Some places become their own story. If Edinburgh is Inspector Rebus's stamping ground, where he solves murders in Scotland's gritty capital; then Cornwall will forever be Jamaica Inn and Rebecca, The Shell Seekers and more lately, Doc Martin.
Today we were went on a Doc Martin tour around the coast of north Cornwall. The town of Port Isaac was once a sleepy fishing village which has now become famous as the town of that infuriating and yet somewhat loveable character of the doctor, as played by Martin Clunes. People stood outside the site of his fictional doctor's surgery taking photos. We were told that the owners of the house had got so fed up with this that they sold up and moved away. The house is now a holiday let so it no longer matters about the crowds.
The interesting part of the whole story is that the television series is filmed at a variety of locations which are often spliced together to create the iconic look of the doctor's town. Yet as we approached the town walking via the coast road, I felt that all that was missing was the theme tune. The signature music which makes shows like this and Midsummer Murders more real than fiction.
Location is all important in stories and films. It becomes the imagined landscape which takes you to exotic places far from home and provides the destination for your dreams. Historical writers animate a period of time with memorable characters. Shakespeare's kings were real people, Pip from Dicken's Great Expectations brings 19th century London to life.
In visual art we can recreate social conventions, style, fashion, geography and even climate change from the images in paintings, prints and photographs. Location is everything. Van Gogh's paintings from Arles, Gaugin's of Tahiti, Toulouse Lautrec's Moulin Rouge; these become their own stories. We need these stories to help us understand our human connection to place, time and each other. When we share stories there is no place for us and them, it is always just us.