Friday, 25 September 2009

I love Robert Rankin

He has known many previous incarnations. And then some.

He has walked the Earth as Nostradamus, Uther Pendragon, Alfred Denning, Alexander of Macedon and Rodrigo Borgia. Although probably not in that order.

He speaks 21 languages, plays darts with the Dalai Lama and has shared his sleeping bag with Rasputin, Albert Einstein, Lawrence of Arabia and Girls Aloud.

He is worshipped as a god by an East Bridgeton cargo cult and once scaled Everest in a smoking jacket and plus-fours to win a bet with Alan Johnson.

He travelled to Venus in the company of Joseph Stiglitz, reinvented the ocarina and was burned in effigy by the Salford Townswoman's Guild.

He is an expert swordsman, a gourmet chef, a world traveller, poet, painter, stigmatist, guru to gurus and hater of James Blunt.

He can open a tin of sardines with his teeth, strike a Swan Vestas on his chin, rope steers, drive a steam locomotive and hum all the works of Goldie Looking Chain without becoming confused or breaking down into tears.

He won a first at Glasgow, has squandered three fortunes, made love to a thousand women, imbibed strange drugs, sold his soul for Rock'n'Roll, almost pipped
Krugman for the Nobel Prize and is barred from every Chinese noodle parlour in South Manchester.

He has penned more than eight million words. His autohagiography, The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, chronicles the life of an individual who shunned the everyday, scorned the laws of ordinary man, laughed in the face of convention, reinvented the ocarina and hated James Blunt.

He is a character in an age in desperate need of characters. An exaggerated shadow cast in the fashionable places of his day. The confidante of kings and criminals, popes and prize- fighters, lighthouse keepers and lingerie salesmen, boffins and bikers.

His name is Duncan Phebus Sumo Mercutius Steerpike Campbell King. And he is never bored.

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