I will return to the typewriter and the young blond who is patiently waiting for the next morning's breakfast to renew my acquaintance, but first I must sketch out the marvellous trialogue that occurred on that midnight crossing of the straits of Otranto, drifting as we were, ever closer to the Orient. Yes two became three, because by the time I had caught up with Ian, he had already corralled a Californian woman called Lotte from Salinas on the floor under the gangway stairs, and so I joined them, piling my not inconsiderable luggage in protective formation all around us. We soon became a kind of unofficial left luggage office for all the gypsy youth of the world. Ian seemed to have already described what little he knew of my character to Lotte, as she began with the words:
LOTTE: I want to hear your story, you sound like a really weird person.
RESTTORYELL: Thank you, I take that as a compliment.
LOTTE(Laughing): Definitely. No, come on, what do you do?
LOTTE: Naw, come on, are you some kinda underground person?
IAN: I haven't seen Greece for ten years.
RESTTORYELL: For me it's twenty. No totally overground.
LOTTE: I dunno then, a psychoanalyst?
RESTTORYELL: Maybe a psychotic analyst?
IAN: No he's not a spy, and he's not a shrink.
LOTTE: You mean you already know?
RESTTORYELL: He has his suspicions, just like you. Try: anthropologist. Or botanist.
IAN: Yeah one of those might fit, you go around measuring the sizes of
RESTTORYELL: Way off, I didn't mean that kind of anthropologist. I'm not so good with the physical. Try living people not dead.
IAN: Ah, a SOCIAL anthropologist, you study culture and living people, strange people.
LOTTE: Are you studying us?
RESTTORYELL: Why not? But not for the academy. I'm something like a ethno-sociowhatsit but without the qualifications.
LOTTE: What then, some kind of writer?
RESTTORYELL: Bingo, I write.
LOTTE: And can I read something you've published?
RESTTORYELL: I don't believe in publishing my work or otherwise
prostituting my talents.
IAN: He doesn't believe in publishing his work... my God, he doesn't........
LOTTE: What do you do with it then?
RESTTORYELL: I tell it, if anybody wishes to listen.
IAN: You mean like an ancient teller of fairy tales and myths.
RESTTORYELL: No, I only tell true tales, but that's enough about me, what about you Ian. What are you?
IAN: You should be able to guess after all that I've already told you about my reasons for visiting Greece.
LOTTE: Some kind of scientist....
RESTTORYELL: You must be a Libran archaeologist with a family background in Scotland and Italy. You're a Libran, you were born in September.
LOTTE: Wow, is that all true?
IAN: Ha! Yes to the archaeologist and Scotland. BUT NO I'm not Libran, I'm Aries. I was born in March.
LOTTE: Are you good at guessing signs?
IAN: Well he got mine wrong, and I've no Italian blood.
RESTTORYELL: Not that you know of.
IAN: No no no, I've gone back a wee way and I'm sure......
RESTTORYELL: Eastern err..European ......
LOTTE: I have problems with all those professions that begin with the letter A.....
IAN: No, no, you've got it wrong again laddie...
RESTTORYELL: Well if you're not Libran, you're definitely Libran ascendant, you have the eyes, the Libran eyes......
LOTTE: Whadya mean the Libran eyes ....?
RESTTORYELL: Yeah. Can't you see he's got those slightly slanting Libran eyes, beautiful....
LOTTE disbelievingly): Libran eyes....give me a break.
RESTTORYELL: No, look, Libran eyes - they're set slightly apart, big beautiful eyes, with thick eyebrows that slant.....
LOTTE: You mean the sign that you're born in makes for the set of your eyes?
RESTTORYELL: Yeah, didn't you know that?
IAN: And of course they're well balanced.
LOTTE: Signs are about where your stars are, not about the way you look, you've completely missed the point.
RESTTORYELL: Yeh but they form your face as well.
LOTTE: No they don't, signs, signs, they form your..... stars not your face. He hasn't got a Libran face, you're wrong, I totally disagree with you. I mean, does he have Libran feet?
RESTTORYELL: No, he doesn't, they're too big for Libran feet.
LOTTE: You're wrong, you're wrong.
IAN: Maybe I do have Libran feet, I can kick equally well with
LOTTE: You're both wrong, you're crazy.
RESTTORYELL: I think his feet are Andromeda actually.
LOTTE (staring for the first time at Ian's feet): They are kind of colossal.
