped him as he had other places around his head that were also bleeding. In the end, we had to take the decision to help him on his way; it was only a question of time and it was clear there was not much of that left. We are very grateful to Symi Animal Welfare, Claudia, Hazel, Suzanne, Philamonos, Steve and, Jenine who all gave advice and help in one way or another, and to Sotiris who, being very experienced in this kind of thing because of his farm, came to see to things professionally. We were both there, and it was very peaceful.

 

Jack will be missed and not just by us. He was a huge character (and a huge cat) and gave many people pleasure and lots of souvenir fur when he cuddled up to them. He’s the only cat I’ve been friends with that had his own fan club and Facebook page. Despite his deafness, he helped take production meetings for ‘The 13th’ back in 2013, appeared on mugs and T Shirts, attended sing-songs around the piano, parties and other events and, of course, carried out his early morning alarm call duties faithfully. He is now at rest within sight of the house.

Jack, the Alarm Cat
April 11th, 2003 – June 22nd, 2017

James Collins2012/11/25 09:38:33