Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let The Pamphleteering Commence!

It's only taken seven years and several sleepless nights of paranoid agony right at the end, but I've finally taken the plunge and written something under my real name.

(Which isn't actually my real name at all, but let's not go into that now. Also I have written loads of stuff under my real name before, I used to have a whole blog written under my real name, or one of them, so I don't really know what I'm talking about, but I've been up since 5am and I'm very tired, so if I'm making any sense at all it's a bonus.)

Anyway, you can find it here in The Pamphleteer, LC's marvellously titled new blogzine, to which he has kindly allowed me to contribute. It also features articles by notable bloggers Tim Footman, Great She Elephant and LC himself.

More will follow. And if you're a blogger and would like to contribute, and if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can get in touch with LC. (Clue: you can probably find him here.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cryptid Corner: The Beast Of Falmouth

The whole of the greater Falmouth and Penryn area is abuzz with the news that a mysterious animal has been spotted on the coastal path between Maenporth and Swanpool beaches.

The beast was spotted by 23 year old Sam Bradbury, who had the presence of mind to go home and make a frankly excellent drawing of the mystery creature:

Speculation about the animal's identity is almost rife. Richard Freeman from Exeter thinks it could be an aye-aye or a spring hare, escaped from a private collection. Falmouth Packet reporter Emma Goodfellow, clearly not letting facts, the evidence presented in the above sketch or common sense get in the way of the Packet's best story of the year so far, suggests that it might be a lion or a kangaroo.

Yet despite the paper calling on the local community to identify the animal once and for all, it seems that so far no one has managed to solve the mystery.

Fortunately, past experience has made me something of an expert in cryptozoology, and over the years I have built up an extensive library of arcane literature on the subject. While gazing absent-mindedly at Sam Bradbury's drawing, it suddenly struck me that I'd seen something very like it before, in one of the books in my collection.

Fired with the thrill of intellectual pursuit, I made a cup of peppermint tea, repaired to the library and began rifling through the dusty, leather-bound tomes.

It wasn't in any of those, though, so I turned my attention to more recent works.

It wasn't long before I found what I'd been looking for: a series of rough anatomical sketches bearing a striking resemblance to the creature in Sam's drawing:

Setting stylistic differences aside, the illustration at the top left-hand side of the page clearly depicts the creature adopting the same hind-legged stance that Sam so memorably describes. Combined with the uncannily similar references to a bushy (or 'fluffy') tail, I think we can quite safely conclude that the Beast of Falmouth and the beast described in this book are of one and the same species.

It seems that John Meek, animal collections manager at Newquay Zoo, wasn't far from the truth when he gave his expert opinion to the West Briton newspaper: "It doesn't look like anything I have ever seen. The closest thing is a wallaby, although that does not have a cat's face."

Indeed it doesn't, John, indeed it doesn't.

NEXT WEEK: Legendary Owlman of Mawnan 'probably just a big owl'.

UPDATE: Occasional Poster of Comments points out that Sam has a history of inventing bizarre animals, including these ones (more here):

Never trust anything you read in a town full of art students.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I Can Tie A Knot In A Cherry Stem, I Can Tell You About Leif Erikson

What with Obama getting in and closing down Guantanamo Bay, and now GlaxoSmithKline saying it's going to slash the price of drugs to poor countries and fund their hospitals and clinics, my favourite song of last year is already looking like a historical document from a nastier, more brutal time:

And long may it continue to do so.

UPDATE: Many, many congratulations to Stef and Wifey on the arrival of Baby Peanut. I'm sure Baby PEANUT will be delighted to know he has a namesake!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mothers: Know Your Place

Rachel Cooke has written a 2,000 word article in today's Observer Woman magazine about how boring it is when middle-class mums start telling her about their kids.

Rachel doesn't want kids, you see, and so she finds it boring when other people try to tell her about theirs.

Rachel thinks that people should be more sensitive to her feelings, and not engage her in conversation about things she finds boring.

Rachel would prefer it if you could talk to her about "books, or Michelle Obama, or Mad Men".

OK Rachel, I will talk to you about Mad Men. Mad Men is a television programme that portrays (among other things) misogyny and sexism in 1960s New York. In Mad Men, men lark about drinking whisky and copping off with their secretaries, while mothers are confined to the home, where they are neither seen nor heard.

I can see why this programme has struck a chord with you, Rachel, because you also seem to be quite keen on the idea that mothers should be confined to the home and neither seen nor heard.

According to you, not only should mothers not talk to you about their kids (which is fair enough), but they shouldn't talk to each other about their kids, either:

The other morning, while I was thinking about writing this piece, I logged on to one of the dozens of websites now devoted to all things baby-related. The discussion subject of the day - email us! - was the funny ways kids mispronounce words. Really. To which I say: new mothers, by all means, tell your own parents, or a close friend, about how your son said the word "bottle" and made it sound like "bottom". But don't be incontinent. Don't tell the entire world. Telling the entire world will make people, and not without reason, think that you have lost your mind.

Mothers: know your place. No matter how lonely or bored you get at home, do not seek out the company of other mothers on the internet. Do not ever discuss your baby's foibles, not even in an internet forum designed exclusively for mothers. Do not make friends with other mothers on the internet, not even if you don't know any other mothers in your real life. Not even if your own mother is no longer there to talk to about baby things. Not even if you use a pseudonym to hide your terrible shame.

Because Rachel Cooke might log on to Mumsnet and read what you say. And Rachel Cooke might find it boring, because Rachel Cooke doesn't want a baby.

But you don't hear her telling the entire world about it.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Obligatory Snow Picture

Apparently it hasn't snowed this much in Cornwall for a long time. It's even snowing in the Isles of Scilly, for the first time in 22 years. Here's a photo of a snow-covered palm tree in our back garden:

UPDATE: The enveloping snow has not, however, dimmed the enthusiasm of the good ladies of the Network Cornwall mailing list, whose latest offering is thus:







G********* XX

I've been trying to think of a Plan B, should the recession take its toll on my copywriting business. I was thinking of buying a van and selling old tat on eBay, like I did during the post-dotcom bust, but now I think I might do better business selling dream interpretations from the bench outside the old fire station.