Over the last few months I have been working with my good friend Paul Bloom on an idea called 'The Land of Phutt'. Our initial plan was to build a blog and each month use it to peer deeper and deeper into this mysterious land - so slowly revealing more about our hero, the landscape and the strange creatures that surround him.
We therefore set to work - I composing plot lines and he composing images. A couple of months past and we suddenly realised that not only did we have enough material to fill our blog many times over, but also, that we had somehow established a very neat narrative!
On reflection then, we have decided that our idea would in actual fact lend itself better to the pages of a single book than it would the inside of a blog. The book is still a long way off and so for now, though what follows represents little more than a taster of things to come, let me introduce you to the land of...
|Image by Paul Bloom|
The Story So Far...
I do remember the world from which I came, and yet of myself, of my own life, nothing; not a single memory nor even the smallest of scars ...that is... except for the sounds of an almighty laugh and the faint scent of whiskey upon my flailing arms. Where once I must surely have held memories, aspirations, regrets... in their place now rests, I'm affraid to say, little more than simple darkness. A dark simplicity. Re-born, it seems, as if from the echoes of merriment so here I find myself, a lone soul within the vast lands of Phutt. I have nursed myself back to health. I have constructed a home. I have slept for as many nights as it is possible to sleep. For eight days straight I drank till I was drunk, ate till all was eaten. My fate? What of it I wonder... ...and so again my thoughts begin to wander, pencil grasped between my toes, and though each night I protest, come morning my philosophy remains plain, remains the same: I vow to roam, to go, set forth, to explore... This log therefore, my only hope, for even if I don't... may these words live on forever more.
|'Base Camp' - Image by Paul Bloom|
Name: Not applicable
Age: I feel pretty damn old.
History: Not applicable, my home is on Phutt now.
Appearance: As far as can be told without a clear view of my face, I appear (wrinkles aside) somewhat younger than I feel... Indeed, it seems I possess teenage limbs.
Height: Comparatively tall and yet... in equal measure, comparatively small (1 branch, 3 sticks).
Weight: 9 rocks 3 pebbles.
Hair Colour: Still awaiting adequate growth.
Daily Cycle: 10 hours sleep, 12 hours awake.
Muscles: Approx 600
Bones: Approx 200
Arrival Date: Marked as January 1st 0001
Eye Colour: Unresolved
Salvaged items: 1 fully functional steel door; 90 plastic bottles; 1 half pack of matches; 3 large heaps of plastic; 1 dried disc of dung; 1 knife; 8 meters aluminium; 2 medium heaps of shattered glass; 340 screws; 1 heap of shattered ceramics; 70 shards of finger/toe nails (crisp); 37 rusted copper nails; 1 very large (partially intact) silver disc; 3 meters of twisted titanium; sack of assorted bones; 58 sheets of crisp (crumbly) skin; 1 bucket of assorted brass; steel & amp; copper; 30 carbon rods, jeans, vest, one sock
New Items: My One-Compass, diary
|'The Singing One-Compass' - Image by Paul Bloom|
Concerning the Art of Survival:
Fear - Fear is a normal reaction!
*Note: my fear was little more than a prelude to the waves of panic, pain, cold, thirst, hunger, fatigue, boredom and loneliness which followed thereafter.
The secret, I surmise, is to anticipate an emergency situation – hence the construction of my One-Compass. The One-Compass refutes those seven enemies. Thanks to the One-compass no more will the seven enemies interfere with my survival. By the power of my One-compass I will, from now on, calmly and rationally assess each situation.
Pain - Pain may often be ignored. In a panic situation ignore pain. To panic is to ignore pain and yet neither should I panic. Remember, always deal with injuries. If I panic and lose pain I may lose a limb. Always deal with pain immediately, without panicking, so as to avoid the onset of seriousness.
Cold – My own brain works better when it is cold, and yet, simultaneously, I have also found that lower temperatures reduce the ability to think. This phenomenon I believe, owes not to the cold itself, but rather, due to the fact that cold causes a numbing of the body. This numbing of the body seems to reduce my will to survive and so, alas, I cease from thinking. Never allow myself to stop thinking, never allow myself to stop moving or to fall asleep, that is, unless I am adequately sheltered.
Thirst – Dehydration is to me a familiar foe, an outlandish wraith whom must not be ignored. She dulls my mind... her hollow eyes throwing trivial glances upon what once had been.
