Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sweet noises which give delight and hurteth not

It was when I was updating the `On the Office Hi-Fi` sidebar on this blog this morning taht I was reminded of one of the funnierepisodes in CFZ history.

About three years or so ago a bloke called Andy Billings (now living in Canada but then a resident of the next estate up from the CFZ in Exeter), was a regular visitor to our HQ in Holne Court. He soon became a close friend and the CFZ Computer Consultant, but he is such a nice chap that we looked forward to his thrice weekly visits immensely. The problem is that he was a teensy bit gullible, and for some reason brought out the worst in me and Richard, and became the butt of our stupid sense of humour. It was - I think - on his first visit that we found him peering at my voluminous and ever expanding CD collection with a worried look on his face...

"Don't you have any normal music?"

He said. We pretended not to know what he meant, and he went on:

"and, who ARE `Gong`?" he asked, "and do you REALLY need 27 of their albums?"

I protested that Gong were one of my favourite bands, and enthused about them so much that he insisted on listening to a track. I played him excerpts from Radio Gnome Invisible and he looked at me in horror.

The game was afoot.

Over the next weeks and months Richard and I would ensure that whenever we saw Andy's distinctive figure walking up the steps to our house, we would put on ever more bizarre peices of music. Eventually we spent several hours a week downloading weirder and weirder things (many way past the grey area that divides the listenable and the unlistenable. To make it even funnier, we made sure that we would sit, listening to the music, clicking our fingers, nodding our heads, and tapping our feet in time with the rhythm (when there actually WAS any rhythm - which in the case of songs like Zyclon B Zombie or Journey through the Human Body by Throbbing Gristle, or In the year of 1963 I was admitted to the Mental Institution by Wild Man Fisher, there usually wasn't.

In this mannner we inflicted the above named artists, plus Captain Beefheart, Momus, Henry Cow, faust, Chris and Cosey, and the GTOs on poor old Andy, but it was Captain Beefheart that had the most social reverberations.

A few years ago someone asked what the main sources of CFZ funding were, and to my great joy I could honestly say that we were able to earn money dressing little girls as Captain Beefheart!

As you may or may not know, one of our biggest funding sources is from SimonWolstencroft of Tropical World magazine, for whom we do a lot of editorial and design work in return for regular dosh. I first met Simon some years ago when we both worked for another fish magazine. He was the editor and I did regular articles, and co wrote the children's page with Richard. Now, Simon is another good friend, and also happens to be someone who tends to be the focus for Richard's and my jokes. For years it has been an ongoing joke to insert drug jokes, extreme right wing political references and smut into copy which is sent to Simon for him to edit. We make these references as veiled as we can, and much to my great pleasure, we manage to get quite a lot past him.

One of the best was the children's fish costume competition for Hallow'een, when we managed to dress Andy's seven year old step-daughter as Captain Beefheart!

And we got fifty quid for the article!!!!!

I thought that you would all be happy to learn that tyhe CFZ have such high and noble values!


Susan Hanson said...

PR folks are quickly figuring out blogs and podcasts
At that time, there was some sense that blogs were important. But no one had any idea who - if anyone in IT marketing land - was going to track blogs or to try and work within the blogosphere in any way to ...
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JON DOWNES said...

I wish you would just go away Ms Hanson. Your postings are of no possible interest to anyone, and none of the links worked on the site that you link to last time I went....