This is the Message Centre for Trout Montague

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 1


By way of thanks for kind words in various places, I thought I'd come b*gger up your PS, yeah?

The Raft - you seem interested, so...

I didn't think of offering it for publication. To be honest, I wouldn't know how to offer a piece of that kind for publication. At that length, it's more like a sample for the portfolio - which is what this whole site-full is, really. The part of me that wants fame and fortune still hopes that someone will find all this and 'discover' me.

But that's not the main incentive any more. I think I'm both improving and learning, and I like offering stuff to friends. I've grown in confidence, too. I used to have a stupid idea that there was a finite number of good pieces in me, and that wasting them was diminishing my eventual "success". Now I'm dead sure that the more I work at it, the better and more productive I get. If there is an eventual success, stuff I work at now will add to it. And in the meantime, it's both fun and fulfilling.

'Gorgon' was written as a deliberate "What the Edited Guide Should Be" piece. I've got an Entry on the Batavia Mutiny pending, and a few people have told me it's good and ground-breaking. Except it isn't. The early drafts, covering scraps of the story, were Raft-like, told as story, mixing fact and imagination. It could have been something very special, but I reined it in and set it just within the bounds of the EG rules as I read them.

'Gorgon' was started the day that Batavia was sent for sub-editing, with an intention of setting it alongside for comparison. This time, every rule would be broken. Though contrived, and written without any research whatever (only recollections), I feel proud of it not so much as a piece of writing as a beacon of what the Edited Guide should be.

The offering to the Towers was on one level futile, and on another instructive. I wouldn't be so arrogant as to proclaim myself among the best here, but I know now that the main limitation to hootoo is the imagination of its administrators.

Don't treat Gorgon as fact, for Heaven's sake. I made it up. The Weddell has subsequently proved that the TV drama-doc I partly drew on was actually about Delacroix! I'm pleased you like the outcome (and so do I), but I wouldn't recommend making it a personal benchmark either. We're all different.

To be truthful, I don't tend to remember who wrote what, only what impresses me. When I clicked on your link and found Hirsute Footballers, I found a piece I'd read and enjoyed already. The surprise was the identity of the author.

You can write, DrT, as I'm sure you know already. Don't rate yourself against others; just try learn from them. I'd recommend trying to write homage-pieces to your found-favourites, in something of their style mixed with your own. My experience is that that approach can really move you forward. (Quite a lot of my stuff here consists of homage-pieces - maybe you can spot some)

So I'm not going to write about the Officer of the Hussars, because Gericault wasn't in the end my obsession. Rather he was a convenient symbol - my idea of the artist against the establishment, reckless and haunted by a dark side. There are other parallels too, perhaps only imagined, but I annexed Gericault and turned him into autobiography.

I suspect your interest in him is deeper and more honest. Why don't you try do the Officer as a companion-piece? Or maybe Delacroix's 'Liberty Leading the People'? The latter would be an easier Pinniped-homage, because it's more receptive to apocalypse-rhetoric, which is Pin's strong suit, in the end.

OK? Once again, thanks for the compliments, about this and other stuff. (You picked out the AGM too, which gave me a lift on a dull day). But I think you probably found the True Sage first in AB. Dad is real, I only do impressions. I'm still learning from him, and one day I hope to think like him, rather than merely sounding like him.

Pinnipedsmiley - smiley

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 2

Trout Montague

I've a lot to say, but no time right now.

No, I don't have an honest interest in Gericault; I wish I were more erudite, but I am not.

I agree you should use h2g2 to hone your talents. You have everything. An ability to write and imagination. And time it seems. And a supportive family. Why not do a book? Write a plot synopsis and a sample chapter and sent it in.

I lack imagination ... my third head must be switched off. I think that's why I admire your work so ... because you have mastered the ability to imagine.

See this ... A1075501 ... I tried to imagine a story. Just ended up with factual account and trite and cliche'ed start and end. Still. If I can just try harder.


Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 3


Trite, Trout?

Don't think so. That piece is very good, and I hope you know it.
It maybe has a where-to-fit problem, that's all.
You think we differ? What makes you say that? Is this implied imagination-deficit a self-confidence thing? Only you don't sound like someone short on self-confidence. Maybe it's about clarity of motivation, dunno.

Hey, I'm short on time too. The supportive family will lynch me unless I do something useful, such as toast. Let's talk more later, yeah? That is if it helps.

