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The Sniffer - Issue No. Twenty

The Sniffer - Issue No. Twenty

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Published by The Sniffer
The final issue of The Sniffer, the biweekly newsletter that accompanies The Ballad of Cocky the Fox.
The final issue of The Sniffer, the biweekly newsletter that accompanies The Ballad of Cocky the Fox.

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Published by: The Sniffer on Mar 08, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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And so you’re now reading the very late andvery last
. I was having a chinwagwith an unburdened and relaxed Parker yesterday about the Cockular opus – past,present and future. I compared him, and hisrelease of the final Fit, to an elite athletefinishing the London Marathon. The worldwatches as the runner crosses the line. Thereare flowers and photographs. There aretelevision cameras and celebrants. There aremedals. And rightly so. What a long andbrilliantly run race.Meanwhile I compared myself, and my failure yet to release the final
, to thenutter who “ran” the London Marathon afew years ago in a vintage diving suit,complete with lead boots. Long after theroads were reopened and the crowds hadgone home on the day of the race, he wasstill trudging through Greenwich at glacialspeed with a giant globe on his head. It took him two weeks to finish the marathon. Andwhen he crossed the line, on a busy andotherwise unremarkable Monday afternoonin The Mall, there were a handful of dedicated supporters present to congratulatehim. But mostly his ridiculous undertakingwent unnoticed. He was happy with that,though. He was all about the ridiculousness.Finishing meant just one thing: He couldstart planning his next act of nuttery.I am that nutter. While I humbly owe muchgratitude to the small cadre of readers whodive on
The Sniffer 
as soon as word of itappears every two weeks, it has been theridiculousness of the undertaking that haskept my pecker up. Babbling, being coarse,making up words, casting aspersions – theseare things I have enjoyed for the sake of themselves. And they are things I hope toenjoy again. Wearing this silly old divingsuit has been a right laugh, if a burdensomeone at times. Now I need somebody to helpme out of it and into another impracticalcostume. Then I can complete the nextendurance race at an impossibly slow speedwhile nobody watches.And so now you’re reading the penultimateparagraph of snouty mucus. I want to usethis paragraph to do two things. Firstly, I’dlike to acknowledge the importance of various people who have lurked in, behind,above and on the fringes of 
The Sniffer 
There are the two benevolently albinoravens, Matthew Battles and Joshua Glenn.They pull important levers and presssignificant buttons. There is Kristin Parker,whose personality-packed illustrations havegiven flight to many of my flightless tropes.There is Mrs. Sniffer. She embraces me andmy tastelessness with devoted vigour. And, of course, there is James Parker. Without him,his Cocky, his brilliance and his fraternalencouragement, I wouldn’t be here. Thesecond thing I’d like to do in this paragraphis to introduce the next paragraph, in whichI’ll be saying “Goodbye”.Goodbye.
Each installment of 
His Master’s Choice 
 considers a single album that has graced thegramophone of Cocky’s creator and master,James Parker. On this occasion, we ridiculeStatus Quo and then try our hardest to listento their fourth album,
Dog Of Two Head 
.“Status bleedin’ Quo? Parker’s gone mental.I’m glad this is the final
.” That’swhat I thought to myself when I saw TheQuo at number ten in the Parkerian hitparade. Status Quo aren’t so much a band asa Lovecraftian horror-concept. Meremention of the name is enough to conjure upindescribably terrifying visions: Leather waistcoats… Ponytails… Ball-huggingjeans… White hi-tops… Synchronizedswaying… Cheap lager… And then soundsflood in to accompany the visions. A singlepub-rock song played many times over, eachinstance a barely perceptible variation on itspredecessor. I lose consciousness…When I come to, I realize that I haven’t evenlistened to the album in question yet. Andthe prospect of doing so brings elastictension to my sphincter and beady sweat tomy upper lip. I’m almost tempted to jack itin right here. Sod Status Quo. Why do Ihave to listen to any more of their boringbuilders’ piss-up music? But then Iremember something somebody once told me:“You should check out early Status Quo.They weren’t too bad when they started out.”So I’ll take my chances and give
Dog Of Two Head 
a spin.
[The Editor launches iTunes and begins playing the recently downloaded album. He skips through all 14 tracks, giving each track less time than the previous one. He reaches the end of the album and sits at his desk shaking his head. He then returns to Word and types this italicized pseudo-present paragraph, before returning to the main body of the review.] 
 My conclusion: The Status Quo pub-rock song was born a lot earlier than I thought.
Dog Of Two Head 
sounds like the pre-teenincarnation of it. There is interstitialnoodling. There are 1971 production values.But, above all, it’s that same song.I remember an “And Finally…” news story inthe late 80s about a rabid Status Quo fan. Heowned every single, every album, every t-shirt, every denim jacket patch, every key fob, every everything. Not knowing what todo with his still-unsated lust for rubbishblues-based music played by white vandrivers, he decided to change his name to
Status Quo. Somehow, the interviewer kept astraight face. Even while addressing him asStatus. After today’s listening experience, inwhich I learned that Status Quo have alwaysbeen and will always be exactly the sameexecrable flavor of excrement, I am alsogoing to change my name. Not to “StatusQuo” but to “Status Cur?”
Each edition of 
The Sniffer 
features anextract from 
The Cocky Companion 
, aRosetta Stone for decoding the less obviouselements of Cocky's London vernacular. Thisextract culminates in a consideration of Michael Gambon.
I’m not sure who first decided toexpress his disbelief in a proposition by verbally introducing his backside to theproposer. But whoever it was should beridiculed for what must have been a lost-for-words last resort. “West Ham to winthe FA Cup? West Ham? West Ham…[speaker plumbs shallow depths of intellect for appropriate Wildeanwitticism; comes up empty-handed]…West Ham my arse!!” This isn’t to say that“my arse” can never feature in theweaponry of a conversational jouster. Butit should do more than just sit there. For example, if you have a cigarette in your mouth but nothing to light it with, youmight ask this of a fellow carcinogenophile: “Excuse me, mate.Have you got a match?” If he is anannoying prick, he might respond: “Yes.Your face, my arse.”
If you are strolling along one of London’s picturesque waterways, you may find yourself yearning for an empty Cokecan, an old piece of newspaper, a plasticbag or a used condom. Rather than wastetime scouring the surface of the canal for your desired object as you walk, just waituntil you reach the next lock. You may have been told that locks are designed toallow barges to pass between two canalsections of different elevation. This is,however, an urban myth. The truepurpose of a lock is to gather and hold inplace all the floating shit that Londonersthrow into canals. This is so thatconnoisseurs can browse through it easily and find what they’re looking for.
You know that bloke in theGucci suit with the big gold chain aroundhis neck and the sovereign rings on every 

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