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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Civic amenities - a far cry from the locus amoenus?

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2012
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

5 June

It could be urban myth, but, then, urban myth itself could just be urban myth. In any case, it started being stated in parks and gardens where ducks foregather that they should not be fed bread (whatever they should be fed, they crap a lot, and, if not feeding them bread made the result more like rabbits' pellets, so much the better), as, although Donland was unaware of the fact, in his eagerness to eat it, it is not good for him.

Extrapolating from what may or may not be true about what ducks shouldn't eat, and knowing that koi keepers and specialists have all sorts of elaborate methods and diets (maybe for the fish as well), I was surprised, in Salmon-Fishing in the Yemen, by Dr Alfred* Jones (alias Ewan boy from Perth McGregor), whose predication for being in the story is that he is a fisheries expert, feeding broken-off pieces of what seems ordinary white bread to his own specimens (koi, that is, not ducks).

Now, I think that we are given an insight, catch it if we may, into his (largely inner) turmoil, for although he is mouthing about his wife, his feelings for her and how he views their marriage (and he says more later to the Emily Blunt character), I believe that the key indicator at this moment of how upset he is lies in the fact that his fish, which I would guess are prized, are being fed this bread:

Now, it may not harm them, but maybe, in koi circles, it would be the equivalent of giving a toddler free access to two tubes of Rolos.

If so, then Jones, in the vicarious form of his fish, is venting feelings of self-harm: the fish are his pride and prize, and he is subtly hurting them with this sacrament of what may represent his own body (since he repeatedly professes no belief in the conventional sacrament such that, as ever, one questions whether he protests too much).

Plus the other Biblical overtones: casting bread on the water, and the loaves and fishes of the Feeding of the Five Thousand, etc., etc.


* The name doubtless would come from the now, but, I think, not particularly Scottish?

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