Away With The Fairies

                                  by our Bafflesby Echo special correspondent, Trend Hunter

How often have we heard it said that Bafflesby is out of the loop when it comes to crazes? Remember that burning mountain of hula hoops, unsold because their target audience had grown too old and arthritic to use them? And who can forget how thousands of Davy Crockett hats would have suffered the same fate if their late arrival had not coincided with the onset of male-pattern baldness?

But now our town is at the forefront of the latest mania to sweep the nation. ‘Ungh,‘ I hear you gasp as you snuggle a little closer to the sad and soggy remains of your beloved Care Bear, ‘whassat you say, sleepy old Bafflesby ahead of the curve?‘ But don’t get too excited. The new craze is all about plucking tiny mythical creatures from thin air and collecting them in little boxes.

Sound familiar? Yes, Bafflesby has finally cottoned on to the late-Victorian fad for finding fairies at the bottom of every back garden. Suddenly, fairy-hunters are everywhere – just open your net curtains and you’ll see two or three of them lurching around like zombies. I wanted to know who started the craze but engaging these deeply entranced ones in conversation proved impossible – I was lucky to get a grunt or two.

Determined to find Mister Big, I entered pop-up shop Majik Momentz to confront owner Luke Shifty and his sinister moustache. Far from accepting responsibility or admitting exploitation, he just shrugged and said: ‘We are here to serve our customers and if they want extremely expensive ectoplasm-proof containment units, well, we’re happy to provide them.’

He pointed to a huge pile of what looked like old wooden school pencil-cases dipped in silver glitter. ‘Each and every one has been handled by a magus,’ he added, perhaps confused by my beard and beanie hat into thinking I was a prospective buyer. Highly insulted, I turned on my heel but not before he’d pressed a card into my hand. ‘They’re selling like hot fairy-cakes,’ he shouted after me.

Outside the streets were full of glazed-eyed people holding Majik Momentz fairy boxes. I glanced at Mr Shifty’s card. You had to admit it was the spitting image of him.

At this point, I was barged to the ground by a gangly young man whose eyes never left his box. He seemed not to notice the collision but someone close by shouted: ‘Never mind gawking at business cards, you wanna watch where you’re going!’

It turned out to be the youngster’s parents, following him around to prevent him from walking into the path of a truck. ‘We got him a road-safety app for his last birthday but he’s not even looked at it,’ his mum explained. ‘Oh well, we’re just glad he’s getting some fresh air at long last. He’s not left the house since we got him Grand Theft Auto for his eleventh birthday in 1997.’

I told them it was a lucky 30 year old whose folks still looked out for him in this day and age. They beamed with pleasure so I asked them why their son was such a keen collector of fairies. ‘Oh,’ said his dad with a careless shrug, ‘he says we gotta marshal the forces of goodness and light against the powers of evil darkness or summat.’

His mum nodded. ‘He’s always on about this Armadillo business.’

‘Armageddon?’ I ventured.

‘Yeah, whatever … anyway, it’s always Us and Them with him.’

‘Not us, though,’ added his father with a face like a sucked lemon. ‘He says we’d be about as much use in The Final Battle To End All Battles as a couple of blocked peashooters.’

‘Never mind,’ his mum added, ‘we’re just happy he has a hobby.’


Postscript: I later found out that the photograph on Luke Shifty’s card was in fact the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, posing with real fairies. I mention this fraudulent act of impersonation in case you are thinking of patronising Majik Momentz any time soon.



26 thoughts on “Away With The Fairies

  1. We’ve got some big fairies in Hull!
    Hang on a minute – I was mishearing the Hull dialect – it’s ferries that we’ve got. Not quite the same.

  2. I’d seen these folks, mostly younger ones, stumbling around zombie-like and had thought those magic boxes had stolen their souls. I’m glad to hear the problem is less nefarious, although I’m a bit concerned about the faerie invasion.

    1. Love that old spelling of the word ‘faerie’ … Yes, Dave, I was so worried by Trend Hunter’s article that I looked for advice on the internet and sure enough there’s a simple remedy for supernatural infestation which involves taking off all your clothes and running out of your house at midnight yelling Put me under arrest, officer! at the top of your voice. How ever did we manage before the worldwide web, eh? I’m going to try it tonight …

      1. Blame my spell checker, I guess it’s old school.

        After commenting, I thought I should look into faeries more closely, and discovered there was a particular type, call a “ne-fairie” that is likely behind your Bafflesby phenomenon. Perhaps it truly is nefarious…

        1. Ah … the set-up to a fairly decent pun, something I always appreciate … though actually faerie is a genuine mediaeval spelling – dig those diphthongs! – used by Spenser, I believe, for his epic poem The Faerie Queene .

  3. I got the shock of my life watching a famous small blond London tv actress swing into Greco-roman pillars as Mab in a comic version of midsummer night’s dream. Hey, guys, have a heart. Us “colonials” were expecting the real thing. Then there was the reinterpretation of the faerie queen in the famous Spenser murder mysteries. And faerie cakes in St James Park (What IS that on top?) And a song someone claims is sung by a famous Australian about Faeries coming out at night, oh, and of course, several cases of beating the skin off our hands trying to save Tinkerbell from dying during various school outings to various kiddie theaters. And a piece all our little piano students play about faeries at the bottom of the garden. And since I assume that since the Greeks had frogs in their choruses, they probably also had faeries, all I need is a couple of stories from ancient Egypt, and maybe Atlantis to set up an academic study on the presence of faeries as a socially unifying element in world culture from the time of the Garden of Eden until the present. Anyone got any spare research small-change for sponsoring an outing or two

    1. Seems to me you’ve stumbled across a vast and mysterious conspiracy to convince us all that fairies really do exist … unless … oh horror, unless the avalanche of kitsch which you describe so well is in fact a vast and mysterious conspiracy to make us believe it’s all a load of old thistledown … in which case … perhaps they are real after all and the powers that be are attempting to bury the fact in flim-flam and persiflage. (Hmm, sounds like an old and rather unsuccessful music-hall act!)

