A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times


Did you know that children's favourite Pingu the Penguin 
was originally named Mingus?

Mingus the Penguin wore sunglasses and a pork pie hat, and inhabited a pretty "cool pad" at the north pole, where he was seen to have "hung out" with a picaresque collection of beatniks, misfits and somewhat loose women.

Unfortunately the name Mingus was quickly dropped when the family of Jazz Trombonist Charley Mingus opposed the use of the brand. In their objections, they cited Mingus the Penguin's substance abuse, bohemian lifestyle and indifference towards social propriety.

"Let's face it," commented a spokesman "the portrayal was a clichéd interpretation of the jazz scene, and a frankly disturbing misrepresentation of the natural world, presenting both environments as feckless, hedonistic and degenerate!"

After ranting for some time, the spokesman concluded:

"actually, this isn't really anything to do with Charley's legacy. Let's face it, he's dead, and probably couldn't care less what this animal gets up to, but we feel that it's important to let the world know that penguins are a hard-working social species with little use for extravagant and hedonistic individualism. This show is nothing more than anthromophism gone mad!"

Anyway, the dispute continued for some years until the project was quietly dropped, only to be rediscovered by younger, trendier, up-and-coming TV execs inspired by the opportunity to broadcast low cost programming with little need for being creative themselves.

These days, the program is set in Antarctica and centres around penguin families who live and work in igloos. The main character, Pingu, belongs to one such family. He is frequently seen going on adventures with his little sister, Pinga, and often gets himself into mischief with his best friend, Robby the Seal.

One reason for Pingu's international success is his lack of real spoken language: nearly all dialogue is in an invented "penguin language" consisting of babbling, muttering and sporadic loud honking noises. This was initially retro-scripted by Carlo Bonomi, who created all the sound effects for the series. This feature allows people of different linguistic backgrounds to be able to follow the story without the need for a degree.

However, by the time the penguin scripts reached the filming stage, "Pingu" had not only been renamed, but divested of his louch accoutrements and sanitized for the modern day audience, with little more than an appetite for fish.

Pingu was also said to be the late Margaret Thatcher's favourite television programme. Really intellectual stuff then.

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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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