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Published The Republican

Ditta Beard said in 'The Sovereign State', "I don't put anything in writing. If it's important enough, you shouldn't, and if it is not important enough, why bother?" But importance is a matter of choice, and it's bewildering that what may be gripping diversions for some might be cerebral Valium for others. Evidently many people are thrown into paroxysm of delight by all things from high fashion, studying changes in local government and collecting autumn leaves. Indeed, the latter has proved so thrilling a pursuit to one keen individual that they felt moved to scan and display the sumptuous collection on line for all to swoon over. A perfect avenue for people of peculiar passions, the structure of the Internet means you can literally create your own alternative universe of eccentricity and be contacted by similar queer fish from all over the world. Surely a diverting notion for anyone with a fetish for unconventional whims. The leaf page is actually rather nice. An oasis of simplicity in a raging stream of noise. An unpretentious insight into the priority of a person you imagined might only exist in a Roald Dahl book. And there's more where that came from. Instead of watching The Nanny or doing step aerobics, these eccentric's have indulged earnestly in something very personally alluring and the only possible gain is that it might help them find their like minded clique scattered across the globe. After all, the structure of a free society insists that one person can say without self consciousness, "Not all of my leaves are local. Here's one from out of town," and not be shunned by the people who prefer to work on their thighs than organise a collection of digital format images of the debris from Autumn. And take the rubber band ball site (http://www.east, where the thrilling exploits of the ball have been agonisingly compiled by one enthusiast. The origins are recalled as nostalgically as the first coital contact with a loved one. "I tied it into a knot, and continued to re-tie and re-tie until it was a little ball with two loose ends. I took the next one..." You may be moved to contribute to this torrid melodrama with the left over bands from your own snail mail bundles, but as it's been six years in the making, weighs over seven pounds, and 8 inches in diameter, perhaps we shouldn't encourage him. There are so many more sites of this ilk that I hesitate to indulge too frequently. It may prove tempting enough to reveal my collection of woodland animal night lights destined to contribute to the nightmare content of witnesses and illuminate my already wishy washy attempts at aesthetic consciousness. With obsessions revealed, crazed miscreants with unnatural compulsions and misfits with their own exotic bent on the world find themselves in a techy world where anything is worthy of a mention. Stripped of all pressures to conform, you can shimmy naked on-line with daisies coiled artistically in your nether regions and no one would blink an eye. You could soon be joined by other nimble prancers and start you're own troupe on Cuseeme. If you're feeling inspired, plucky and frustrated with your idiosyncrasies going unnoticed, the options to out yourself are endless. Brighten up the Net with your own strange brand of bewitching crap and you could find yourself in an eerie nether world of your own kin and swap an English oak leaf with an Australian Eucalypt.


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