Caught by the River

Tomb Of The Unknown Angler

Dexter Petley | 9th October 2007


your photos always peel like churchbells from a far-off shire, pasties and mackeson, “the last of england”. your market town tackle-shops are worth their weight in practical nostalgia. france, for all its backwardness, has managed to lose its high street tackleshops. post-war shame, uprooting all signs of working class culture from the grande rue. stick in a coiffeuse and a flower shop. they call that modernity and think it’s chic. most french anglers buy generic tackle from supermarkets. this is the gross devaluation of a culture doomed to welcome the coming of the jacques-the- knife asbos. the french are losing home-pride, throwing it away. they eat shit now, the kids are running on pre-crack E-numbers and porsche envy and are hungry for power; this is france on the tilt: from right to wrong in one sarkozy leap. in 10 yrs time i’ll be beaten up by a girl gang outside the boulangerie. count on it. france is going to the chiens. i hate to sound like the mock invader but i have to say you can’t buy much of any quality in france now and no one seems to care as egality & fraternity gives way to greed. angling follows suit: the old brands have lost out to the hypermarket, cheap and chancy, breaks first go. ill-equipped anglers with bubble-pack pre-loaded reels and telescopic rods i wouldn’t even use for runner beans, actions like an oscilator wave. the tackle shops you do find in the major cities and medium towns are chains, franchised clones without character or tradition, or windowless warehouses on industrial estates selling bankrupt stock and job lots by ex brassiere salesman who’ve only ever tied a knot in a shoelace and a kipper tie. your “the creel” is a cutty sark, a stonehenge, the tomb of the unknown angler. every june 16 the frank barlow pie&mash legion should lay wreaths at its door, lest we forget.
here it’s mushrooms and hunters and bellowing bulls, 3 blanks last week, driving home in scotch mist thicker than a plank of rain. saturday was mushrooming under fire, scrambling up a mossy hillock as the gun dogs sniffed me out, bells clanking round their necks. i stank like a wild pig after a week of old dirt and it put them in a yelp as i filled my basket with pieds de moutons (hedgehog mushrooms). just made the vehicule as the shots cracked through the bracken. it was worth it, they’re in the freezer:

monday, back to penelope pit, no ideas. just look for the mushroom in the swim and fish there(it’s under the right hand buzzer):

both runs came to the mushroom rod. first one dumped the hook, second tore strips off me this side of midnight, a catamaran with auxilliary boosters, a hunting carp:

beetroot soup tonight as rain thrashes the leaves off trees.
service revolver on the birdtable