maandag 29 juli 2013

'Birdwatchingwatching' : Comedy For The Birding Father

    Alex Horne is a comedian in the UK. Birdwatching in itself can be quite an amusing hobby. So a comedian could be the right person to write a humouristic book about birdwatching. 'Birdwatchingwatching' is Horne's intent to describe the hobby inside out. Not just as a bystander, watching others birdwatch, but as a participant. And the main reason for doing so, is a very particular one.

    Spectator Similarities

    De lezer regeert picked up 'Birdwatchingwatching' by Alex Horne, once again a Bookcrossing book, because she could understand why Horne was so intrigued by the birdwatching hobby of his father. Her own parents are quite addictive birdwatchers and only after going on a couple of birding trips, she got an idea of what the hobby consists of. Therefore the search of Horne could be quite recognizable. 

    Joker's Notes on Birdwatching

    In 'Birdwatchingwatching' Horne starts from scrap; he absolutely doesn't know a thing about birdwatching. In birdwatching terms De lezer regeert would call him a juvenile (which is the term for young birds who still have to learn everything). These birdwatching terms, together with statistics on birding and the double meaning of names of birds are often subject of a joke. He often jokes about them between lines - actually, to be specific these jokes are more in the notes-. Seen in that perspective 'Birdwatchingwatching' is an extremely funny book if it only consisted of notes.

    Family Humour in Britain

    Now, maybe De lezer regeert, being Dutch, doesn't understand the British humour. Maybe she doesn't have the same humour as Horne. Or maybe, being a comedian doesn't mean you can write in a funny way as well. But, then again, the question is if Horne wanted to write a humouristic book. In the introduction Horne says:
    "Am I funny? On stage, yes. That's why I'm a comedian. But I'm not funny all the time. That wouldn't be funny. And can I tell you a joke? I could. But I prefer to tell you about Duncton." ( 2009: p.3) 

    Competitive Bonding

    Duncton is the name he has given to his father in this book. It's a man who can't send text messages, but who is a good father in the eyes of his son Alex. Alex recently got married and wants to know how to become a good father. To do so he wants to bond with his father, so he takes up the same hobby and suggest his father to do a kind of competition. The competition, which is quite popular in the U.S., is about seeing as many different species in one year. It's a method De lezer regeert wouldn't use, because wouldn't it be easier to bond just tagging along and pass time with your father instead of doing it individually and frustrate yourself? 

    Focus on the Birdwatcher 

    Anyway, 'Birdwatchingwatching' does show the real birdwatching. It teaches you the difference between species and types of birds - a duck is a type not a species-, that there are different types of birdwatchers - ranging from the people that watch birds in their garden to the real fanatic ornothologists who rise early in the morning, carrying binocular (and if De lezer regeert may add herself, a gigantic camera) spending the day outside in all weather in search of that rare bird that was notified on the special birding website- and that they are actually not that strange kind of people at all. Horne shows that just like his all time favourite hobby football, the degree of addictiveness/ involvement depends on you.

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