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The Essay
Show #320
Blackmoor's Open Letter
David Gunn

An open letter from Warbler Hadley Blackmoor:

[To those of you unfamiliar with the name, Warbler Blackmoor -- a.k.a. Carlo Bramblework, Borraka B. Cromwell, and probably several other aliases derived from the component letters of his real name -- was, or is, Professor Emesis of Calamitology at the University of Hummock-on-Smythe, and the world's foremost authority on the major plagues, disasters and cataclysms throughout history. Indeed he should know, because he had a hand in many of them. In 1988, Blackmoor discovered that he could effect cross-temporal travel by hitching rides on time hiccups -- bubbles of free time that collect along the space-time continuum. But instead of applying his discovery to the betterment of mankind, he employed it to make mischief -- all for the sake of important clinical research, he claimed. He would time-travel to a calamitous event in history and attempt to exacerbate it. Then he'd distill the results into a scholarly treatise or a story line for a BBC documentary. There is only one reason that Warbler Blackmoor should not be regarded as one of the most reprehensible persons in human history: all but one of his catastrophological deeds occurred in spite of his nefarious ministrations, which tended to go thoroughly awry. The fiery eruption of Mont Blanc in the French Alps, the posting of the German cockroach on the Endangered Species List, Antarctica's declaration of war on Tierra del Fuego, the invention of the veal sofa -- each was a calamity in the making until Blackmoor intervened. At least they have been up till now.]

"The tragic events of last week -- and I'm not talking about the tuning of the Sasquatch Chamber Orchestra in Grundy, Iowa, on Monday, though that was plenty dreadful, especially for the underwater wedding ceremony -- were not my doing. I don't do current events. And even if I did, I would never devise a calamitological episode that would jeopardize the way I cut up my airplane hors d'oeuvres. Anyway, I was out of the century all week. Witnesses can attest that I was three hundred and nine years away fanning the flames at the Salem witch trials. Granted, the witnesses are nearly all dead now, but you can still read a reference to me in Cotton Mather's "Minister’s Statement" of September 1692. He mentions a "spectrale weirdo in outlandish breeches hanging in midaire." Naturally, that's me in my kilt. And it sure took a bit of explaining to convince him I wasn't one of those hocus-pocusmongers that he and others had it in for. Anyway, when I got there, litigation was already at a fever pitch. I believe it was an A flat. Nineteen persons exhibiting witchlike tendencies had been hanged, one had been pressed to death by stones, another 50 persons had confessed to possessing the ability to turn people into toads. After my modest assistance, we'd imprisoned 100 more women and children for wearing pointy black hats in public. How was I to know that 64 of them would subsequently turn into toads themselves and escape! Mr. Mather subsequently chided me for increasing the local amphibian population and sent me on my way. Soon thereafter, the hysteria abated, the rest of the alleged witches were freed, and the account of my Salem cataclysmisms was written into the episode of "Absolutely Fabulous" in which Edina and Patsy are abducted by a veal sofa.

"Anyway, I simply wanted to corroborate my disconnection to and distance myself from last week’s events -- including those in Grundy, Iowa -- and assure my readers and supporters that a Blackmoor calamity occurs solely for the enhancement of scientific knowledge ... as well as the occasional BBC programme entertainment. Thank you."

And thank you, Warbler Hadley Blackmoor, and thank you, our listening audients, for tuning in, whether by design, amazing luck or happenstance, to this 329th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, an episode that will forthwith answer the question: who is Kalvos?