RESTTORYELL: OK then, can you name me the seven ancient wonders of the world?
LOTTE: Yes, one's the Grand Canyon, one's....
RESTTORYELL: No, no, no, I'm not talking about those natural ones, I'm talking about the original ones, the ancient Greek, well you know Mediterranean ones out of ancient history.
LOTTE: Oh those...
IAN: Well, there's the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
RESTTORYELL: Right, that's number one.
IAN: There ....was.........
LOTTE: There's Meso...potamia.......
IAN: That's the Hanging Gardens...
RESTTORYELL: That's just what he said.
LOTTE: Oh right.
IAN: There's the Colossus of Rhodes.
RESTTORYELL: Yep, right, what happened to them?
IAN: They fell down 'cos they're not there now.
RESTTORYELL: They're in the harbour, so they think, they're in the water, some people claim to have been down there and seen them, but the pictures are fuzzy, no good....but carry on, number three?
IAN: Eerrrmmmm.......I'm not doing very well with two am I?
RESTTORYELL: What happened in Alexandria when the Muslims got there?
IAN: Ah yes, they sacked the library.
RESTTORYELL: Yeah, burnt it down. So that's Alexandria library number three. There was another there too.....
IAN: You mean the lighthouse?
RESTTORYELL: Yep and it’s still there.
IAN: Not the original one surely?
RESTTORYELL: No, the original one burnt down just like the library. They probably put too much wood on the fire at the top.. OK number four. What happened in Greece, what disappeared in Greece?
LOTTE (excitedly): Atlantis!
RESTTORYELL: Right! Santoreeni.
IAN: What about it?
RESTTORYELL: There was a wonder of the world there. It was destroyed when Atlantis went up. Or rather went down when the volcano went up.
IAN: A temple?
RESTTORYELL: There was a temple, a very fine temple.
IAN: The Temple of ZEUS?
RESTTORYELL: Yeah, that's right. OK number five, any more?
LOTTE: Ha ha ha ha ha that was a sheer guess Ian!.
RESTTORYELL: Don't worry I'm making it up too!
IAN: No, there wasn't a temple in Santorini. But I can't remember.........
RESTTORYELL: No, I can't, I can't remember if...
IAN: Wait a minute, the Temple of Zeus was in Athens.
RESTTORYELL: That's right yeah.
IAN: There was a Temple of Zeus completed by....
RESTTORYELL: What about Solomon's Temple, wasn't that supposed to be.........
IAN: Naaair. That's mythological.
LOTTE: That qualifies then!
RESTTORYELL: What do you mean it's mythological? They have the bloody basement still in Jerusalem. It's not mythological.
IAN: Oh I'm sorry that temple, yeah. But it wasn’t a wonder of the world I don’t think.......
LOTTE: You know guys, I'm so glad you're here. I really like being with you here.
IAN: What about King Solomon's Mines?
RESTTORYELL: No that was in Africa.
IAN: Yeh, but wasn't that one of them?
RESTTORYELL: No, but can you name me the country they were in?
IAN: South Africa, Botswana?
LOTTE: Ethiopia? Queen of Sheba country.
RESTTORYELL: Well most people think you're right Lotte, but I know it was Tanzania.
LOTTE: I love those African country names. What about Chad. I'd love to see Chad. I wish I could say: I was born in Chad, hey I'm from Chad!
RESTTORYELL: Yeh, but it's pretty dry there, nothing much to do except look for firewood. OK, any more? There is one more wonder of the world in Africa.
LOTTE: Marrakech? OK you guys, (speaking to a bunch of travellers who had left a huge accumulation of bags besides us) we'll keep an eye on your bags for you.
RESTTORYELL: You should charge them for the service.
LOTTE: Are you kidding?
IAN: One of the pyramids?
RESTTORYELL: Oh yes, I'd forgotten the pyramids, yes I think we can count the pyramids.
IAN: Cheops, yes it was the Cheops.
RESTTORYELL: OK, that's number five, but what about another one in Africa? It's in Zimbabwe and nobody knows who built it.
LOTTE: A big temple in Zaire? What's it called?
RESTTORYELL: In ZIMBABWE! The only stone temple in black Africa. It's a mystery who built it, maybe, we don't know, maybe the Carthaginians built it.
LOTTE: They were in Zimbabwe? Where is Zimbabwe you guys?
