Got a secret,
Can you keep it?
Swear this one you’ll save
Gonna lock it
In your pocket
Taking this one to the grave
If I show you
Then I know you
Won’t tell what I’ve said
Cos two can keep a secret
If one of them is dead
((c) The Pierces – ‘Secret’, from ‘Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge’)
There was an interesting piece in The Guardian on Tuesday, by Mark Lawson (http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2013/apr/23/keeping-secrets-became-cool?INTCMP=SRCH) about the final episode of ITV’s crime drama Broadchurch on Monday, and in particular that the heart of the story, the whodunnit, was not given away in advance of its revelation in the final episode.
I wasn’t watching Broadchurch (I don’t have a TV and haven’t had for over three years, so my viewing nowadays is exclusively through i-Player, downloading, streaming or DVDs), so it didn’t make any difference to me, but it was still a welcome reversal of the trend that, for years, has seen the world and its dog eager to scream out what’s on the last page before you’ve even opened the cover of the book.
The increasing tendency of everything to be telegraphed in advance has always mystified and baffled me. I don’t want to be warned of a shock, surprise ending, I want to be shocked and surprised by the ending. I mean, that’s how the writer, and the producer and the director, and the actors have designed it to be, and it does a disservice to their work if the twist ending is spelt out in detail in some tatty TV Celeb mag the week before broadcast: oh yeah, this is the bit where he shoots her, I read about this.
Of course, there were an array of knobhead comments from punters anxious to display their ignorance, mostly along the lines that there was no mystery to spoil, that the programme was such a piece of crap that everyone knew who the killer was in advance. No doubt they’d have been saying exactly the same thing about The Killing first series.
It got me thinking, though, about secrets, and keeping them. And of the easiest way of keeping a secret. Which is not to let anyone know that you have a secret that you are keeping.
I’ve had just that kind of secret for a number of years now. I did something that none of my friends or family knows about – nothing illegal, nothing that hurt anyone in any way, before anyone assumes. I’ve kept that secret absolute, by not letting any of them know I have a secret in the first place.
It’s not something completely unknown. People know that I did it, there are records of it, evidence could be found by those who know where to look, and what to look for. But the people who know I did it don’t know of me.
Could my friends or family find out about it? It’s perfectly possible. The evidence is there, it could be stumbled upon by chance, but the chances are infinitesimal. Should one of them read this, it would be the first time they knew I had anything hidden. And they’ve no idea where to begin looking. And, to the best of my knowledge of them, they would not be looking in the right place for their purposes.
Somewhere in my laptop, a trail points the way. Somewhere in my flat is something that would give them a clue (I say somewhere, because I’ve forgotten where I put it now).
It’s a secret. The easiest secret of all, because only I know I’m holding it.
And now I’ve gone and told it to the world. It’s still a secret, though. I’m not backing the world to find out either. Though you could impress me, one of these days.