A List for 2010 – Obake

AliA List for 2010, Mr. Fox, Recommendations

I’ve only just discovered a gem of an exhibition, Japanese Ghosts and Demons, which fills but one small room of Oxford’s giant Ashmolean museum.  Nevertheless, its seventeen prints contain such a fantastic mix of the grotesque, the cute and the comic that I’ve decided to squeeze the creatures they depict into my list for 2010. This is an exhibition about obake, which are a diverse group of beings from Japan unified by a single characteristic: they are all transformative, beings who have broken the laws of constancy to shift or metamorphose into something else.  The Japanese culture and language magazine, … Read More

Beautiful Hazards

AliMr. Fox

The UK is covered in snow at the moment, bringing all the usual travel chaos and outraged claims that we should by now have learned how to command the weather to our bidding.  On the morning it started I was lucky enough to not have to be anywhere in a hurry, then lucky enough to see a fox padding along the stream bank behind our flat.  He looked especially red against all that white.  After that I turned on the television to find out what the roads were like.  The first thing that appeared on the screen was the forest … Read More

Old Man Coyote and Old Man Badger

AliMr. Fox

I had one of those rare moments of quiet synchronicity the other day when I was doing the recycling.  In a pile of newspapers I noticed an old article from the New York Times, which stood out because of this amazing accompanying art by Jason Holley. The article is about the tenacity of Coyote, about how he’s breeding with wolves to make meaner, fitter pups and about – and this is the thing I wanted to share with you – how he works with Badger to feast on poor Ground Squirrel and his family.  In a nutshell, Coyote’s not so … Read More

Flying Foxes

AliBestiaries, Mr. Fox

Bad news today for the large flying fox, which has just been given an extinction warning.  Apparently it could be flapping its way to the land of Dodos and Tasmanian Wolves in as little as six years.  I think it’s easy for people in places like the UK to overlook the human and economic factors involved in the hunting of such animals, but it’s always depressing to think the world might be parting ways with a species as dramatic as this. The heads of these things look more like those of wolves or bears than the bats we get in … Read More


AliDrawings for Fairy Stories, Mr. Fox

Check this out… sound familiar? Once upon a time there was a mummy bear, a daddy bear and a baby bear, right?  Not really.  Once upon a time there was a fox… I’ve never really been a fan of Goldilocks.  It always seemed as sickly as Mummy Bear’s porridge.  Goldilocks herself was the problem.  She was too much the spoiled Victorian brat.  Even as a morality tale it seemed a bit flat – Goldilocks escaped unscathed at the end of her trip to the bears’ cottage.  There were vague threats about not stealing and tresspassing, but they weren’t backed up at the end … Read More