Sunday 1 May 2016

On 'Being a Beast'

Gail, I see you have a new book, 'Being a Beast' by Charles Foster. The title sounds interesting. Do tell me what it's all about.

Well Bertie, where to begin? The author, who is an Oxford academic and also a qualified vet, decided he would attempt to experience life as a variety of wild animals and then write about it. So he spent several months living as a badger in a makeshift set. He also had a shot a being an urban fox, an otter, a red deer and, perhaps least successfully, a swift.

Hmmm. Most intriguing. How did the badger thing go?

So the badger chapter opens with the arresting statement: "When you put a worm in your mouth, it senses the heat as something sinister". Later on he deploys the wine tasters' concept of 'terroir' to describe the way the taste of a worm varies according to the soil type in which it lives. 

Gosh, isn't that a tiny bit pretentious? As well as unpleasant. Did he fare any better as an urban fox?

Not really. It seems the policeman who found him sleeping rough under a rhododendron bush on private land was not too impressed with his "I'm trying to be a fox" line and told him to "bugger off home, SIR, and get a life".

Oh dear, it all sounds a most unpromising enterprise. Perhaps it would have been easier if the author had chosen to replicate a dog's life?

Well Bertie, I suspect that a daily routine of being taken for nice walks, having all one's food provided in a clean and convenient bowl on the kitchen floor, and spending evenings being given belly rubs on the sofa, would not offer the sort of 'nature red in tooth and claw' experience Mr Foster had in mind for the book.

You have a point Gail. And anyway, who needs to read about humans pretending to be dogs when so many of my own species have already mastered the art of social media….?

P.S. For those readers interested in the progress of my 'Ambassadog' application - there will be an update on Tuesday this week. Watch this space!


  1. I wouldn't choose to be anything but da spoiled dog I is.

  2. Hari OM
    BOL... oh Bertie, methinks it is YOU who ought to be authoring a publication! Pawhaps the "Downs and Ups of an Ambassadog Pup"...??? (jus' projectin' here...) Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  3. Oh my ... what does the fox say huh? But maybe that is still a secret, right? But the idea is not bad... I will write a cat book now while living like a berd... that means I can eat worms too, ha! Bertie I hope you have great news on tuesday and I wish you so much that you become the Ambassadog...

  4. Mom is always saying she wants to come back as the spoiled lap dog of some rich person :) Have you ever pondered on that old saying 'working like a dog' - considering most dogs seem to sleep 20 hours a day - Mom says that would be nice work indeed :)

  5. Can't wait to hear how your AMBASSADOG thingys is coming along.

    A PEEP pawtended to be a BADGER???? He would NEVER fool US DACHSHUNDS.

  6. Bertie for sure there is no way Doc Foster could ever no never duplicate or come close to the life lead by a beloved pet such as you and all our friends!!
    Looking forward to an update on your employment opportunities
    Hugs madi your bfff

  7. Bertie - Don't know why the policeman was surprised. Sleeping rough under a rhododendron bush is quite common in Scotland - particularly around Glasgow.

  8. WOW. Some humans have too much time on their paws!

  9. Oh my gosh this does sound very crazy! No wonder the policed sent him on his way