Let me explain, because this is a long post. But it makes me laugh.
A couple of years ago I set up a website, beautifulmood.com. I did it for fun, mostly, an escape from a job which I felt trapped in. I was living away from home in Glasgow (which I love) but I had evenings to waste and needed a project. Despite the obvious purpose of the site (to sell photos – which is nigh on impossible on the net), the hidden purpose was actually to sell the website I’d built (and my development skills) to other photographers who needed a decent-looking, transactional photo gallery. Broadly, it worked, I’ve sold a few projects off the back of it and been in touch with some interesting people. It’s never moved into the mainstream of my work but always been a quiet comfort and showcase of my work – “I did that”.
When I launched the website, I began to get very strange email enquiries from mysterious people. I lay them out here in all their glory for it caused me much hilarity in the end when I discovered the perpetrator was none other than Mr James Casey, a friend and comedy writer and musician of merit.
The Famous Fisherman
Oh, hello, I was browsing idly along on the World Wide Web in the European style, and imagine my surprise when lo and behold I find a photograph of my old home on your website, titled ‘The Fairytale Castle’ with the legend ‘The famous fisherman’s bastion on the hill in Budapest summons up stories of old and maidens in distress.’
As you will have guessed by now, I am the famous fisherman – ‘fame’ to my friends, or ‘fishy’ to a select few (of which there are many) – and it did my old heart a power of good to see the stones of that blessed bastion once more. It certainly summoned up a fair few stories of old and maidens in distress, I can tell you.
One such maiden was my betrothed, Magda Patrek, and Lord was she in distress. So much distress, that woman wound herself up into, distressing about this, distressing about that, always laying it on thick with the distress. I really can’t begin to communicate to you the amount of distress we’re talking about here. I said to her, “Magda,” I said – I thought it appropriate given it was her name – “Magda,” – I repeated – “We’ve got to do something about that distress of yours. It’s driving me up the bleeding bastion.”
Unfortunately it later transpired that Magda didn’t like the way I stank of fish all the time – bastions of old being generally ill-fitted with washing facilities – and that was the primary source of her much-publicised distress. She left me for a Jehovah’s Witness called Istvan and I later heard they had joined a hippy commune and lived a life of debauchery.
The Famous Fisherman
Dr. Yoda Van Battenburg
I notice you have on your Beautiful Minds web site a photograph of a
Please could you tell me where and when the photograph was taken. You see, I
lost a lioness about five years ago and she looked very much like the one in
I would appreciate it if you would reply to this e-mail, or telephone me (I
will pay for the call). I can be reached at the following numbers:
Main office: +255 4716 111
Secondary office if main office is flooded: +255 4716 232
Tertiary office if secondary office generator doesn’t work: +255 4716 331
Cellular phone: +255 7741 3212
Satellite telephone: +255 8413 922
Home: +255 4726 912
Tanzania Safari Centre Reception: +255 4944 632
Tanzania Safari Centre Lion Enclosure: +255 4944 655
Tanzania Safari Centre Staff Quarters: +255 4944 636
Tanzania Ministry for Wildlife: +255 4814 762
My girlfriend’s home: +255 4727 491
My girlfriend’s parents’ home: +255 4727 566
My friend Younussi’s home: +255 4726 944
My next-door neighbor’s home: +255 4726 922
Home of a woman I met during a drunken rampage in downtown Dar es Salaam
three months ago: +255 2814 785
‘The Saucy Pigmy’: +255 4716 724 (ask for Captain Battie)
With many thanks for your assistance,
Dr. Yoda Van Battenburg
Dear Beautiful Moods.com,
Regarding your photograph, “Man on a bicycle Vietnam”, that is me in the
photograph. I am the famous Vietnamese actor, Don Duong, and I own all image
rights and likenesses within Vietnam and, by your publication of this
picture, you are breaching international copyright rules.
Please send me your legal details so I can sue you.
Re. the offer to exhibit works by other photographers.
I have a comprehensive portfolio of photographs featuring women in the buff. The pictures are in varying degrees of taste and have been in high demand on a variety of websites but unfortunately these have been forced to close down.
I like the theme and approach of your organisation and suggest you could link to my prints from the main page via a link named ‘Beautiful Hardcore Explicit Nekkid Chicks’.
I can send you samples for your approval.
Rev. Zachary Flamethrower
Dear Beautiful Mood Webmaster,
I was stunned to discover the ‘Footprints’ photograph on your website at the
As a man of the Lord I was trembling at my keyboard for three hours as I
realised the implications of this image captured for all time by your
Hallelujah! Please could you send me details of how to get a huge, I mean
gargantuan, copy of this picture. I intend to ascertain what size shoes God
wears, and if possible, what brand He favors.
Testify! I note from the shape of the imprint that this picture will well
and truly scotch the feminist claim that God is a woman! Unless She is a
woman who wears Men’s Shoes. Which leads us into all sorts of scary
I am indebted to you for your charity.
Rev. Zachary Flamethrower
We see from National Papers that you are to be sued by beloved actor Don Duong, so we look at picture on your site, and others of Vietnam, and look what we see!
You put image on website of venerated Hoi An temple, and add sarcastic comment that “you can almost hear the monks sweeping the floors”.
I am one of monks belong to Hoi An temple and you can NEVER hear us sweep the floors! We use unique Vietnamese broom design which is BEST IN WORLD and NOT MAKE single sound! It is revolutionary and I believe the Dyson Company are interested.
We win Pan-Vietnam Silent Sweeping Contest for PAST SEVENTEEN YEARS! I specially am quiet sweeper and pad my shoes with COTTON WOOL so you cannot even hear my feet as I sweep the holy floor.
I appreciate you are stupid westerner, and as your western saying has it, ‘to err is human, to umm is also human’, but I must tell you we monks are most offended by your insinuation that it is even remotely possible that any sound of sweeping can be heard.
We are peaceful monks but if we see your mangey hide back in Hoi An we will fuck you up righteously.
Then the bombshell that finished it off…
I suspected James by the end of all this and sent him the mail below, his response was telling…
Message date : Aug 22 2003, 03:12 PM
From : Tim
To : James Casey
Copy to :
Subject : Fw: The Lord will GLORIFY Beautiful Mood.com
I may be being overly presumptuous here but do you happen to know anything about the email below or others like it…? Just barking up blind alleys…
Hope you’re well
You’ve just *totally* spoiled my fun. I had about three more days’ worth.