Friday, August 10, 2007

Colin Randall goes from strength to strength

Glancing at the Independent today, I did a double-take, that was followed quickly by a sense of déjà vu.

The headline read "Provençal bar is two steps too close to God"

Now where have we read before about a vexatious proximity between wine pichet and communion cup (vexatious, at any rate, for the French, who, with their tidy minds, like to keep things in their separate compartments) ?

Was it not ex-Telegraph journalist Colin Randall, writing on his Salut! blog ?

Indeed it was, and he is now spreading his wings further as a freelance journalist, reporting for the Independent on the foibles of our occasionally perplexing French neighbour.

(He has other blogging interests too, notably Sunderland football club and folk music, but we'll come back to those another day - or, there again, maybe we won't).

I warmed to his opening paragraph:

"For tourists passing through the idyllic Provençal village of La Motte, the Bar des Cascades is a convenient watering hole on a drive round the spectacular Gorges du Verdon."

Why ? Because although Jane and I have still to visit La Motte we made our first visit recently to those Gorges du Verdon, the subject of a post. What a spectacular region that is, and so handy, as he says, for a day trip from the coast.

Anyway, it's good to see Colin continuing to establish himself as an independent with "un doigt en beaucoup de pies".

Operating as a freelance after the security of salaried employment is no easy task, as this writer (and fellow victim of Mammon) knows from his own experience.

Incidentally, visitors to his Salut! will find yours truly has posted Part 2 of his guest blog. It tells of our our recent mission to Tuscany in search of a strategically-sited location for a planned late-life "gap year".

Some may find the organization of my screed a little puzzling, not to say quirky.
Well, I freely admit to the latter. It is quirky, but I don't like my readers to be puzzled, so a brief word of explanation is in order.

Colin R has suffered in his career, no doubt, at the hands of editors wielding the blue pencil. The original script I sent him was prefaced with a warning that my script was organized as a "conversational Möbius strip", my having borrowed that term from a recent article by that clever and effortlessly (?) eloquent A.A.Gill.

I assumed that most folk would know what a Möbius strip was, but Colin, wearing his no-nonsense editorial hat, appeared to think otherwise.

Möbius strip

My script was originally organized as a long preamble, followed, finally, by the main thrust. Responding to faint praise from my wife, it was then re-organized as main body first, with the preamble as postscript, or should that be "prescript", with a jokey pointer at the end back to the main body.
Oi, wake up there, you in the back row !
By sheer coincidence, AA Gill was writing in the Times that day about that "conversational Möbius strip".

The Möbius strip, apart from being a one-sided loop (yes, one-sided, despite appearances to the contrary !), has some other remarkable properties.
If anyone wishes to know more, I'd be happy to do a short post on how you can make your own in a second or two, and then , with a pair of scissors, proceed to amaze your children or grandchildren .
A word of warning: their school teachers might not thank you for stealing their thunder on this vital part of their armoury, like how to keep 3B quiet on a wet Friday afternoon.
Anyway, to loop back to that initial subject ( that bloody strip again) : one hates to see talent go to waste, especially when it has a rare and fine writing style. So hats off to Colin for picking up the pieces and making the best of a bad situation, in so exemplary a style. His wife and family must be very proud of him We his devoted readers certainly are.
Links to Colin Randall's blogs to follow:

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