Tuesday, 8 March 2011

HOW DO YOU DO... Taxidermy

Past this ‘ere 21st Century, in the proper future nexus of technology x science + whiz-bleep. When we equal all our realised dreams, that we’re miles off reaching. Technology and humans will be ever-more reliable to each other, like fifty times more than now. Though if even a hint of what environmental scientists predict will happen, happens, the whole of our technological love affair may break up without even a sniff at no-strings sex. With this, industry, education, agriculture, health and entertainment will shatter. Having decided to put everything in the clouds; yet unable to now reach them. And after trying to pour oil on everything because, oil makes everything! We wept like little girls with cut knees.

Reflecting at the absent neglect of our environment in favour of genetic breeding towers housing flocks of fifteen foot chicken nuggets. Glancing around at our weakened, stretched painted and plucked selves unable to understand the “ugly” enlightenment period. We start scrambling dumbfounded at the neglected instruments of yesteryear, the solid physical tools and ornements our ancestors used to use and admire. Our eyes eventually focus and we see the glorious simplistic form of what we had in almost the best form to have it in, yes, a taxidermied animal.

These objects we held up to what we once had, to the sanctuary of Mother Nature stuffed and as examples of what we need to reclaim. The simple duck with a pipe balanced in his beak and a pulled down wink in his eye made all humans around the world know instantly where they went wrong. And from that day they all went out to shoot a duck so they too could have such an important symbol on their mantelpiece. Even though they didn’t own mantelpieces then because it was the future they still liked the idea so all made them too, hastily.

What those future fools didn’t realise because all their food came from tablets and teats was that the process of taxidermy isn’t a particularly pleasant one. In fact what they soon learned is that the very act of cutting open an animal is probably the most disgusting and gip inducing spectacle they could ever theorise in undertaking. Yet they soldiered on like a bunch of soldiers who were going to brutally re-murder another thing.

Something you might need to know, because, you don't know and neither do I
It would be preferable to have some sort of reference at hand, an instructional video, manual on taxidermy, maybe an expert to advise you. Please do not follow the author's bright idea and watch a you tube video of some hickory American yokling the process with all the really complicated and important parts super sped up to country and western accompaniment .

Don't then try and interpret zip zap slop slap incisions like you've acquired the ability to slow down time whilst taking in intricate details and translating them into surgeon-like precision.

It's the equivalent of a child handed the keys to Cern and telling him to, "Go find Higg's Bottom." Not gonna happen, and will likely end in some sort of agitated reversed molestation charge.

You gave them the eye, oh my.
Don't look the animal in the eye, you may cry or get intimidated like when you’re at an open casket viewing, you’re staring deep down into their dead eyes gripped with the lingering fear they might just blink or wink or wake up. Occasionally they expel some air and it sounds like they’re breathing into life when it's not it's just releasing trapped gases. Even though I've never been to a viewing, never stared at a dead fella, I know that, I watched a good chunk of the first series of Six Feet Under and I have the ability to take a fact from Eerie Indiana when Marshall went to a morgue so that this tale limply hangs together even though the guts have been self sacrificed which somehow links into the next bit right below, pfew.

Stuck in the middles
Scalpel please! So after skinning most of the animal, removing its mainframe, braking it’s legs, pulling the skin from its muscle, spinal column and ribbed bloody airway. Cutting its eye lids from the skin and de-braining the skull of all elements, it’s getting on a bit. Time for tea! Like any tribesman, Neanderthal, bush tucker or amateur taxidermist knows; always eat your animal regardless of what brutal unimaginable thing you’ve just done to it. So time to disembowel. Make sure you cut kidneys, heart, lungs, intestines and all the rest of that jelly slop, veined stuff, replace that with garlic, leave in the oven for an hour, bingo 22 quack quack lunch.

After lunch while you are sipping your warm glowing multi caffeinated cocoa shake, take a few moments to consider the life you have butchered for your aesthetic appreciation that you can’t appreciate in the wild cos you’re too lazy and you’ve already murdered it. Think about its creation, those first tentative steps, that proud encouragement from its mother, toying around with other chicks, having fun, its attraction to another birds, petting and grooming each other, going to search for food for its family then bam! Shot. Consider the many other animals that are hanging in houses that may, may have preferred to hang out on the reserve or swooping over the heads of poachers, free and flowing then shot, dead, in a dog’s mouth. You thank yourself in being a below than average fantasist and deciding not to get David Attenborough’s Life boxset that time when it was on offer. You smile over a hollow skin sack of feathers and wonder whether one day you may be a bag of skin under the gaze of a vengeful ducks bloodied beak. Probably not.

This goes where?
The incidental consequence of all this is you kinda understand an animal’s insides. You feel almost medieval, though the same statement in front of butchers would make, you a jovial jester to their grim heartless reaper; probably ending in them saying stuff about your guts and your garters in some light hearted colloquial saying that they literally mean.

Sniff sniff, poo wee
If a close person, partner, or neighbourhood Border Collie indicates that there's an unusual and rather potent odour exhuming from your animal statue / bird sculpture, do investigate. There may be an oversight that's slowly decomposing and may definitely need some super doopa surgery that doesn’t involve hanging more and more glades from it’s neck until it feels more at home with Flava Flav, if Flava Flav lived in a Brooklyn sewer.

Warning, wear gloves and a nose plug because once you find it, it'll let you know it’s found. A good test is if it’s:

  • Red, dead still fleshy, sup more tea.

  • Purple or blue, its funkytown rip out that tuff.

  • Black with maggots, nee nor nee nor. Find whatever brutal cleaning bleach cos Genghas, its murder time, again.

If the mere mention may make you recoil, you may now be uncontrollably retching. But after the act you find it all, gratuitously great. Remember this is fun for all the family. While you feast on liver burgers and brain shakes like you’re on I’m a celebrity, the kids are making intestine braids. And the Bird? Well the bird gets the best deal, immortality, in a way.

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