Foreword: Michael Adams’ Souls
By Glynn Burridge, author of ‘Voices’: Seychelles short stories and ‘Kolony’: a novel of the Seychelles.
From his exquisite collection of sketches, faces wearing half-forgotten yet instantly familiar expressions peer with undiminished lust for life, frozen in time yet with fire still flickering in the depths of eye and soul.
In this timeless album, Michael Adams’ unique craft teases these souls from the rainbow fabric of Seychelles’ history–one they have each helped fashion in their own, unique way as law-makers, politicians, affable rogues, shop-keepers, soldiers of fortune, femmes fatales, dreamers, businessmen and those salt-of-the-earth personalities who garnish island life with their unique flair and charisma.
Gazing upon this pantheon of island spirits – some sadly already passed, others among us still – we are reminded how history is too often misrepresented as a dry account of events, when real history can only spring from real people. And not just those towering, larger-than-life makers and breakers of nations, but also the butchers, bakers and candle-stick makers who provide the day-to-day stuff of our existence and who fill in, beautifully,the space between giants.
This book is such a record. An eloquent, people-driven portrait of island life as could never be captured in a mere net of pretty words. This is a vibrant, pictorial account of just some of the motley crew of a small, brave Noah’s Ark floating on an immense ocean, lost to all the world.
In a way, these caricatures mimic the prophetic, eccentric assortment of Seychelles’ original settlers: ‘15 whites, five Malabar Indians, seven Africans and a negress,’but go further still, rounding it off with a full complement of latter-day, island-style personalities: poets, painters, thinkers, writers, drinkers, lovers, eccentrics, bohemians, madmen, troubadours and scoundrels who, together, have made (and continue, knowingly or otherwise, to do so) the Seychelles kaleidoscope.
Our modern societies, ever-more processed and soul-less,are ones in which delightful eccentrics of one form or another have little place to thrive…or even survive. You must come to a place like Seychelles to find them, where among the nooks and crannies of these magnificent isles – as in the pages of this wonderful book – their places are assured for all time.