Don’t Be Coralled

Many of us like to be corralled. It feels safe. The safety of numbers. We – the sheep – are all in it – the corral – together. How good is that?

But is it really so good? I’d suggest, it depends on the motives of the person doing the corralling.

When medical experts corral us into getting the Covid vaccine, they are for the most part doing it for what the evidence tells them is our greater good. Our greater good, many of them will tell us, is herd immunity, the Holy Grail that will enable us to open up business, borders, and all the other things we have had to shut down to an extent during this terrible pandemic.

I go along with this sort of corral. I believe it is in my best interests, and will also serve the greater good.

But when it is a populist Prime Minister who tries to corral us, this is not necessarily being done for our greater good, but instead (primarily if not entirely) because he believes it will boost his chances of being re-elected. So, perhaps it is time we stopped, thought, and asked the question, Should we consent to be coralled by such a person, and is it in our best interests?

I am an iconoclast. My first instinct has always been to avoid corral. I like to think first and only then consent to be coralled. Or, more likely, not consent. I do not consent to Mr Morrison’s presumptuous attempts to corall me.

Perhaps this instinct of mine, to resist coralling, harks back to a vivid experience I had as a five-year-old (or thereabouts), and which has left an impression on me to last a lifetime.

My experience back then took the from of an oft recurring nightmare – recurring ones are the worst sort – in the course of which I would find myself corralled within a prescribed area of Australian bush whose perimeter was a ring of dead animals. The awful implication in my bad dream was that, should I try to cross that perimeter, I would myself become one of those dead animals. For weeks on end, I was afraid to go to sleep, because I knew I’d find myself back in that deadly corral.

Then, as an adult in the 1970s, I saw on screen for the first time a film, The Exterminating Angel, by Spanish film director Luis Bunuel. It blew my mind. For several days afterwards I walked around in a daze. Why? Can you imagine? If you’ve seen the film, you should be able to figure out why.

I was dazed because, in its essence, The Exterminating Angel mirrors my recurring dream. It was big time deja vu for me. In the film, a group of privileged people find themselves, in the course of a dinner party, unable to leave the confines of their hosts’ apartment. In my dream, I am similarly trapped in my small area of Ozzie scrub.

No other film I have seen has left such a profound impression on me as this one did.

I have discussed The Exterminating Angel, and its particular significance for me, in one of my earlier blogs. You can find this blog on my webpage at

And I have made the theme of entrapment in a small space central to my latest novel. Naturally, the person who finds himself trapped inside ‘The Space’ becomes known as ‘The Spaceman’. So, The Spaceman is the title of my new novel. And, despite its dystopian credentials, the novel is, to an extent, autobiographical. I have used my bad dream as its driving force.

When will it become available? Right now, I am in the process of finding a publisher for it. It shall be published, even if I have to do it myself. I will keep you informed via my blogs which, of course, may be found on

In the meantime, I have two pieces of advice for you: (1) don’t go out in the woods today, and (2) don’t consent lightly to your own corral.