Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Crouching tiger, swimming squirrel

This is what happens when I get to read the "In Other News" section of the BBC News website.

Montague Knee is a man of commitment. Very few have gone where he has been, still fewer will follow where he leads.

People would ask him, "Why?" and he'd answer, "Because I like the challenge." To Knee, there is no point in rationalising these things.

Montague Knee: official trainer of the British Red Squirrel Synchronised Swimming Team.

It was destiny for the young Montague. A lifelong fascination for animals and a childhood home next to a lake was all he needed to get started. An only child, he would spend days on end at the lakeside, putting his early troupe through its paces. "Although, of course, the technical term in synchronised swimming is 'sculls'," says Knee. "Paces tend to be less than successful in this game."

But can squirrels be made to swim in the first place? "Well. There can be issues. The trouble is, your average European Red tends to be a bit lazy. I'm afraid the attrition rate was a bit high in early days back in the seventies. Although my mother got some lovely coats out of it."

Early disappointments would have been enough to put off a lesser man, but not Knee. Others would have been tempted to try out Grey Squirrels, but not our Montague. "There would be no point. Whilst technically, they're pretty good, you just can't get them to keep their concentration levels up for the longer combination routines. It's rather soul destroying."

But what's the motivation? "You've got to remember, squirrels are naturally proud animals. There's nothing they like better than to execute a perfect Vertical Bent Knee then slide into a Ballet Leg. Excuse me for a sec......NUMBER SEVEN! WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT YOUR BODY POSITION! ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO THE BACKING TRACK?"

So what is his response to accusations that this is an ultimately pointless activity? That he's spent thirty years trying to perfect something that is completely futile, unviable and basically an advanced form of animal cruelty? What does he say to these points?

"Actually. You may have a point. Blimey.......I've wasted my life, haven't I?"

"NUMBER SEVEN! I WON'T TELL YOU AGAIN - GET THAT TAIL UP!!"

3 comments:

Tom said...

Again, totally awestruck at the ingenuity and creativity you possess.

When you let your mind out to wonder, you never know where it's gonna go or what it's gonna pick up.

Dory said...

Veeeeery niiiiiiice

fatboyfat said...

You are very kind. Thank you.

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