Sometimes, things are wrong. At one point they may have been alright, and are now considered wrong, or, they always have been and ever will be just plain wrong. Oft times, these wrong things are also funny.

With that in mind, this endeavour features two main strands: the "Shelf of Shame" (books) and the "Screen of Shame" (film) and smaller strands such as "Sound of Shame" (vinyl) and "Miscellany of Shame" (various) - each showcasing items from my personal collection of bibliographic and cinematic oddities and curios.

Deemed shame-worthy according to varying criteria of wrongness, these humourous, surprising, and occasionally instructive items are therefore posted here for your perusal, amusement and edification. Enjoy.

Porn Title of the Week:

Red-dick (Sept 1)
Blow-Jobs (Aug 25)
The Butt-ler (Aug 18)
You're Sexed (Aug 11)
Fuck-Ass 2 (Aug 4)
We're the Fillers (July 28)
Tur-blow (July 21)
The Who-To-Do-List (July 14)
Pacific Rim-Job (July 7)
Blown Ranger (June 30)
White House Going Down (June 23)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shelf of Shame #1

A. Radclyffe Dugmore. London: William Heinemann: 1914. 8vo, red cloth w. gilt titles & decoration to front board, gilt titles to spine. xvi + 225 pp. Poem printed on front end papers. Richly illustrated with over 100 b&w photos and in-text drawings.

Quite obviously the title of this elegant old volume speaks for itself. The minute I saw it, I knew it was destined for my (then conceptual) Shelf of Shame. Further home investigation revealed other hilarity contained within its pages.

In the author’s Introduction, he suggests that "beaver do not lend themselves to pictorial efforts". It tickles the fancy to consider that today the entirety of the internet suggests otherwise! But the intrepid Mr. Dugmore is not put off by his own pronouncement on the matter, and in a segment teasingly entitled "Hints on Beaver Photography", gives us the following:

To begin, they are rather shapeless... no pattern in the way of colouring, and what makes the work doubly difficult and unsatisfactory is that they are so seldom seen by daylight. Add to this the fact that they are usually wet and very shy, it will be easily understood that the task of securing photographs is not easy... If all goes well you will get lots of exposures, but in most cases the pictures will simply show a shapeless mass of wet fur... If using any sort of electric device, be sure to have an ample supply of batteries to take the place of those that through mishap become exhausted.

This only lends credence to Tom Lehrer’s adage that filth is indeed in the mind of the beholder. Humour too, I would posit.


While not actually on the Shelf of Shame, I do possess another volume on the same subject, written some 20 years prior. A tad more austere in its approach, the book is not without some merit to our shameful proceedings.

Castorologia: or the History & Traditions of the Canadian Beaver.
Horace T. Martin. Montreal: Wm. Drysdale & Co: 1892. Brown cloth w. gilt title and decoration to front cover, gilt titles to spine. xviii + 238 pp. Over 50 b&w illustrations and photos.

Notable among the chapter headings in this work are: “Mammoth Beavers” and “The European Beaver”. “Hunting the Beaver” may have the greatest appeal to fans of such tv schlock as Keys to the VIP. The chapter called “Experiments in Domestication”, however, just tweaks my suffragette ire!

Overall, the text is less prone to inadvertent hilarity than its counterpart, but there are a few gems here and there, such as: “The European beaver had formerly been widely spread over the Old World, and it had earned a conspicuous place in the thoughts of men.” You don’t say...

Further Research:

Arthur Radclyffe Dugmore (1870-1955) was an American adventurer and photographer. Those wishing a biography of him should look for: Rolling Stone: the life and Adventures of Arthur Radclyffe Dugmore. Thomas Lowell. Doubleday Doran & Co: New York: 1931.

Horace T. Martin was a onetime Secretary for Agriculture in Canada, but I have been so far unable to learn significantly more about his life and career.

Critical appraisals of both books can be found at the following links: http://www.geocities.com/BobArnebeck/martin.html

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