Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Pelican Roast.

I offer this up partly as a serious whine, partly as light relief, and partly as a chance to take a verbal shiv to a pelicanist and to shove it up into his squawking gut.

Those of you who have been awake will have noticed a few days ago the following posting on various Lists:

Magonia Supplement #62

The latest issue of Magonia Supplement blah, blah, blah,

John Rimmer reports on a recent UFO conference at which he was one of the speakers, and blah, blah, blah

I always take an interest in the Lapis conference partly because I have a lot of respect for the Walkey's who I think consistently use their imagination to good effect in constructing a speaker list - most of the time. I was also aware after the event that, like my own conference a bit further south a week or so earlier, it had been poorly attended.

As I started to read Rimmer's report of the conference held (please note Kimball) near Blackpool and his valiant excursion away from the capital, I soon found myself reaching for a bucket as an overwhelming sense of nausea began to rise up in my craw. Using every conceivable hoary old cliche to patronise, the reader is left marvelling at what a courageous man Mr. Rimmer is to dare venture out of the safety and security of "the south" and emerge into the wild and uncivilised barren wastelands of "the north" where, any southerner spotted by a local is likely to be speared, gutted, and hoisted on to some sort of petard and then paraded around as a sporting trophy.

OK, so he's a big girls blouse but what don't we know? And then this. I offer intermittent translation:

"I suppose I have to say something about my own contribution, in which I tried to position Warminster as the centre of a peculiarly English UFO and contactee narrative, quite separate from the American, which has tended to obliterate the native tradition of the last thirty years."

That's because the native tradition is shit John. People aren't particularly interested in eccentric folk standing on top of hills and speaking in flowery language. They want bodies, wreckage, and machinery. And why not I say.

"This was also the theme of Dewey and Ries's book, and along with Andy Roberts's recent articles in Magonia, and a forthcoming book he has co-authored with Dave Clarke, we may be seeing something of a rediscovery of the English UFO tradition."

Err, I think you mean English scepticism surely? You are an old devil of a folklorist, aren't you. Is there a difference John between "the English UFO tradition" (wtfti) and folklore and if so, could you explain it to me in less than 100 words with not more than 3 syllables in any of them? Bet you can't. By chance, does it involve whittling or furtling or speaking with a straw sticking out of your ear, or better still, assissting young boys in outdoor pursuits?

"It was a hot weekend, and although the hall looked pretty full to me, there were not as many attendees at the conference of the organisers had hoped. However, I was encouraged by the news that another north of England conference, boasting alleged big name speakers, some from America, managed to attract an audience of nine!"

Ah! The crux. There is so much in this last paragraph that I almost do not know where to begin. We have spitefulness, maliciousness, low self esteem, jealousy, bigotry, racism, disingenuousness, in fact I'm getting very giddy with it all.

Which other conference could he possibly have been referring to? Well, a few weeks before mine, back in May, Paraquest had held their conference up in Sale in Manchester. But that had been reasonably well attended and there were certainly no Americans on that agenda. By a process of elimination, and of course dear old Occam's, he just had to be referring to my effort. But wait; there were no Americans on my roster of speakers either. There was Paul Kimball and its true that Paul is an Americanophile but he is also a Canadian and proud of it. But perhaps its all the same to you John because after all, they all look alike don't they?

Methinks John is away with the faeries, poor chap.

Next point - excuse seeking for the fact that the conference was poorly attended. "It was a hot weekend". Nah John, that had nothing to do with it. What it did have to do with was that you were speaking and folk just couldn't bare the thought of having to sit through some dry, dull, dreary monologue that would have had them reaching for smelling salts just to stay conscious, let alone awake. You're an amnesiac's dream.

As for actual figures of attendance John, mine is bigger than yours. Andy Roberts, trying to be nasty to me on another mailing list recently, alleged there were 30 people at my do. A sober, reliable, and objective individual known to me, who was in the audience at Lapis, advised me there were just 20 people present at St. Annes. Deny it - go on.

Scuttle back down to the sovereignty of Putney John, to your own little world where acolytes come and pay homage, where your shoes are licked clean by labotomised automatons who think its the height of chic to walk into WH Smiths and be seen mincing down Putney High street carrying a copy of the Facetious Times. But don't venture up here into the land of the savages again John. Or we'll eat you.