Piscine in the wind?

Tonight’s issue of the Express & Star has proven quite enlightening. Not only have my favourite hacks awarded coveted (well, it must be treasured somewhere, care in the community is a massive enterprise) ‘Letter of the day’ to a person clearly talking sense and in full possession of their faculties, but they’ve also proven that they’re still well behind the wave on local events up here in the northern wastes. As far as the Wood’s monolithic, monopodally metallic angler goes, the plot appears to thicken.

Hey, Hannah - are you sure you meant 'tail'? - from the Express & Star, Thursday, 12th February 2010

What’s so magic about this little piece is that Hannah – or at least, whoever dispatched the unfortunate hack up here, apparently without neither sherpa nor gun – not only took their lead from the Brownhills Blog, but also had the wit to dredge the comments on Tuesday’s original piece in order to expand on the story. Not only that, but they’ve even managed to get a little snipe in. Apparently, those of us misguided enough to think that large, metallic fish don’t magically drop at 45 degree angles onto canal towpaths are ‘Cynical’. Too right we are. Shall we take a close look at why that may be so?

That’s a large, heavy lump of metal. If it had come loose, it would have dropped straight down into the water, or possibly onto the unfortunate head of a passing bargee. Are we really to believe that the constructor of this artwork used such shoddy materials that the linkage didn’t last four days in calm conditions? Would they really risk the safety of boaters passing underneath? I don’t think so, the artist and all concerned are clearly professionals.

The fish is apparently made of copper. If it had landed in the canal it would now be covered in oxide. It’s still quite bright, and only shows the marks caused by fingerprints and handling. Intriguingly the fish appears to be anchored at the angler’s fishing reel by a shackle, just as it is on the fishes’s nose. If you look at the picture I took, you’ll see that the linkage between the two – running through the rod’s eyelets, is curled into a loop. The end of the linkage, where the fish should be – is straight and clean ended. Those of a mechanical bent will find this observation illuminating. The hawser was obviously cut, or snapped, but someone must have been ready to grab the coppery catch to prevent it taking an early bath.

The Angler’s dangler: note the loop of wire midway along the rod, the clean end where the fish was.

Of course, the other possibility is that Mr. Perry has designed a structure that breaks the laws of gravity, geometry and probability, as well as those less understood ones that govern the terminal fishing fashion faux pas. If the artist can indeed break the laws of physics, I suggest he gives up the art and contacts NASA. Like, now.

I have nothing else to add, except that I’m wondering if I’m alone in perceiving that Walsall Wood’s very own J.R. Hartley seems to have a slight hunch. Perhaps he’s from Willenhall. Perhaps his hunch is a bit like mine, in that we’re not getting quite the full story.

It’s nice to see once again, that what the local blogs spot, the local inky recycles a couple of days later. Cheers guys, it’s nice to know we’ve still got readers up there in the ivory tower.

By the way, Barbara, I  just dig that scarf.

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14 Comments

  • Beth

    Oh come on, you love the fact that the local rag has picked up on something you have written. They must have countless sources for stories and the fact that you are one of them clearly impresses you.

    Local people are the source of a lot of the stories in newspapers, and the Express and Star have quoted Ian Shires for his blog too. I can only think you haven’t got a mention because you are anonymous, and there’s no point quoting a source when you don’t know who they are.

    It is good that they pick on things you write, and it says something good about the blog, but please cut this “big bad newspaper versus poor little blogger” attitude, it’s more than a little annoying.

     
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  • Pedro

    Hi Bob,

    GREAT BLOG!

    I suppose your Mr. Perry has used a bit of poetic licence here, and Barbara holds a large Carp in true specimen hunter fashion!

    Well, I suppose a true Black Country Gudgeon would have looked a little out of place.

    If you ever get Carp like that in the Canal let me know and I will get my rods out again.

    Best wishes, Pedro

     
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  • A friend of mine who went to the same cynicism school suggests there may be a shelf stacked with replacement fishes…. Not sure if he was joking.

     
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  • Brenda

    Hi Bob
    We travelled in our boat along the Wyrley & Essington Canal last week but didn’t see the Angler, with or without his fish! Has he gone or did we miss him? Can you tell me please. The only reason we would have missed him is if he is positioned between Catshill junction & Ogley junction. I’m puzzled.

     
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  • I’ll answer this one: The angler is very much still there, and is located on the Daw End branch, near Walsall Wood High St Bridge on the stretch between Aldridge Marina and Catshill Junction.

    The fish is starting to tarnish now, and the graffiti has been painted out on the Angler.

    How did your canal trip go?

     
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  • Brenda

    How did we miss it!! We travelled the full length of the Daw End Canal from Longwood to Catshill. We are observant people … I just don’t understand! The trip went particularly well. The state of navigation on the Wyley & Essington Canal has improved immensely since British Waterways did a series of spot dredging over the past two years. The Daw End branch has never been a great problem … it’s just shallow in some places & very deep in others!
    As fo the angler …. well we’ll just have to look more carefully next time.

     
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  • Brenda

    When travelling towards Cats Hill Junction the Walsall Wood Bridge is awkward to navigate so the steerer of the boat spends more of his/her attention negotiating the bridge & then misses the Angler!! However last week we travelled in the opposite direction we were able to see the said Angler with no trouble! I don’t understand the controversy regarding his hat ….. as we continued our journey towards Rushall we encountered many real life fishermen, several of whom were wearing similar hats!!
    Long may the artwork survive!!

     
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  • simon burgess

    Thats my mother in law lol!

     
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  1. I don’t mean to carp, but… « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  March 16, 2010

    […] With a touch of sadness, but no surprise, I noticed on Friday that Rodney, the Walsall Wood fisherman, is still without his fish, oddly christened ‘Bob’. He’s also been the victim of rather more destructive vandals, who’ve tagged him with spray paint. You may well recall that soon after  his unveiling by Walsall Council in the customary binge of publicity, Rodney was mysteriously separated from the copper fish that so tantalisingly dangled from the end of his pole. Fortunately, despite some speculation to the contrary, Bob was found by a community-spirited passerby who alerted the authorities. […]

     
  2. What’s my line? « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  March 31, 2010

    […] method of attachment clearly defeats the previous technique employed to catch the coppery carp, but it seems a little bodged to me. Whilst the shackle at the fishes’ nose is wired closed, […]

     
  3. It’s been a funny old year « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  May 12, 2010

    […] to find the owner of a classic american car. We observed that councils never really change, that large copper carp don’t fall in straight lines and that cycling coppers ain’t what they used to be. I personally have learned that illegal […]

     
  4. BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  January 15, 2011

    […] the risk of irritating the anglers again, it seems like Bob, the copper carp dangling from the Walsall Wood angler’s pole has gone […]

     
  5. Blessed are the mischievous « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  January 19, 2012

    […] doubt the Express & Star will be in on the case. To help out whichever poor hack gets sent out, Walsall Wood is between Walsall and Lichfield on […]

     
  6. Fishing the depths « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  January 21, 2012

    […] Had she done so, she’d have discovered that the fish did indeed go missing twice – once it dropped, or was ‘helped’ off due to the lousy construction method involved, to be found by a public spirited local and returned. The second time, way back in January 2011, it […]

     

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