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The Island Of Philip Worshippers,
This review is from: Man Belong Mrs Queen: Adventures with the Philip Worshippers (Paperback)
As a youngster, Matthew Baylis had a poster of Prince Philip on his bedroom wall. After studying anthropology, he discovered he was not alone in his fascination with this member of royalty. Indeed, he was a mere novice compared with the inhabitants of the small South Pacific Island of Tanna. They believe Prince Philip to be the son of a fierce mountain god called Kallaben and would return one day to eradicate sickness and death. The basis of this prophecy and the worship of the Duke as a deity grew from the alleged sighting of the Royal Yacht passing offshore probably by a man under the influence of the hallucinogenic local brew, Kava, especially as Prince Philip was on deck astride a white horse, an imposing, strong, all-action figure of a man who belonged nowhere, lived in a castle with a wife, Kwin Lisbet.
Matthew Baylis has written the story of the islands' inhabitants, their beliefs, traditions, habits, dress and language. Their women are hardly seen. The islanders seem genuinely serious and there is nothing to contradict this. It is Baylis's descriptions that convey hilarity, eccentricity and a surrealism allied to playing up to his own 'Britishness'; but then he and his readers are 'outsiders'. Prince Philip himself has joined the party by sending signed photographs of himself that are 'veritable icons' kept in a tent on stilts. It is impossible to know the true origins of the Philip archives and acquisition of his divine status, but the author has produced a piece of local history that is fascinating, bizarre and funny. In words of the local tongue, Bislama, Man Blong Missus Kwin. A wonderful and joyous story.