GOTH ROBIN – a Special Guest Post for Halloween

27th October 2014
Ladies and gentlemen, following the success of his guest post on Halloween last year, I am delighted to welcome back A. Robin, Esq. who has kindly agreed to share with us another gripping memoir based on his experiences in the wild.

Warning: entitled 'Goth Robin,' and in keeping with the Halloween theme, this is a story of high drama and fright, as you will shortly discover. Over to you, Robin ...
a robin, singing
A.Robin, Esq (official portrait).
It was a dark and stormy night ... all right I know that’s not particularly original. But robins and other birds have to sleep outside, perched on branches and things, and so it’s always a dark and stormy night as far as we’re concerned. And you do feel a bit exposed at this time of the year, I must say, what with all them gales whistling up the south-west approaches when you least expect it.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, it was the Season of the Gothic documentaries on the BBC. I watch them on the author chap's tele' sometimes. They're all about the arts and history and things, which is all very nice, I'm sure. But it got me thinking. You see, almost all of the programs tend to have noisy crows and ravens squawking away in the background. Every time a scene changes, and you see a big gloomy building or a graveyard or some old painting, you can hardly hear what the presenter is talking about because of all that awful cawing going on (disgusting, horrible sound, if you ask me). Nice work for some birds, if you can get it, but not everyone's taste.

Anyway, I was so incensed, I phoned the BBC. I said, ‘Why don’t you do something different and have a nice melodious robin doing the atmospheric voice-overs instead.’

‘No, no,' the lady said. 'It wouldn’t be appropriate.'

‘Really?' I said, surprised.

‘No, you can’t just go mixing things up,' she went on, all superior-like. 'Everyone knows that robins belong in Pre-Raphaelite paintings, and crows belong in Gothic documentaries. Robins don't fit in. They just aren’t scary enough.’

Well, I wasn’t going to have any of that old nonsense. I decided that I needed to cultivate a bit more menace and darkness to my image, and maybe become a bit more frightening. In short, I needed to become a bit of a Goth Robin. So my sweetheart Lettice and me, we got to work with some makeup and bits and pieces, and here’s the result. Don’t look if you’re of a nervous disposition. It’s a picture of me, honestly, after I got myself a bit Gothed-up, so to speak.
small bird made up in Goth style fashions, a Goth Robin in black
Goth Robin.
Yes, it’s quite scary isn’t it. Imagine being a worm and meeting that on a dark and stormy night. Phew!

Anyway, all seemed to be going well and I was having quite a lot of fun going round frightening all the other birds in the neighbourhood when suddenly one evening I got lost. I had strayed too far afield and found myself in a bleak and sinister wood. Some of the trees were quite unfamiliar and prickly, and there were bats and great big birds that I’d never even seen before.

Cor! I don’t mind telling you the old knees were beginning to knock a bit. It felt really dangerous. It was getting dark, it was getting cold; and it was well past my bed-time. Then, out of the gloom it appeared, the apparition!
squiggly line, pointing downwards
close up of large bird, fierce eagle variety
Yikes! - I wasn't expecting that!
I could hardly believe it. It was the legendary, ghostly eagle of the north, the Highland Ruskin – a dreadful creature of darkest myth, wicked and cruel, they say. This one was about twelve foot tall, and almost as wide, and had a beak on him that could swallow a small garden bird like me whole. And there I was, looking up staring into his eyes – great big, blood-shot eyes. Oh horrible it was ... horrible!

‘What are you doing here?’ it demanded, and in a voice that would freeze you to the spot, so cold and icy was it.

‘I’m sorry,’ I said, twittering in a rather high-pitched voice. ‘I was just out for the evening, having a go at being a bit ... well, Gothic.’

‘Gothic! GOTHIC!’ he cried, and the ground seemed to quake for a mile around. ‘Do you not realise, foolish creature, that Gothic is naught to be trifled with? It is a strictly academic term applied to certain forms of architecture, literature and graphic symbolism, generally featuring, but not limited to, the application of precise proportions, styles and genres of aesthetic harmony? Did you not know that?’

‘Er ... no, not really,’ I replied nervously.

(Blimey, I thought to myself, he’s a rum one. I if get out of here in one piece tonight I’ll be doing well. I was shaking so much, the branch on which I was perched nearly fell off. And so did I!)

What followed I really find difficult to recall, and very painful even trying to describe to you. It was a torment worthy of Marquis de Sade himself, presented in the form of long, endless drawn-out lectures on the traditions of Medieval Gothic and Gothic-Revivalist architecture. Pediments, architraves and flying butresses - doorways, windows and towers - It went on and on (it seemed like forever). I couldn't understand any of it. And I had to pay attention because he said .... he said there would be questions later. Questions!
Hours went by like this ...
collection of diagrams showing intricacies of Gothic architecture
Pay attention!
My head was spinning. And then ... I woke up, and it was daybreak, and the apparition and all his diagrams and charts were gone. Phew! What a lucky escape. I flew back to Lettice at once, and thereafter I became quite content with popular culture - and was able to watch the BBC Gothic season - crows an’all. It’s nice and easy; nice and safe, and not too demanding in the 'brains' department - which suits all of us around here just fine, I reckon.

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