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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Tuesday, December 25, 2012


May I wish you all a happy and fulfilling Christmas 
and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. 
Blessings on you all


All religions are branches of one big tree. It doesn't matter what you call Him just as long as you call. Just as cinematic images appear to be real but are only combinations of light and shade, so is the universal variety a delusion. The planetary spheres, with their countless forms of life, are naught but figures in a cosmic motion picture. One's values are profoundly changed when he is finally convinced that creation is only a vast motion picture and that not in, but beyond, lies his own ultimate reality


As regular readers of my writings on the CFZ Blog will know, for the past few years (six I think, but I can't be bothered to count) On Christmas Day I always post a list of my favourite albums of the year. In quite a few years I have been forced to scrape the barrel, because - to be brutally honest - there have not been that many particularly good records that year. However, this year - 2012 - it has been different. I don't know whether it is because I am back in the music business for the first time in years, and am therefore keeping my ear closer to the ground (as Dr Shuker suggests), or whether everyone of an Eschatological  bent had a secret suspicion that the world was indeed going to end in December, so pulled out all the stops to make sure that their final statements would be corkers, or whether there was just something in the air, but this year has been a stonker for music.

I found it very hard to limit my choice to just ten, and even cheating and having for 'bubbling under' I found myself leaving out such peaches as the new Unthanks album, and Mimi Page's gorgeous album, which would definitely have made it into the Top Ten in a normal year. But here they are (and just in case you wondered where the Magick Brothers album was, for example, it was recorded back in 1991 and so doesn't count, although I am sure that once again I would have bent the rules for it and other live albums, compilations and reissues in a normal year).

1. Bob Dylan 'Tempest'

No contest! I think that this is the best Bob Dylan album since Blood on the Tracks. His apocalyptic visions, especially in Scarlet Town when he revisits the scene of one of his earliest traditional folk songs is particularly searing.

2. Damon Albarn 'Dr Dee'

Utterly magnificent. I am waiting with baited breath to see how this is staged as an opera. I forst heard of Dr Dee through my mother reading me Rudyard Kipling (The Mortlake Witches) and my old friend Doc Shiels in Monstrum! so this music presses all sorts of personal buttons for me.

3. Jack White 'Blunderbuss'

I have been waiting for White to produce something like this ever since he let himself out of his self-imposed stylistic straightjacket of The White Stripes. He has suddenly bloomed into an extraordinary talent. I can't wait to see what he does next.

4. Michael Des Barres 'Carnaby Street'

I have played this album incessantly since it came out. Michael has tapped into a wonderfully primal veing of blues/rock/soul and gets better and better. I am looking forward to the live album which is out very soon, and I am immensely proud to have been (in a small way) part of the publicity machine for this fantastic album.

5. Auburn 'Indian Summer'

Liz Lenten is another fantastic talent that I have been lucky enough to work with this year. I love her sultry voice and intelligently crafted little songs which never quite do what you expect of them, always taking an unlikely twist and doing something completely unexpected

6. Public Image Limited 'This is PiL'

This record could have been so lacklustre...but its not. Like so many people, when I heard that Wobble and Levine had been invited to play on the reunion album, but declined I was massively disappointed. But I shouldn't have been. Lu Edmonds is a completely shamanic guitarist conjuring up waves of completely unimagined sound from the depths of his soul, while Lydon, cackled and struts and is as Lydon as we all hoped that he would be.

7. The Beach Boys 'That's Why God made the Radio'

This is another record that I thought was going to be terrible, given the bad blood between Brian Wilson and Mike Love, and the fact that poor mad Brian is the only Wilson brother left alive. But it is glorious. It is the perfect valedictory album, as the Beach Boys, now old men take stock of their lives and what they have achieved. Then the tour came, and the whole thing fell apart.

8. The Pet Shop Boys 'Elysium'

This is exactly what one would hope from the classiest pop band ever. It is a pleasing return to form, with a preponderance of old analogue synths, classy strings and the wittiest, bitchiest lyrics this side of Noel Coward

9. Neil Young and Crazy Horse 'Psychedelic Pill'

Neil Young released two albums this year, both with Crazy Horse, and whereas the first one has its moments, the second one is an absolute delight. It presses all the same buttons as do classic albums like Rust Never Sleeps. I also enjoyed his peculiar rambling autobiography, and note that he said that he has problems writing since he stopped drinking or smoking pot. If this record was made post abstemiousness then we have now't to worry about.