My biggest block (and I don't have many, glad to say) is guilt. Guilt at the time stolen to talk to a wall. Or, if I'm honest, to talk to myself, only the occasionally-mildly-resentful Weddell doesn't fathom that part.

Hey, I'm rambling. Yes, Dear! Coffee's coming!
Pinsmiley - run

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 4


Supportive, eh? They've got the toast, so what's the problem with going back on line? No dearest, I am not having internet sex with anyone. Not at this time of the morning, really...

Yeah, OK, you got me hooked. The Fitzroy thing. I'm going to skip over your suggestion that it's weak, because I don't really believe that's what you think. You know it's good, you just don't know what it's for, right? I've got that T-shirt.

If the Guide Was What It Should Be, this would be an EG-piece. It would be part of a cluster of pieces cross-linked to Darwin/Evoultion as the obvious centre. Not that Darwin should be the centre, mind - he just IS in EG-mindset. Darwin's what the typical audience would gravitate to, but they deserve to have their minds opened by some of the jagged tangents.

The piece meets every criterion of the EG. At the most basic level, it's actually a good mini-biography of an overlooked historical figure (no, OK, I Googled. I knew nothing of this story till then. But it's a life worth telling about, yeah?)

But it's a lot more than a mini-biography. It's poignant and moving, and its a very fine piece of taut, succint descriptive prose. It creates a vivid scene. That in itself is a lot in just a few paragraphs.

Best of all, it's philosophically profound. There's a big theme here, about the legacy of science and about discovery as an act of severance. What happens to the old thread, to the adherents of the old theory? Change is tragic. The struggle is not only that of the eventual victor.

This is telling history from the blind side, and it's seldom done so well. With your permission, I'd like to submit the Entry to Peer Review for the EG.

What do you say?

Pinsmiley - smiley

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 5

Trout Montague

Words of encouragement ... thanks P.

Let's think.

Right. Write.

First of all, I never wrote it for AWW or for EG or for anything h2g2. I wrote it as catharsis after "Gorgon" , which I thought (and still do) was so damned good that I couldn't think about much else for those first couple or three days. It was like toxic waste had contaminated everything I saw or read or heard, and I needed to purge that feeling from my system. So I wanted to create something that would at once both educate and entertain, as Gorgon should do for any reader not acquainted with either Gericault or the Medusa but bright enough to realise that this was a more-or-less true story (I even googled Alphonse to see if he was real too). But it had to be a serious read instead of lapsing into humour, which is the easy path simply because for me it is the natural one. So let this be my homage if you will ... that Medusa's Raft had inspired me to think and to write "creatively" in order to make fact compelling.

In fact, Old Spice and I had a minor scuffle over how I should approach it ... would it be observed from a third party, as I originally intended. No, said Old Spice, that's just copying Pinhead. Hmmmph I sulked. Then it came to me that the whole autobiography would be recorded in prayer, but you can well imagine that reeling off these facts with spatterings of "Dear Father" and "Oh Lord" didn't quite work. So introduce the narrator I did, and hey presto I was back to encyclopaedic EG style which is precisely what I was trying not to do. That is why I'm unhappy with it ... because it's not quite what I wanted to produce. Now, to me, it's an EG entry with a bit of hackneyed fiction (elderly gent dark room desk military uniform suicide. He could have topped himself dressed in his pyjamas at the breakfast table for all I know) tacked on the start and the finish.

So here then, my vanity and curiosity do battle with my fear of failure and of being shredded by my h2g2 peers. Yes, I'd like the chance to get some (positive) feedback on it and PR is certainly the best place to do it providing it doesn't get the "Have you read the Writing Guidelines?" spiel within the first five posts. If it were left to gather dust in AWW, there would perhaps be 2-3 postings in the next six months, one of which would be a single smiley, I expect. My curiosity would particularly be to see when people realise who this man (FitzRoy) is, and who is Charles. To some, I suspect it's obvious fairly early on, with the dates and the references to Tierra del Fuego. To others familiar only with Darwin's trip to the Galapagos Islands, I hope not until the last line. And that realisation is what I want to achieve.

[For record here, I knew or believed that Gorgon was about "The Raft of the Medusa" as soon as I read:

"This vast space is decked with dismembered limbs, with glistening corpses. They sprawl on pallets and on staging in contorted attitudes. The smell is unearthly. All around, linen is stretched across rough easels, and charcoal and orchre* sketch images of death."

That to me was a confirmation of the skill of the author. (The earlier references to Savigny didn't turn any wheels, though).

