As I flounder in search of inspiration for today’s literary topic, my eyes are drawn to the globe perched among the shelves of my dining room bookcase. The area of the sphere in my immediate vision the multitude South Pacific islands east of Australia.
Tuvulu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Tokelau just four of the hundreds of islands residing in that area of the world attracting my unreliable sight organs. Four names that sound like the replacement bench of Wakefield Trinity rugby league club. Immense impact forwards who can only be stopped in their tracks by being brought down by four opponents, or a tranquilizer dart – But aren’t.
This quartet of South Pacific islands are places I’ve never visited. However, that doesn’t negate my mind’s eye imagining them as domains blessed with endless white beaches. A paradise only spoiled by groups of visiting sailors performing unwelcome out of key versions of the following refrain:-
Of course, my fantastical visions of South Sea islands may well be wide of the mark. In contemporary time visitors from foreign navies may spurn old school musicals, preferring instead to treat locals to a medley of songs from the Broadway show Hamilton or indeed a Jay-Z rap……. Unlike Beyonce’s hubby, though, the sailors have 99 problems and not having a dame is one.
Further scrutiny of the globe, standing proud on it’s marble stand next to my book and LP record collection, the absence of movie South Pacific’s fictional island Bali Hai isn’t conspicuous by its absence.
This large mystical volcanic outpost viewable on the horizon from where most of the movie scenes play out. An exotic paradise whose picturesque wares are off limits to anyone but it’s inhabitants and naval officers.
A location to where it’s matriarch Bloody Mary entices Lt Joseph Cable so he can fall in love with her beautiful daughter. The mother’s actions a sort of early day Tinder. Matchmaking before Australasian courting rituals evolved into wooing a potential suitor with the words “You don’t sweat much for a fat lass!”….. Or, if they do perspire profusely, the alternative romantic prose “You do sweat a lot, even for a fat lass!”
In prose that later secured her a job with the Bali Hai Tourist Board, Bloody Mary’s words aimed at luring the lieutenant into her daughter’s longing arms were delivered as follows:-
Lost in the middle of a foggy sea
Most people long for another island
One where they know they will like to be
Any night, any day
In your heart, you’ll hear it call you
“Come away, come away”
In the wind of the sea
“Here am I, your special island!
Come to me, come to me”