What's Wrong?

A few days later and we were still bathing in the success of the village fête to celebrate the reopening of the espace loisirs. So many people had shown an interest in the centre and its various activities, we never imagined that it could be a failure. And if the truth be told, it wasn't... not exactly a failure. But when we took stock of enrolment after the first few weeks, the results were sobering. Less than 10% of the village population had bothered to register and most of the activities were still under subscribed, leaving us with some very frustrated volunteers who had given so much only to run headlong into a wall of apathy.

What was going wrong? Why was there so little interest? Was it our fault or did we just have to accept that interest was low? And the most vital question of all... what were we to do? I'll admit, there were times when I felt like just staying in bed and letting everything go to the blazes. It would have been by far the easiest thing to do. How glad I am for the close friends I had who understood me at times like these. They never let me off the hook and picked me up every time I went down. Not that they were hard on me. Far from it. In fact, the first time I felt like this, I phoned Morgana who by now was becoming an extremely efficient secretary, to say that I wasn't coming in. I just couldn't face up to the office that day. And within the hour, there was a ring at the door and there she was together with Jean and Thérèse, picknick basket packed to the full, all ready to whisk me off for a day in the country. It was just what the doctor ordered as the next day I was back at work with a vengeance and all ready to prove the world and my adversaries wrong. Not that I had any real adversaries - other than Mayor Demille, of course. But worse than open adversity is the type that comes in through the back door; precisely what slowly and surely started to happen.

I wasn't really aware of it, at first, and I suspect that I'm still not aware of the full extent of what was going on. It began with the murmurings. This and that wasn't being done right. If only we could still... Why hasn't the new director... and similar signs of discontent were making themselves heard; a tangled web whisperings and rumours which threatened our very existence. So was I the mistake? That was an important question, and one I knew I had to answer decisively before anything else could be done. And my answer was a resounding NO. Now I know I have a fair size ego and modesty is not my biggest quality. So the moment I found my answer, I went to the three people I trusted most and put the very same question to them. Each of the three answered in the same decisive way, and Morgana even gave me a fleeting kiss to go with it. So with that out of the way, how was I to deal with the problem and what were we to do about the centre. Not only were we under subscribed, but if things didn't turn around soon, we'd also be facing serious money problems.

Strangely enough, it was our true enemy who came to the rescue. Having heard about our problems he siezed upon the opportunity and made a cold, very calculating speech attacking our policy of bringing culture to the people. Most who heard it were very impressed with the rhetoric and the manner in which it was delivered, although to this day I've met very few people who could explain in detail what was actually said. The jist of it seems to be this. All we were doing, was playing around at culture without having any real idea what culture actually was. Whilst we were pussyfooting around with folk artists and creative writing groups, the big city was offering concerts which were on the cutting edge of artistic endeavours, and authors were publishing who had something to say to the world and its condition. Without actually saying so in so many words, he was accusing us of dumbing down culture, the implication being that the average citizen of Gensdouce could not digest anything more serious.

This proved to be a major miscalculation on the Mayor's part and reaction was tempestuous. Several people wrote letters to the local press who had reported the occasion in detail, and very soon a fierce debate was raging. I reacted by erecting a makeshift graffiti wall at the entrance to the centre, enouraging everyone who so wished to come and express themslves. In the first week we filled over 12 rolls of wallpaper and on Saturday afternoon, a protest march was held during which the rolls were delivered to the Mayor's office at the Town Hall. My request that Mayor Demille speak at a public meeting to explain his feelings and debate the issues was politely refused but we held the meeting anyway regretting the Mayor's absence and clarifying our mission and our goals. More than anything, it was Morgana's speech that brought people around. As she taught at the conservatoire, she knew exactly what the Mayor was talking about, yet one after one she refuted his arguments and gained the respect of all present. She was greeted with a standing ovation far larger than any she had yet got for her playing. After the meeting I made a point of going up to her and thanking her, but she turned and ran before I had finished what I was saying. And suddenly I was being pulled away by Thérèse who answered my query as to what was going on with a long and somewhat wistful look before shaking her head and walking off herself.


is there no end to mystfying love... glad to hear Morgana saved the day... is this a new romance yet there beats the heart of another... patiently waiting next chapter...

20 March 2008 at 23:29  

I want to go on a picnic now...

24 March 2008 at 04:14  

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