Book review: Reservoir Cats

Reservoir Cats review

by Gunnar on May 14, 2011 · 4 comments

in Reviews

They came, they saw, they sprayed – and then they fucked off. A dog would never do that.

I should have written this review ages ago.  Or maybe Kenn should have written it, or Tom?
It would have been great to have scooped all the other superblogs getting the first review out there and thus get millions of visitors to our modest attempt of screaming Birdingblogs into your binocular faces. How hard do we have to rub it in?

But I didn’t. Instead Charlie Moores wrote the first review – and he sure can write. He wrote the header of this paragraph. I can’t write that witty and funny. Instead I’ll show you in my practical Scandinavian way what the book is about.

The plot

There isn’t one! Imagine that Birdingblogs after 13 months get tired of the whole thing and simply decide to shut down the blog – and kill it. Then be stupid enough to gather all the posts to a self published book on Lulu.com and think it would sell like buttered scones. Huh?

Well, that is exactly what the Cats did in the end. Except the Cats is/are anonymous and write under the pseudonym Mr. White. With such a vast number of online reviews on blogs, raving columns in the collected birding magazine bunch in the UK and the US to such an extent that even the fine-artsy literature magazines would pick up the Banksy of birdblogging. The first limited edition is now worth a fortune and will soon be sold off for millions at Sotheby’s.

Not so, only now – and I guess this is a final recognition for the Cats – comes a review for it in RSPB’s magazine Birds (what does that mean – a million copies or so of the magazine?). I have not read it, but if favorable…the Cats may actually start seeing some cash coming in. If you suddenly see one of those prime suspects of being one of the Cats – carrying shining new Leicas or Svaros – you know!
Meanwhile, for every copy sold RSPB gets a pound. Ha, I knew it! The cats bribed almighty RSPB. Wait until the Sunday papers get hold of that story….

Style

There is one. Foul language and absurd statements. The former blog can be described as a series of fake press releases about the British twitching scene, and a lot of it is immensely funny – and there is at least one obscene word in every post.  Some names and variants of these names are repeated as commenter of the events – in typical journalistic style. They are Tom Logan, Arthur Balsam, Enid Feltcher and Swedish birder Per Lollson. They variously have different origin and professions.

For example a sentence can open with:

  • Tom Logan, a twitcher from Surrey said,
  • Tom Logan, an ecologist from Thetford said,
  • Tom Leoghan, an Irish bird identification guru from Co. Cork added,
  • Tom Loggiano, a Vatican spokesman argued,
  • Thom Engelogan, a founder of a new birdingblogs community (Sic! Wonder who they refer to? – see below)

Some points are surely lost to (us) non British birders.  The birding events referred to also are of course news items.  Reading spoofs on such news more than a year later is not always funny – especially if you don’t know what the original news was. Sometimes you just don’t get it.
But then again there are loads of post titles that are extremely funny – and timeless.

Check these examples still available on the original blog.

One major theme throughout is the disappointment how the British twitching scene has exploded in recent years and how the British birder in average today is less able to make proper identification on his own account. This echoes the style and theme of our Tom McKinney. Tom is a prime suspect to be one of the Cats, although he vehemently denies it. Then again, there are several British birders that are very funny – and all of them are old school birders, who are second to none when it comes to field identification. So in fact there are quite a few suspects.

Here is an example of this discontent of the new British birding scene:

Birders find a way to be even less cool

The main point in this post is that the new birders of today are in need of various technical solutions such as Coolpix digiscoping and SLR Canons with 100-400mm zooms to be able to make safe id:s – the point is they don’t do the basic homework. The latest techno fad presented at the catwalks of Milan and a must have for the fashion conscious birder is a Telinga microphone.

Meanwhile in Milan, fashion designer Tomas Loggiano said, “This season, I want to help the British birders, how you say, compensate for the shortcomings they have in the bedroom and the field. Here in Italy, we have a saying ‘big Telinga, tiny gunslinger’ – you know this one?”

In response, Arthur Balsam, a competent birder from Newscastle said, “That Italian ponce, he”s talking shite. Just look at the white lens brigade who show up at every half-decent bird these days – everyone knows the bigger the lens, the bigger the prick behind it.”

UPDATE (May 15): Not only the wealthy newbies get slammed. There are punches in all directions. And this has also made several people upset. For instance, I just found out that the topic is tabu on BirdForum. Birdforum gets a punch, Lee Evans gets mentioned a few times (which is not that surprising), the hippie birders still left from the 70s get rediculed, and all the hard core extremely able birders that prefer twitching to being with their wifes and children, or have no life except of birding at all, certainly are mocked as well.
It is hard for me, as an outsider, non Brit, to judge. To me it is satire. It is not mean. And one needs to be able to laugh at oneself. As indicated above, Reservoir Cats even take the piss at BirdingBlogs on the day of our birth. I must be really stupid to promote someone that writes something like this:

FRIDAY, 20 OCTOBER 2010.

Police warn against acts of birding depravity

Police in the UK today issued a warning to British Birders to stay clear of the latest craze set to envelop in the world of birding – the disturbing and possibly illegal online gatherings of amateur birding commenters who are currently pimping themselves to innocent birders around the world.

Thom Engelogan, the founder of one such online community of writers was today promoting his new site, saying: “It marks a new paradigm in the online birding world.

“I have gathered together an assembly of the cutest and most spectacularly well-endowed bird writers from all around the globe. We’ll be doing it every day, every week of the year. And anyone can come along and watch us. Doing it. Together.

“Over and over again”

Arthur Balsam of the Metropolitan Police said
“It’s a filthy new habit, this so-called “blogging” – encouraging hitherto innocent birders to get their kicks watching depraved bird writers swap engaging and entertaining birding stories, or as we prefer to refer to them, bodily fluids, on specially formed online sites.

“We’re strongly encourage members of the public to stay well clear of these possibly illegal websites and their indecent performers. You might think you’ll just have one look at them, but before you know it you’ll be doing it every day, and eventually you’ll get caught in the shameful act by your partner.

“It’ll be like the time you ‘just had a look at The Huns Yellow Pages just to see what the fuss was all about’ and you were caught cock in hand.

“Only more embarrassing still”

…..instead I am only laughing…

Final judgement

I have brought the book on my recent birding trips and shown some selected pieces to my clients. And most of them love it – while others say, they shall never travel with me again……
There are two thing a birding guide should refrain from while on tour:

  • Quote long sections of Reservoir Cats
  • Play 3 Eminem songs in a row on the PA system at the lodge

So yes…..I fully recommend the book. My only criticism is that there are no pictures – the pictures in the original blog were often simple but extremely smart. Often they were pictures that were altered somewhat. I suppose most of the pictures had copyright – and it would have been costly both in production and the law-suits that would have followed using them in such innovative way.

The other thing about the book is that I don’t get any perks for writing a nice review.

Buy it NOW!

Furthermore, until May 16 – it is 20% off . Just enter voucher code LUCKYUK when you come to check-out. And the RSPB still get their shiny pound donation for every copy of ‘Reservoir Cats’ sold.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Front cover reservoir Cats

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  • shekhar

    very nice blog

  • Shekhar

    It is very wonderfull center

  • Shekhar

    It is very wonderfull center

  • Shekhar

    It is very wonderfull center

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