10. Martin Stephenson and Helen McCookerybook 'Cafe of Tiny Kindnesses'

Finally, someone else that I actually know. I am a big fan of Helen - the ex-punk academic who sings like Doris Day! Team her up with partner Martin who was one of the most intelligent and literate artists to have come out of the post punk Indie movement, and you have a meticulously crafted delight of an album.


11. Leonard Cohen Old Ideas
An extraordinary album, which is spoken rather than sung, but which carries such a weight of emotion, in some frames of mind it is almost too painful to listen to
12. The Ting Tings Sounds from Nowhere
Nowhere near as fun as (and much heavier than) their debut album, but it still has many joyous moments, and the homage to Brill Building girl bands featured through The Runaways and Dr Dre is magnificent
13. The Producers Made in Basing Street
I have always been a sucker for sophisticated, Steely Danesque pop, and this record presses all the right buttons. I went up quite a few notches in the estimation of one of my nieces for having liked this
14. Fairport Convention By Popular Request
I was friends with this seminal band once upon a time, but a lot of water and other substances have passed under a lot of bridges since then. But I am still fond of their music, and this re imagining of some of their most popular songs is all that one would wish for.
15. The Flaming Lips '...and heady fweinds'
Insane, beautifully crafted and funny. However its just filler, as was the previous album. When can we expect a proper new album gentlemen?

DALE DRINNON: Bigfoot, spider version of bigfoot, giant salamanders and Benny's Blog

New at the Frontiers of Zoology:
And at Benny's Blog for Thelma Todd:


In an article for the first edition of Cryptozoology Bernard Heuvelmans wrote that cryptozoology is the study of 'unexpected animals' and following on from that perfectly reasonable assertion, it seems to us that - whereas the study of out of place birds may not have the glamour of the hunt for bigfoot, or lake monsters - it is still a perfectly valid area for the Fortean Zoologist to be interested in. So, after about six months of regular postings on the main bloggo, Corinna has taken the plunge and started a 'Watcher of the Skies' blog of her own as part of the CFZ Bloggo Network.

Birdsong Bluster May Dupe Strange Females, but It ...


Mother, Corinna and my lovely stepdaughter Olivia (who is currently functioning at a seven year old level, having been infected by Christmasitis, despite being 24) are in the kitchen. I have a plate of scrambled egg and smoked salmon, and I am truly blessed. Happy Christmas my dears...
Ladies and Gentleman, on stage, Mr Hunter Ayling (whooop whooop)

*  The Gonzo Daily is a two way process. If you have any news or want to write for us, please contact me at jon@eclipse.co.uk. If you are an artist and want to showcase your work, or even just say hello please write to me at gonzo@cfz.org.uk. Please copy, paste and spread the word about this magazine as widely as possible. We need people to read us in order to grow, and as soon as it is viable we shall be invading more traditional magaziney areas. Join in the fun, spread the word, and maybe if we all chant loud enough we CAN stop it raining. See you tomorrow...

*  The Gonzo Daily is - as the name implies - a daily online magazine (mostly) about artists connected to the Gonzo Multimedia group of companies. But it also has other stuff as and when the editor feels like it. The same team also do a weekly newsletter called - imaginatively - The Gonzo Weekly. Find out about it at this link:

*  Jon Downes, the Editor of all these ventures is an old hippy of 53 who - together with his orange cat - puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his mother-in-law, and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus.. did we mention the orange cat?

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

Merry Christmas everybody!
And now the news:

  • Mysterious Attacks Leave Livestock Earless in Kent...
  • Black Piranha, Megapiranha Have Most Powerful Bite...
  • Bats May Hold Clues to Long Life and Disease Resis...
  • Red squirrel sighted in Cheshire for the first tim...
  • Genomic Frontier -- The Unexplored Animal Kingdom:...
  • Destructive Forest Cockchafers: Gut Microbes Help ...
  • Hunting the Dangerous Nile Crocodile in South Flor...
  • Rescue Dogs Sniff for Salamanders to Save Rare Spe...

  • Because you haven't heard it enough this year: