Mystic Monty

Here is a link to video of Mystic Monty in action at the Kendal Mint Fest 2011 shot by Garth Hulbert.

Mystic Monty


‘Eric and Ernie meet the Men in Black’


The two latest dates on our tour were just as much fun as those in Cumbria. We were made very welcome in Tarvin by Anne and Allen and the hall is excellent. Although everyone seems a bit pessimistic about the numbers, in the end around 90 people turn out to see the show. The first half is still running at one hour evidence that at least we are having a great time. We have now adopted the quote from Claire ‘Eric and Ernie meet the men in black’ as our new strap line. Thanks again to everyone involved. The Barbour institute has quite a history and is a lovely venue, we are treated to a great meal and made to feel very welcome, the cabaret style seating works very well and the numbers are as expected, thanks we suspect to hard work from Linda and all the other volunteer promoters.

Avanti Creates a Species

During the making of our indoor show 6-Impossible Things Lou Glandfield mentioned a certain Charles Waterton-(1789-1830), a man known for many things amongst which are, ‘inventing’ modern day anaesthesia techniques, having knocked out and then revived his donkey, (Curare and a pair of bellows since you ask), created the worlds first wildfowl and nature reserve, invented the nesting box, Oh, and liked to pretend to be his own butler when welcoming guests. He is also the creator of one of the most famous taxidermy hoaxs, the so called nondescript, with the upper half of a howler monkey contorted to look like an Amazonian Abominable Snowman. There’re many non verifiable tales about Waterton but one I would love to believe was that the nondescript was an irreverent portrait of a customs official he was in dispute with, just look at how the mouth is acheived. The specimen is still on display at the Wakefield Museum, along with other items from Waterton’s collection.

One of the great people we have worked with on our 6 Impossible things project has been James Dickinson. James is an internationally renowned taxidermist, more known for his work with museum collections than outdoor arts, but was persuaded to take a leap of faith and make something for us, our idea was an impossible animal our own nondescript. After much discussion we settled on an Arctic Platypus, the platypus having ‘form’ already as it was dismissed as a fake when first discovered in Australia. It is also a wonderfull contradiction, a mammal that lays eggs, has a venomous spur, (which makes it part reptile), suckles its young and has a ducks beak for goodness sake. Our platypus we decided would be feathered, adding one more genus to the mix, and would come from the northern hemisphere. Here are some picture of its construction and the final finished work. We also commissioned a poem from Lou in the style of Coleridge and Bryan Tweddle constructed a spectacular casket for the creatures last egg. Both these can be seen in a separate post. Look out for this work in 2015 the title is Reliquary.

More about Charles Waterston here.

The Dam Has Dugs

Post Card Front (new version)

Stay, traveller, and rest a while, I beg

To contemplate the mystery of the egg.
Within this cask of bone resides the sum
Of all that’s been and all that’s yet to come.
Linger awhile, that you and I may share
Nor fish nor fowl but something passing rare.
And join my modest muse, extolling thus
The albino, arctic duck-billed platypus;
Where once stout Phoebus and his lusty train
Were rudely routed from the blasted plain
There, phoenix-like, the platypus arose
And gaily sported mid the growling floes
To rear her brood and serve her mortal span
In chill crevasses measureless to Man
Whom Providence has rendered at the last
Impervious to the Hyperborean blast,
The eager whelps, their fragile prison rent
At once go forth in search of aliment.
Creation now a further wonder works;
The dam has dugs.
The brats wear milky smirks.
Yet some there be who brave the Arctic squall
In whom the thirst for knowledge conquers all.
My pen is still.
My beating heart unmanned;
My spirit quails before the hardy band
That scorns the perils of that dreadful land –
The ravening beasts which lour on every hand
The chafing wind that scours the arctic strand
To bear in triumph homeward by their toils
This peerless paragon of oval spoils.
Such marvels hath the Modern Ajax wrought,
Their magnitude the Mind can scarce support.
Behold! Before our disbelieving eyes
The seamless vessel parts – and yields its prize…
Lou Glandfield 2014


The Reliquary is a gorgeous six-sided polished silver casket, on top sits the preserved remains of a new species we have commissioned. The casket is painted with intricate representations of the possible food of the animal. Outside hang six sets of headphones, six audience members are chosen and through these they are invited to look inside the reliquary itself.  This piece is both serious and funny and seriously funny.