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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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"My brain hurts like a warehouse; it's too full to care"

"My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there
And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people
And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people
I never thought I'd need so many people"

Thank you dear friends for your messages...

Just when you think it can't get any worse...

I woke up this morning to find that those jolly nice people at NatWest have closed my bank accounts, with no reason given. The letter we received bordered on the abusive, and when I tried to telephone their helpline to find out more information I was eventually told by some faceless arsehole beaurocrat that "it was a commercial decision". I asked (politely) what the hell that meant, but he just repeated it. I asked for a reason for my bank accounts having been closed, and they told me that they had no legal requirement to tell me, and put the phone down!

I phoned my solicitor, and my financial advisor bloke, but to no real avail. Feeling somewhat Kafkaesque, I telephoned Kaye, who is pretty well my sister, but I won't bore you with the story at this juncture. She - it transpired - is friends with a senior bank bod from a rival bank, and gave him an `off the record` ring.

It transpired that, after Corinna and I recently tried to open a joint savings account, that some bright spark at GnatWest decided to do a credit check on me. I have been banking with them for thirty years, and have probably not had a credit check since I initially opened the account.

The credit check probably revealed that I have a dodgy credit record.

Well DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been in financial difficulties twice in my life. The first time when I had a massive nervous breakdown in 1990, and the second a few years ago, when I basically had to give up work to look after my dying father! Yes, I have three CCJs to my credit (or lack of it), but one is paid off and the other two are under control.


So what has changed?

I don't owe any money to anyone at TwatWest. Indeed my account had a healthy credit balance! I was not trying to borrow any money, now or in the forseeable future, and basically, after a difficult few years, I have just got married and am trying to put my life back on track.

Now, less than a week after nearly dying in a horrible car crash, I am facing a financial wasteland. Despite the fact that I banked with them for nearly thirty years, I have no bank account and am unable to give them as a banking reference. It is as if - financially at least - I have never existed.... And I can't even get an explanation or an apology from the bastards!

It has not been a crime to owe anyone money since the Debtor's Act of 1869. It appears, however, that the powers that be - at least at the PratWest, have decided that it is a crime for me to owe someone ELSE money! Their advertising slogan is, after all, `Another Way`!

However, I may be wrong. I actually don't KNOW why my accounts have been closed. For all I know, I may have been fingered as an Al Quaeda terrorist, or (as my legal advisor said, only half jokingly), it might even be because of my friendship with various dissident types, parlour revolutionaries, ex-members of various proscribed organisations, or even Larry Warren. After all that poor bastard has been persecuted by the US Government for thirty years because he once saw a UFO.

But no. Its probably because in 2005 I received a year's Council Tax demand from Exeter City Council for a house I wasn't even living in. I got a CCJ out of that one, and even though I paid it off, and had the money refunded when the council realised they had made a mistake, the CCJ still stands. Oh yes, I have a problem with Barclaycard, and another one with the South West Water Authority, and I am still paying nine quid a month for a car my ex-wife totalled in 1988.

But does this give those faceless bastards in Edinburgh the right to make me a non-person?

I am going to bed now, to take a sleeping pill, and I hope that tomorrow I will wake up refreshed, dust myself down, and get on with rebuilding my life once again. But I don't know how much more of this shit I can take.

I am writing to the NatWest complaints manager, to the `accounts closure` department, to the manager of my bank, to my MP, to the banking ombudsman, and to anyone else I can think of. But it won't do any good. Even my solicitor admits that although morally their position is indefensible, legally they are fireproof. They can do what they like, and ruin as many lives in the process as they want.

Jarvis Cocker was right about the people who are still running the world.

Sorry for the rant.....

...I'll be back in a few days to talk about mystery animals, or something important, again.