Stigma of a Beached Whale

And so it is to the beach, the tourist once again, where once the most important thing was to get a sun-bed before the Germans. Nowadays it’s trying to find a cafe, with decent WI-Fi open early enough to get something to eat and do a bit of creative writing in the process. I’m not sure how this is going to pan out as the I can hardly see the screen for the sun. Who’d ave evur taught it – a UK person complaining about the sun when on holiday. Like everything where there’s a will there’s a way. My over large upper body creates a backdrop and shadow to make the screen readable. It’s a bit weird as I’m looking at me as if in a mirror and writing about what is in me not out of me! I might have to retreat to the cafe in the hope that Muse, REM and Wolfmother can block out the Greek Music.
I’ve just walked down a wee side road to the beach where i watched an old Greek man tend a plot of land with a an ancient hoe. Digging up potatoes. I was shamed as I think about the state of my patio weeds and how my mum was tending to them just before i left. What a fragile existence we lead. It pains me to see the fragility of the Greek way of life. So many empty Taverna’s, half built buildings and lemons lying rotten and unpicked at the side of the road. I’m thinking about Wilbur Smith and what he told me in South Africa all those years ago. Just write what you feel and see. My back is killing me, bent over this laptop and my eyes keep drifting to the wee blonde who just occupied the bed beside me. Haven’t seen a nipple all week. Oh how times have changed. A bit of REM and relax…
Mange to get the Wi-Fi hooked up but am bombarded by the thump of base from cafe speakers as Michael Stype tells me to “just let go” on my headphones. I had decided to do just that last night. “Just let go” and see what happened. Had two White wine spritzers with my dinner and found myself arguing with myself about going to a Karaoke Bar to get more wine, pick up several members of the opposite sex and unleash my deviance upon them. The only reason I had the Karaoke Bar in mind was because it had a picture of Ozzy on the sandwich board outside. Isn’t it strange how image has such an effect upon us. At around 11 pm and after a couple of attempts to put the key in the door I finally won the argument and woke up at 07.00 hours in time to catch the early morning sun, do my breathing exercise and meditation on the beach. Fresh clean, un-hungover, not feeling guilty, more satisfied that i’m not the raving piss head that I once was. Oh, and the female of the species remains un deviated. I’m now looking forward to this evening where i will not be feeling so worried about how a few white wines will affect me. From now on if I want to drink I will. Just need to remember that after a couple I’m ready for bed.

A notification flashes up on my Twitter and I’m drawn to a paper by Andy Henley where he states “However, the extent to which criminal record data is now used for employment vetting and other circumstances (often on dubious grounds of ‘public safety’) renders many individuals subject to both de jure and de facto forms of discrimination.” (, Criminal stigma: the oil on the ‘revolving doors’ and the need for an ‘abolitionist doorstop’). Was absolutely kaking myself as I approached passport control. I even mentioned to my Mum, when packing, that I was frightened of ending up in a Greek jail for a week because I hadn’t declared my conviction. My fears were not allayed as I approached the ominous “Customs” sign. Not surprising considering the last time I went through customs. The fear leaves me like a flock of galloping horse as I see one officer leaning up a against a wall and cracking a sleepy nod at everyone as they dutifully produce their passport. I mean he looked as if he was asleep on his feet. My stomach done a few celebratory back flips as the relief flowed through me. The relief I felt was a bit like when I left the Big House. So, I sit here reading Andy’s paper and fully understand and agree with it. I had also used ‘De Profundis’ in my latest Master’s essay. Half the battle of reintegration and stigma is stigma of the self. I’m sitting here on a beach in Corfu with all the other middle aged beached whales from different places. For this week I am Michael Irwin touristo. I feel relaxed in my ‘self’ and don’t feel the urge to tell anyone of what I do. The one’s who have asked me what I do have been told the truth. I am a Master’s student at Queens University Belfast who works with people in and out of prison and with a mind to creating change within Criminal Justice processes.

I must admit the Greek plumbing has improved since I was last here. Wish i could say the same for my own. Nothing to do with the food by the way.

About micsirwin

I'm a Postgraduate student at Queens studying Criminology, writer, poet and lover of integrity, dignity, respect and morality
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One Response to Stigma of a Beached Whale

  1. micsirwin says:

    Reblogged this on micsirwin and commented:

    I’m not sure if this is working from Greece, but i’ll give it a go


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