*Should that be ochre by the way?]

For now then I would ask that you hold. It's got one or two holes in it which need caulking ... some poor construction and such. Then again, I need to be a bit more carpe diem ...


PS I wonder if it shouldn't end with a short Factfile:

Fact File
Robert Fitzroy was born at Ampton Hall, Euston, Suffolk on July 5, 1805. He schooled at the Royal Naval College in Portsmouth before entering the Royal Navy on 19 October 1819. etc...

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 6



I'm flattered. The penny never dropped that it was Gorgon-influenced, so you shouldn't worry about it seeming derivative.

Your call on what to do next, of course. I'll watch with interest. I guess you know that I wouldn't add the factfile, but don't let that make YOUR mind up.

Thanks for spotting orchre. I'll fix it. Killer-whale associations, perhaps? I tend not to bother with spell-checks, thinking I'm infallible. That's a word I've mis-spelled and mispronounced for years, probably.

If you're interested in just how much of Gorgon is true, the answer is very little. I deliberately did it without research, only using memory. As I (fruitlessly) told someone else...

"The character of Monier is completely fabricated. As for Gericault, I know that he was well-to-do, that he became obsessed with the wreck after having met Savigny (whose name I'm only fairly sure that I remember I correctly), and that he exhibited his masterpiece in the Salon, possibly in 1819. I know also that Gericault died young after falling from a horse, and that he loved riding recklessly. I think that the wreck happened on the 2nd July (memorable since a relative's birthday) and that the voyage originated in the ports mentioned. The year? Well, maybe...
The description of Gericault's appearance comes from a dimly-remembered TV dramatisation that the Weddell is half-sure was actually about Delacroix. It just sounds right to me, though. It helps the story. From the same source comes the renting of a store-house for his work on the enormous canvas, the look of the studio, and the morbid fascination with body-parts. These may all be someone else's embellishments for all I know. I very much doubt that Gericault/Delacroix would have smeared his cheekbones with charcoal, for example. That was probably done to give him a street-look with a contemporary resonance for a television audience. But I liked it anyway, so in it went.
Setting the tale in Paris is speculation. Montmartre was an artist's quarter some fifty years after this, of course, but quite possibly not then. And a steep hillside is an unlikely place for a store-house.
The account of the wreck and the raft are pure passion, synthesised out of my recollection of the story from a reading nearly thirty years ago. The prose is the exhumed shock of an impressionable teenager"

The butterfly is the vaguest of recollections, and maybe completely wrong. Possibly even a kids' shipwreck tale or something. It's correctness is especially doubtful because in whatever tale it really comes from its significance is to signal the very close proximity of land - whereas the rafters saw a sail out at sea. It helps the story, though. Its veracity doesn't matter, not to me anyhow.

I didn't even look at the painting. Now that I have, I see that there are more than "a couple" responding to the sail, but I'm not going to change it. I described the picture I remembered, and perhaps the one of Gericault's mind's eye. Those figures in the painting don't look like they would have done after a fortnight in those conditions, but a more realistic image would have been too much for his audience. Probably too much even for today's.

Naming neither the ship nor the painting, and leaving the artist's name till the final stages were all deliberate and intended to invite and reward inquisitiveness by the reader. The slightly impenetrable title is important too.

Your piece goes further. Someone might hit on Gorgon's subject from the title, if invited to make a few guesses. No-one would pick yours. But that's a strength, I'd say, and the title is perfect for the piece.

Small wager. If it does go into Peer Review with this title, that'll be the first thing some dead-head Scout suggests changing.

Worth the fight, though. There's a wider battle to fight here, the ending of the fact-fixation of the Editors.

But, like I said, your call.

Pinsmiley - ok

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 7

Trout Montague

In for a penny in for a pound ... A694668 links to it now.

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 8

Trout Montague

PR ... F48874?thread=286378

Just as an aside, I was directed to subject matter by powers unknown. (1) The current Mars-lander effort is called Beagle II, because I suppose it is a voyage of discovery ... looking for life. (2) While contributing to the collaborative on Great Radio Shows, I read that Finisterre has been replaced by Fitzroy in the Shipping Forecast. Thus, my efforts were portended.


Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 9


Right on, Trout!
Fingers Crossed.
(This piece is so good)
Pinsmiley - ok

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 10


Dunno if I did right by you, Trout, me old...
PR proceeding on predictable lines.
Shall I weigh in there? Let me know...
Pinsmiley - erm

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 11

Trout Montague

I don't know.

