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, October 29, 2008

Life is short, but the years are long

I haven't posted anything on this blog in some time for a number of reasons. I have been busy, I have been ill, and I have discovered Facebook. Now, I have mixed feelings about Facebook. It is certainly a wonderful tool; I have made contact with several people that I thought had gone forever, but I have problems with the amount of faux intimacy that it demands of its participants. One gets sucked into a strange ur-space where it is very tempting to behave in a way that - under other circumstances - one would never consider doing.

I know several people who have used Facebook for life changing events like the ending of a relationship, or to get one's own back on a colleague or employer, and I am certain that it is this lamentable faux intimacy that has triggered these events. Whether or not they would have happened without Facebook is a moot point, but it is undeniable that Facebook is the catalyst that propelled these events into happening.

Another thing that I find disturbing is how easy it is to find people that would otherwise have been lost forever. I have made contact with my friend Jane from Derby, with whom I lost contact after her divorce twn years ago. I first met her 20 years back when my ex-wife and I were doing our own inimitable thing alongside Steve Harley and his rebellious cockneys, and I am very pleased to be able to rekindle our friendship.

I also managed to find Jim from `The Amphibians from Outer Space` who left his contact details on my old laptop which gave up the ghost shortly before I left Exeter. So again, on this instance, Facebook has done me a favour. (And yes, you folk hoping for an Amphibs reunion, Dave, Jim and I are up for us, and I am hoping to recruit Marcus, so it is looking on the cards to a certain extent at least, but whether we play live, or release new music, or both, remains undecided at this stage).

However, as an experiment, I amso found that in one half hour period I managed to find four ex-lovers, one ex-fiancee, two people from whom I used to buy drugs, several more with whom I used to take drugs, two of my three ex-managers, several people who owe me money, and at least two to whom I may well owe a few quid! It is as if, with a few clicks of my mouse button (and no, I haven't been stupid enough to do any of them) my entire past could come back to haunt me, like a post modern version of `This is your life` without Michael Aspel.

I have very little interest in meeting up with any of these people again(no, that isn't true: I made contact with the most disreputable of my ex-managers who is now running a brothel in New Zealand), but I can imagine that for some people it would be an immense temptation to do this very thing. I don't actually want to meet up with my ex-wife, because I am perfectly happy with the one I have now, but I have to admit that I looked for her. The fact that (assuming that she is still married to the bloke she left me for) her name is `Alison Smith` means that my search for her would not be an easy one because there are hundreds of people with that name.

I am perfectly secure in my second marriage (my wife is a saint for putting up with me, but that is another story) but I can imagine that this easy instantaneous access to everyone that you have ever been emotionally, or physically, (or both) involved with is going to (if it hasn't already) put the kybosh on quite a few slightly rocky relationships.

Me? I am gonns stick to using it to play tetris!


Nick Redfern said...

I'm not a fan of facebook, but I do love cheese and branston sarnies and carlsberg special brew. I will stick with those over FB...

Jayne said...

I for one am glad you joined Facebook Jon - cos it meant I caught up with a friend I haven't seen in yonks!!!

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

I must have missed you on there, Jon. Still I only log on for a few minutes every day or so. Like you, I've occasionally come across people from my personal history I'd rather leave there!