IAN: Impossible - the Carthaginians? Zimbabwe is 3000 miles south of Carthage.
RESTTORYELL: But have you seen the pictures of it? It's immense and not unlike the prehistoric temples in North Africa.
LOTTE: Why did they build it there? What made them go all that way?
RESTTORYELL: Well the Carthaginians were really weird, they were related to the Phoenicians and they had all those strange gods with names like Baal, Smurg and Kraak, and when they got mashed up by the Romans, they went everywhere, a bit like the lost tribe of Israel. OK, they couldn't stay in the Mediterranean any more so where did they go? They went to Wales, and ...Iceland ...... but one group split off and went across the Sahara, and another group set sail along the west coast of Africa, so they must have gone through the Pillars of Hercules - hey that's right, that's number six: the Pillars of Hercules.
IAN: But the Pillars of Hercules.......
IAN: .... is the name for a perfectly natural rock formation.
RESTTORYELL: No, originally Gibraltar was much closer to Africa, and there was this big natural arch over the top, no sorry, I remember the photo, it was a man-made arch, enormous, through which the ships sailed. And Hercules ........
RESTTORYELL: So you've never heard of the big stone temple of Zimbabwe? It's actually named Zimbabwe. In fact that's what they named the country after. Wish I had a picture to show you. There are some drawings in some nearby caves where you can make out boats, just like the Carthaginian boats, the Phoenician boats.
LOTTE: That's really weird.
RESTTORYELL: I know.
LOTTE: What year was that?
IAN: But I would have thought that temple wouldn't be so old as that.
RESTTORYELL: Waal....the Carthaginians taught the Vikings how to sail.
LOTTE: What do you mean the Carthaginians taught the Vikings how to sail, nobody taught the Vikings how to sail.
RESTTORYELL: No, really....... there are pictures in Sweden of tall Zulu type warriors in Viking boats, pictures carved on the rocks of Sweden, I have my own photos at home...
LOTTE: How do you know they're not just Swedish people with feathers on their heads?
RESTTORYELL: Well, because Swedes just don't look like that, these guys have great long ears, pierced with bangles on them like the Masai, and big spears, and chins thrust out just like Negro warriors ...........
LOTTE: In Sweden?
RESTTORYELL: In Sweden.
LOTTE: Well they could have been drawn a lot later, in around 1200 AD.
RESTTORYELL: No, they were definitely drawn around 1000 BC.
IAN: Wait a minute, the Vikings may have gone down the river systems of Europe, but they never went to Africa.
RESTTORYELL: Yep, not only the river systems of Europe, but also Russia, the Black sea, and the Carthaginians went back with them and taught them how to navigate in the open sea. And who knows.....
IAN: Sure they may have been in the Black Sea.
RESTTORYELL: Well, then they went back because the Carthaginians
definitely went to Scandinavia. And took a bunch of Zulus with them.
LOTTE: But nobody taught the Vikings how to sail.
IAN: No, why should they?
RESTTORYELL: But how did they get to America then? Haven't you heard of the Minnesota Vikings?
LOTTE: What were they doing in the midwest?
RESTTORYELL: Traders, great traders. They were the first real Americans. And the Phoenicians fade out when the Vikings got going. So we only got six...............
IAN: I don’t trust that figure if you’re doing the counting.
RESTTORYELL: (Seeing the other two losing interest.) Aahh, nobody's
into alternative history anymore. It's much more interesting than the real one.
LOTTE: Alternative history, that's classic.
RESTTORYELL: Did you know that the Greek civilisation started in the Orkney islands?
IAN: Yes I have, I've heard that one too and it's also wrong.
RESTTORYELL: The same form of graves, beginning in the Orkneys, reproduced on Malta, North Africa, then later in Greece of the Mycaenean period.
IAN: They were not reproduced on Malta.......nor in North Africa or that's the alternative diffusionist theory....
LOTTE: Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,heee..... the alternative diffusionist theory. What is the diffusionist theory?
RESTTORYELL: Everything started from Egypt and spread out............
IAN: Everything started from the Fertile Crescent and then spread
RESTTORYELL: Everything started from everywhere.
IAN: Until it finally reached the Orkneys and that was it's last dying gasp.
LOTTE: Wait a minute you guys, where exactly are the Orkneys?
IAN: They are islands north of Scotland.
LOTTE: I've been on Mull - is that anywhere near them?
