Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sick as a Pike

I currently have bronchitis after three weeks spent gargling in continental Europe's elegantly tarred communal lungs. The new issue of Plan B features my essay on Rock 'n' Roll. It is part of an ongoing project to map the gutters, sewers and storm drains of the music industry.

Pike are notoriously voracious carnivores and can be potential pests when introduced into alien ecosystems. When caught in the River Mole in the Eighties, fishermen such as my dad were instructed by Mole Valley District Council not to throw them back. You couldn't eat them, so you had to bin them. He cut one open to show me its disease-speckled liver. It was a bad fish. A bully. Throwing its weight around. It knew it was on the way out and it was going to take a few others down with it. Men standing on river banks with poles and lines and hooks are noble sentries in Gaia's gentle regime of self-regulation.

A small colour television set was involved in three separate crimes in the space of two weeks. First it was fly-tipped outside our house. A few days later, it was thrown through our front window. We dumped it back out on the street and it disappeared. Two days later it was found dropped off the bridge and onto the middle of the railway tracks at Montpelier station. There was a storm here last night. Fitful sleep; beneath the roar and moan, the sound of something rolling slowly back up the hill towards our house.


Annina said...

In Germany we use to say "Ooh, poor black tomcat", if somebody is fishing for compassion.

A hangover as a consequence of senseless booze-up is also called "tomcat" in Germany. One shell eat herrings to drive the tomcat away.

To pass away your time while coughing between the cushions, I warmly recommed this cure to all fishermen's friends (Always remember:if they are too weak, you're too strong!):

"Gills" by Niccolò Ammaniti.

Desmond O'Grady wrote about this book:

"How to succeed without really failing

Niccolo Ammaniti is a success as a writer because of his failure as a biologist. Or, rather, had he graduated as a biologist he might not have become one of Italy's most acclaimed novelists. He passed 16 exams at Rome University but lied to his father that he had passed the full 18 and was starting his final thesis.

His father, a Freudian psychologist, invited Ammaniti to use his study for three months while completing the thesis. There was no thesis to write. Instead, Ammaniti began a sombre narrative about a man who breeds fish but faces death within three months from lung cancer. To make some money while studying, Ammaniti himself had bred fish for a vendor of aquariums.

A friend in publishing told Ammaniti that he had been asked to launch a series of books by new writers. Ammaniti showed him his manuscript and received a promise that, once completed, it would be published. Ammaniti was so exhilarated that, in contrast to the sad first section, the second part of the narrative acquired a brighter, surreal tone. The breeder is invited to New Delhi to build a huge aquarium, becomes a kind of mythological hero, acquires gills and finally, becomes an exhibit in a Berlin aquarium.

Published as Gills, it secured Ammaniti's writing life: since then he has lived from his narratives, cultural journalism and screen writing. A book of short stories (Mud) followed and brought strong, mixed reactions because it combined comedy and violence, normal characters with others who were zombies or part human, part machine."

Read the whole article at:

Daniel B said...

Get your shit together and just write that Pikey Cthulhu-cult novella before Stuart Home gets there first.