Monday, May 16, 2016

Just plain nuts

TLS | Otter ego

Is this to be taken seriously?   Sounds more like an April Fool's joke.   But if not, seems to me that this piece would be more appropriate in The Guardian as an example of self indulgent eccentricity, but here it is in the Time Literary Supplement.  An extract:
The real novelty of Foster’s approach, however, lies in his second
instrument. Foster is going to inhabit – not just imaginatively but
physically – the landscape of his target animals. He exchanges
hallucinogens in the living room for adoption of the lives of the
badger, the otter, the fox, the red deer, and the swift.

Foster is not someone who believes in half-measures. To replicate the
life of a badger, Foster and his eight-year-old son live for several
weeks in a “sett” – more accurately a hole in the ground gouged by the
JCB digger of a farmer friend – in the Welsh Black Hills. Like badgers,
they sleep in this sett by day, and crawl around the forest on their
bellies by night, eating worms, grasshoppers (and lasagne provided by
aforementioned farmer friend), licking slugs and smelling their
surroundings (they even construct a scent map of the forest). Over the
weeks, the importance of vision, in this new, dark, ankle-high world
they inhabit, is progressively replaced by hearing and smell.

If anything, Foster’s approach to being an otter is even more
demanding. Spraint is otter dung – used to mark their territory and
often deposited in highly visible locations, such as the rocks beside a
river pool. Foster enlists the help of his children, encouraging them to
deposit their own “spraint” along the riverbanks of Devon. They all
then learn to identify, using their olfactory abilities, each other’s
spraint, assigning individual piles of it to individual persons. Foster
completes his inhabiting of the life of an otter by sleeping in storm
drains by day – nestled warmly in a bed of nappies and syringes – and
swimming in the rivers of Dartmoor by night, attempting, unsuccessfully,
to catch fish with his teeth.
Update:  Ha!   I just click over to The Guardian, and what do I find?   Another story, this one about a British guy trying his hardest to become "goatman"!:
Thwaites spent three days in Alpine meadows, doing his best to mix with a herd of goats. “No one was using that much energy, there weren’t wolves around, we weren’t being driven along a mountain path, but it was still difficult, especially going downhill,” says Thwaites. “After a while, the prosthetics started rubbing, and I got sweaty and cold.” This physical discomfort “encroached” on his attempts to think like a goat.

Is there something in the water over there that the government ought to be looking into?

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