      This all rather falls down, I’m afraid, before the obvious point that those in so-called authority couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery – much less sustain a conspiracy. Ah well, back to the drawing board …

      Our best hope is to send out investigators of your calibre to get to the bottom of the garden problem. It may be that the fairy community is tired of being ignored and would be willing to underwrite your researches with fairy gold. If there is a rainbow tomorrow, I shall hot-foot it to the hot foot of it!

  4. What an absolutely marvelous idea. Thank you.
    And since there is only one way to prove or disprove the faerie conspiracy-
    I think i might have been married too long to a scientist-
    I would love to take on the work, but I fear the scope of the task a bit too broad for me at the moment. At least alone.
    I therefore suggest I get started toute suite on the comparative study, as soon as funding is available, and that we then found an ad hoc committee to investigate faerie activity in the modern world: Are they behind the building of modern architecture, for example, so they have something to laugh at.
    Or did they secretly invent a new form of half robot half human called the politician?
    Oh, and of course, taxes, the military, lawyers, the admiralty…
    Perhaps we could use the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, for example Iolanda, as a basis for the study, since they did their own faerie study so well.
    I would gladly be willing to do some of the historical research
    And others on your page are definitely more than qualified to serve on the committee, should they wish.
    I suggest Eoin Colfer, author of the marvelous studies of the Irish left bank police unit called L.e.p.r.e.c.h.a.u.n.s as chair,
    unless, of course you could find time to take it on?
    when and in which pub is the first meeting?
    (Take that, “so called authority”)

    1. Many thanks for your valuable spadework here. The questions you raise are matters of the utmost urgency and I have no doubt that in years to come your name shall surely shine out from the very top of the Honours Board at the Fairy Lore University For Futurity (FLUFF).

      Like you, I’m not in a position to lead this important work for three reasons: (a) non-existent leadership qualities (b) uncontrollable fear of so-called authority (c) heavy commitment in Gremlin Studies, UFO Investigations and Flat Earth Promotions.

      Or is that six reasons?

      Never mind, I have every confidence that those who read my posts – all of them intelligent, thoughtful and highly discriminating (in a good way) – will throw up (again, in a good way) a few outstanding individuals prepared to carry on this important work.

      I would like to offer my services as a consultant, however, so please put my remittance – real gold, rather than the faerie form! – in the ninth knothole of the ninth oak tree in Nine Acres Wood.

      1. Thank you for your offer. And should I take you up on it, when I am paid, of course you will be. Have you ever thought about a once per week collaboration? Perhaps with bun karyudo, should he have time, or one or two of the writers on your page? each of us, one after another, tosses in a topic, and all the others have to write about it, on their own page, then do what we just did here with the results? (I really enjoy sticking (small) pins in the absurdity of the world. As, obviously, do you. And very well indeed, I must admit.) Did you know that the FLUFF’s motto is Faeries Fore?

        1. Oh yes, always happy to take part in any collective activity – going it alone being one of humanity’s problems, I reckon. I know you’ve taken part in such things before and I’m happy to follow suit, but I wasn’t joking about my abysmal leadership skills … and my technical grasp of internet protocols is even worse. I’m with Groucho Marx who said he would refuse to join any group that would accept him as a member. I do like the idea of a weekly stimulus as I’m quite lazy when it comes to posting regularly. There again, my inner anarchist hates the idea of marching to a machine beat. All told, I’m a bundle of contradictions. Might I suggest, therefore, that the first topic be Myself … or Yourself … or even, The Self?

  5. What would be a day when you could send out a second blog? – I know you publish on Fridays, so your, (and the -hopefully-others’) choice. (Since my wheels are usually turning while I do other things, I sort of blog randomly when I have an idea I think fits, and then make notes till I have the time to write it, so I could work around most days if we set one.) And perhaps we should set a time window, so we don’t read each other first. As to anything else formal- as long as we list the others in the piece so readers can find and comment on them, there should be no need to link, which I would prefer. As to rules- only two for me- one, they have to have a sense of humour. And two, tolerance in all things, yes, but the limit is mentally ill spam attackers. So far I have seen none on your page, but I have been chased, so… ps please forgive that I e-mailed you your own blog. I’m also not the most technical. PPS the topic as stands…myself, yourself, the self sounds good to me.

    1. Do you know what, hope you don’t mind but I’ve had second thoughts about this idea of regular posting in tandem with others. Thinking about it, I like the idea of complete freedom – no deadlines, no particular topics, just Do Your Own Thing, Man! Must be the old hippie in me or else that inner anarchist I was telling you about, the one who hates marching to a machine beat! What I need to do is stir my internal motivation rather than respond to prompts from outside, which I think might distract me from working out what I want to say. I only have a certain amount of time to devote to blogging and don’t want to spread myself too thin. Sorry to duck out, my friend, but complete freedom floats my boat at present. Look forward to reading your excellent posts as always. Best wishes!

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