Hunger - Hunger is dangerous though seldom deadly. Hunger reduces my ability to think and darkens my mood. A destroyer of logic, hunger also cloaks the effects of cold, pain and fear.
Fatigue - Fatigue is unavoidable. There is not a situation alive without fatigue. Fatigue can and will lower my mental ability. Like panic, fatigue wears a cheap face.
Boredom & Loneliness - These enemies are quite often unanticipated and can lower my mind's ability to deal with a situation. Boredom and Loneliness... they are both fraudulent and damning. I remain loathe to discuss them.
|'Tree Hugging Winkle Dancer' - Image by Paul Bloom|
|'Rock Clinging Hover Moot' - Image by Paul Bloom|
|'Moot Eater (Rock Clinging)' - Image by Paul Bloom|
Clothing - Clothes are best worn. Hats are a help though all seem to itch. When clothing think of both the heat and cold. The act of clothing is not necessarily always an either/or situation. Water proof outer layers!
Equipment – Dependent on sack size. Keep to hand: matches, sachet of crumble-skin, knife, eye-shades, my One-compass, trail food.
Survival Kit – ideas: waterproof, a container, also a cooking pot, also a water receptacle, also a weapon - somehow attach to belt? High Priority!
Backsack - Should weigh less than me. Inside items: reflective, extra rags, socks, serrated metal, food, tarp.
|'Spurg Plant' - Image by Paul Bloom|
How to Build a Fire:
Find a sandy or rocky area. Look for a supply of sand, earth or water so as to avoid setting alight another running fire.
*Note –Mistakes so far:
1. Poor tinder
2. Failing to shield matches from the wind
3. Smothering the flames (make sure pieces of fuel arn’t too large. The four most important factors when starting a fire are: spark - tinder - fuel - oxygen.
*Note - Best Ways to Create Sparks:
1. Matches are best. KEEP THEM DRY!
2. The flint and steel method - Aim the sparks at dry tinder to produce a fire.
3. Remove half of the powder from a bullet and pour it into the tinder. Place a rag in the cartridge case of the gun and fire. The rag should ignite and then may be placed into the tinder. – Neither gun nor bullets remain.
5. Allow the sun’s rays to pass through focused glass onto the tinder.
Tinder = dry grass, crumble skin, paper or cloth, rags and dry bark. Place tinder in a small pile, like a tepee, with the driest pieces at the bottom.
*Note: Smaller pieces of kindling such as, twigs, bark and shavings are necessary when trying to ignite larger pieces of fuel. Gather fuel before attempting to start fire. Dry wood burns better. Wet wood will make smoke. Dense, dry wood will burn slow and hot. A well ventilated fire will burn best.
|'Camp Fire' - Image by Paul Bloom|
|'Walking Living Light' - Image by Paul Bloom|
|'Self Fertilising Husk Bean' - Image by Paul Bloom|
How to Build a Shelter
- Insulated from the bottom.
- Protected from wind.
- must contain a fire.
Before the build check that surrounding area provides what is needed to build a fire. Also need water source and/or shelter from the wind.
Types of Shelter:
1. Cubby Holes (caves and overhanging cliffs): When exploring a possible shelter, tie string to the outer mouth of the cave to help find my way out. Cave’s are long and dark and often house at least three of the seven enemies.
*Note - Caves may already be occupied! Also, if using a cave, build fire near its mouth to prevent animals from entering.
2. Pit: enlarge the natural pit under a fallen tree and line it with bark or tree boughs.
3. Den: Maybe near a rocky coastal area, build a rock shelter in the shape of a ‘U’, cover roof with driftwood, tarp or even seaweed (preferably dry seaweed)?
4. House of Cards: Lean together branches or fallen trees, cover with tarp, boughs, thick grasses or bark.
5. Wigowam: Constructed using three long poles. Tie the tops of the poles together and upright them in a good spot. Cover the sides with a tarp, boughs, or other suitable stuff. Build a fire in the middle – remember to make a draft channel in the side and a small hole in the top to allow smoke and personals gases to escape.
6. If in open terrain, an earth cave will provide good shelter. Find a drift and burrow a tunnel into the side then build a chamber. The entrance of the tunnel should lead to the lowest level of the chamber; this is where the cooking and storage of equipment will be. A minimum of two ventilating holes are necessary, preferably one in the roof and one in the door (speculative).
|'Map' - Image by Paul Bloom|