RESTTORYELL: Well, yes it's quite near them.
IAN: It's nowhere bloody near.......
RESTTORYELL: The thing is they've got temples.......
LOTTE: Who has?
IAN: Yes, everybody's got temples.
LOTTE (Giggling): Well, everybody's got temples.
IAN: Anyhow what they decided was that the temples in Egypt were the biggest.......
RESTTORYELL: And best?
LOTTE (To others): See you guys, you're stuff is safe here (and becoming like the walls of Jericho around us).
IAN: Yeah, so they were the first, and they spread right throughout Europe, and you get copies of these temples, but they get worse, the masonry was not quite so good, the design not so rational.........so it's like spreading out the art through Europe.
IAN: Until the Orkneys. The Orkney islands were the last vestiges........
RESTTORYELL: 3000 BC. Have you actually seen that masonry, those corbelled vaults, you can't get a knife between.....
IAN: And this is based upon....
RESTTORYELL: But have you actually seen them, have you been.....
IAN (Speaking very slowly and scientifically): This is based upon......
LOTTE: What is based on what?
IAN: This is based upon carbon dating which was wrong.....
RESTTORYELL: By about 1000 years - and the wrong way for your argument - even earlier, a thousand years earlier.....
IAN: The carbon dating was corrected by an examination of the tree rings of the white bristle pine......
LOTTE: In California, hey I've been there where....
RESTTORYELL: No, these were in Utah...
IAN: This proved.........
RESTTORYELL: That the Egyptian temples had passed their sell by date....
IAN: This proved that some of.... the.....temples......
RESTTORYELL: Like the Orkneys.
IAN: ..... were older than the pyramids.
RESTTORYELL: Absolutely! So you agree!
LOTTE: Excuse me, excuse me but what's the Orkneys got to do with Californian tree rings?
IAN: Well you can either carbon date them or you can tree ring them....... and by carbon dating you get one date.....
RESTTORYELL & IAN: And by tree ringing them you get another.
IAN: But you actually find out that carbon dating is not a straight line graph but it's got a curve in it the further you go back.......
RESTTORYELL: It's not exactly a curve, it's more like a kink.....
LOTTE: Oooohhh, you guys are incredible, you know about a curve in carbon dating? I've never met two people like you who could talk about a curve in carbon dating.......
IAN: So after the correction they said that OK maybe civilisation started the other way around - in the Orkneys. The man's name was Renfrew. He was biased I think because he was a Scottish Nationalist.
RESTTORYELL: No, no, no, no, they said we could come up with that theory but really it would just be another diffusionist theory, so why don't we just admit spontaneous creativity on behalf of everyone?
LOTTE: Wait a minute, can I say something?
IAN: Well Renfrew's theory was that you get certain anthropological forces......
RESTTORYELL: Anthropological forces - what are they? Hey, I'm a sergeant in the anthropological armed forces!
IAN: People interacting within a community, and when they get to a certain level of interaction....
RESTTORYELL: Spontaneous civilised combustion? By people rubbing together? I never thought of it that way...
IAN: .......you get certain things that'll develop, and that happened in the Orkneys.
RESTTORYELL: Rub two primitive Orkneians together long enough and anything could happen.....
IAN: No, it's a bit more exact than......
RESTTORYELL: Hey, in America, have you seen the pictures of the beautiful Machu Picchu?
LOTTE: Yeh, I really wanna go there. To Peru, so badly, ooohh.
RESTTORYELL: Well the Orkneys are exactly the same, 'cos in the Orkneys they used to have volcanoes, back in 4000BC, so they made them with L-shaped blocks, perfectly fitted together......
LOTTE: They made L-shaped volcanoes?
RESTTORYELL: .....earthquake proof, just like in Machu Picchu. No, building blocks Lotte, building blocks AGAINST volcanic action...
IAN: Well they're similar but.......
LOTTE: Can I say something?
IAN: .......but the stones are not so big.
RESTTORYELL: But the DESIGN..... and execution......
LOTTE (Louder): Can I say something.....(flapping her arms) craaaagh, craaaagggh, craaaaaggggh, you gotta use your arms a lot if you wanna get noticed these days. OK, be quiet, be quiet.
RESTTORYELL: Real Californian style.
LOTTE: No, listen....
RESTTORYELL: Yeah, go ahead, tell the guys something. Give her a chance.
