Greetings from Scotland! I'm still here, thanks to the wrath of Hurricane Irene (and quite possibly the ineptitude of United Airlines). It's been nice to have an extra week to dig a little deeper into Scottish culture (like the haggis burger I enjoyed at an Edinburgh Fringe Festival gig). Mike Press, who was the chair of the conference I spoke at, is an investor in a pretty extrordinary beer brewery here in Scotland called BREWDOG.
Brewdog don't fuck around. They are one of the participants in the global arms race to brew the world's strongest beer (read: highest alcohol content). Brewdog's End of History beer, which was released last year, clocked in at 55% alcohol. If that wasn't enough to put some hair on your chest, they released a limited edition flask stuffed inside of a taxidermied squirrel.
All of this is a roundabout way of introducing another squirrelly confection from the UK that showed up on BoingBoing this morning. The video (posted at the top) is a profile from the late 1960s of rogue British taxidermist Walter Potter, who spent his life as a professional taxidermist who specialized in stuffing cherished pets. On the side, though, Potter took armies of cute, dead tiny animals (including a horde of fluffy kittens) and created intricate dioramas, including toads playing leapfrog and a bunch of rat police raiding an animal gambling den (which can be glimpsed in the video).
Sadly, the collection was auctioned off piecemeal in 2003. Fortunately for us, the video lives on thanks to YouTube, and the work is occasionally displayed in exhibitions, including one last year at London's Museum of Everything. Would it surprise you that Damien Hirst is a big fan? I didn't think so.
One can only wonder if Walter Potter was as voracious a hunter of kittens and bunnies as John James Audbon was of birds.
If you'd like to relive an Extreme Craft classic about Albino Squirrel Heaven in Madison, Wisconsin, click HERE