Myth Within the Myth
During my research for Skewjack Stories all sorts of information and memorabilia has come forward and one of the most interesting pieces is a thesis, written about the surf village in 1982 by member of staff Peter Urqhuart.
He had discovered Skewjack while working as a teacher and found it the perfect place to ‘escape’. It wasn’t too long before Chris Tyler offered him a job on the entertainment side of things which, given PT’s decision to go back to Uni to study Sociology, was a big bonus.
Because, unbeknown to all bar one of his colleagues at Skewjack, Pete was going undercover. He used ‘Participant Observation’ to write a thesis on the village and how life played itself out.
It is really interesting reading, possibly given my own background in Social Science, but also seeing events and behaviours being broken down and looked into. The overwhelming theory being that Skewjack provided the platform for a ‘Moral Holiday’, influenced by Stan Cohen's book 'Folk Devils and Moral Panics'. It was a break from the realities of life and was a place of exaggerated actions and reactions. That it was a social construct … a myth, which possibly continues to be a myth today.
Also really interesting, and borderline uncomfortable at times, was the role PT played. How did he manage to play both roles at the same time and maintain his own integrity? It’s clear his one confidant was a great support and sounding board - and that friendship continues today.
So how much of Skewjack is myth? You tell me! Click on Contribute to find out more.