LOTTE: .....I've been waiting to say this for so long but I never seem to get a word in. Don't you think it's rather odd no matter wherever in the world you go, I mean from the Orkneys to Zimbabwe, and Egypt to South America, people always have to build these incredible burial temples. I mean so that everyone back in that time had a completely different perception of death?
RESTTORYELL: No, it's the same one as I have.
LOTTE: Well that's really besides the point. But that everyone thought the same way.
IAN: It's because they feared it.
RESTTORYELL: If they feared it then they would have ignored it man, just like we do today. They don't put temples up to death, it's something beyond death, it's transportation to a different world.
IAN: No they were trying to explain it.....
LOTTE: I mean maybe they had a bigger insight into these things, like the Chinese still, that death was further on, like it's a circular thing, samsara and nirvana.
IAN: No, I think it's a fear of the great unknown, they explained it in ways that they could understand......
LOTTE: It was more like they honoured the dead, but now....
RESTTORYELL: How about the correction theory?
LOTTE: .......yes then it was a great ritual, it was like a great transition, but now when you die it's nothing.
RESTTORYELL: Because now when you die, there's nothing after death, we're just specks of dust.
LOTTE: I know, but why, why has that changed?
IAN: You see this is where Christianity came in and tried to explain the great unknown, that there's really a heaven and a hell, and that you'd be better off......
LOTTE: But then that's still it, that's the short term end.
RESTTORYELL: What do you believe?
LOTTE: We're just dust in the wind.
RESTTORYELL: But won't you get blown somewhere and sprout seeds in the desert?
LOTTE: When you die, you just die, and that's it.
RESTTORYELL: And you believe the same Ian?
IAN: Yeah, I do.
RESTTORYELL: You're all crazy ......
LOTTE: Why, what do you think? Where you gonna go? Oh God!
RESTTORYELL: Look. Don't you remember your previous lives?
LOTTE: No, I didn't have any.
RESTTORYELL: I do. I do.
LOTTE: What were you, oh god, what were you?
RESTTORYELL: I was an advertising salesman for a Greek Tourist Agency.
LOTTE: You lie, you lie.
RESTTORYELL: I used to sell the ancient Romans tours to Greece.
Then earlier, I was an Orkney island bricklayer.
RESTTORYELL: But I also remember my future lives, though that's a little more difficult.
IAN: I've known people who've been to a hypnotist and found out about their previous lives. One was Marie Antoinette, and she was lucky......
RESTTORYELL: Lucky? Unlucky.....she had her head chopped off. She never did remember much after that.
IAN: Everybody seems to have been someone famous in a past life. Now, I ask myself: why?
LOTTE: Maybe it was compensation.
RESTTORYELL: Maybe they deserved it, maybe it was correction. (Forlornly) I wasn't anyone famous.
IAN: Why aren't you ever Mr. Smith who lives in the High Street?
RESTTORYELL: Because Mr. Smith’s life is so boring, there’s nothing to remember about it!
LOTTE: Mind you, there are so many places I've been to and you go walking into a street and I mean you've totally been there before and stuff........
RESTTORYELL: Yes! That's right and now why?
LOTTE: Well it's not because I've lived a previous life.
IAN: No, it's to do with your binocular vision.....
LOTTE: Ha, ha, ha, haaa.....
IAN: Occasionally, yes occasionally the right and the left hand side of the brain don't match, you see something and there can be a fractional delay in sending the message to the other half of the......... brain.......
RESTTORYELL: For some people it never gets there......
IAN: .......so you think....you've seen it before.
RESTTORYELL: Yes, where have I heard this conversation before? On the other side of my brain...........
LOTTE: No, it's what you call Vuja Dê.
RESTTORYELL & IAN: You mean dêja vu?
LOTTE (Laughing): No, I don't, I mean vuja dê......get it?
RESTTORYELL:......but why do you feel so good when you're talking like this?
LOTTE: What's that got to do with previous lives?
IAN: Or dêja vu?
RESTTORYELL: It's got everything to do with it - this conversation has spirit in it, it's touching the stratosphere......
IAN: No, no, it's because the brain loves making connections......
LOTTE: Well it's because you're always thinking of it in a scientific sense, and you're thinking of it in a trip-out, weirdo, mystical sense..... oh god I wish we had some grass on us, we should be smoking here......
RESTTORYELL: Isn't this enough?