So far the voting's like this:

Out 1
In 1
Baffled 1

That signifies that you've almost determined the width of the water, doesn't it? No instruction to remove it from PR has been posted, which I would have expected by now.


Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 12

Trout Montague

U197657. Is he OK? Hasn't posted for a few days.

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 13


Fear not, he and Dear Mama have just gone pestering relatives. Back tomorrow, was it now?
Rather snazzy PS he's done for himself, innit?
(Could have sworn you were a finch back there for a minute...)
smiley - huh

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 14

Trout Montague

Atticus Finch - a passing fancy: F95896?thread=287058 (you obviously lurk because I was out and in when you don't normally post)

AB's PS. Snazzy indeed. Are there awards? Hard to know what to do with PS. I use mine for navigation.

Fitzroy. Thanks for the non-too-controversial post. Is Sprout onto you?

Beckham. Do you think they'll commute - 25 quid on easy jet.


Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 15

Trout Montague

Interestingly, and by bizarre coincidence, two books on FitzRoy have just been released.

Evolution's Captain by Peter Nichols
Fitzroy by John and Mary Gribbin

A review of both in The Sunday Times (UK newspaper) states that "he got up early without waking his wife, kissed his daughter, locked himself in his dressing room, and cut his throat wit a razor".

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 16


My mind must be going.
I'm sure I posted something here.
I wonder where it went and who I confused...

I said something about sprout (who's had me well taped ever since BIVA days). I said something about Becks+Posh too ('cos that made me smiley - laugh)


What do you think about Fitzroy?
I know you said you weren't fighting the system, just finding yourself.
Or something like that.
So, how's this vehicle of self-discovery handling?
(No, I'm not getting you confused with Funderlik's Ford Escort.
That was Funderlik, wasn't it?)

Anyway (again)...

It all looks horribly familiar to me.
It was a great Entry.
I hope you've kept the original.
Apropos of Shakin' and his origins in that thread you showed me, 'Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma' might be the appropriate lyric.

You changed Fitzroy.
Still good, but no longer you.
But they still 'Pecked It Like A Chicken Would' anyway, didn't they?

They're not Peers, Trout.
They're no way your equals.
Some of them are clever people, interesting in some contexts.
Very few of them would spot art if it fell on them.
If I were you, I'd get rude.
But I'm not.
Which is maybe just as well.

Pinsmiley - erm

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 17

Trout Montague

Fitzroy, yeah, never mind. The other one's cut and paste somewhere. Might stick it up for the UG when/if that gets going.

There's not much point fighting this system, however much you don't like it. Give a little, take a little. Take it easy.

I said I wasn't out to try to change the system ... actually I'd previously tried (as a result of Velvet Gauntlet) to demonstrate that Askh2g2 should be directly invited to get involved in the weekly Collaboratives ... an innocent and well-intentioned (if clumsily driven)effort. All I got in return was a barrage of brown-nosery in the style of "if the italics had wanted to post here then they'd have already done so".


It's trifling, but it shows a brickwall mentality opposed to anything that doesn't come top down.

So be it. I'm happy in my h2g2 rut. I learn bits and bobs about stuff I'd never thought to read about before. And every now and again, there's a Batavia or a Gorgon or a Bog Roll. If I'm part of any of those efforts, which I think have "a bit extra", then it's most certainly worthwhile.


Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 18

Ancient Brit

Sorry to jump in but its funny that I should say 'Post to your journal for relative quiet. Post to a lively conversation to create havoc'
You were subject to a Gang Rape Doc but I reckon you came out on top.
Without moderation too. Congrats.
There are them as knows and there them as think they know. smiley - ok
I think you should start using a few smileys by the way. smiley - smiley

Whatever happens I shall continue to call you Doc until you tell me to refrain.
Always remember - Don't let the b******s grind you down.

I thought of posting 'River of Blood' but enough's enough. smiley - smiley
Ancient Brit

PS. I shall put F19585?thread=280737 in my 'Lest we Forget' box on my Personal Space.

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 19

Trout Montague

Ho ho. But the link in your pull-down box ain't working ... you've got some editing to do.

Doc Trout

Wot Ho, Trout!

Post 20

Ancient Brit

You're so right Doc. I'm not sure why.
Wonder if Pinniped knows.
If I can't crack it myself I shall go to SEF she's a bit of a wiz. smiley - ok

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