Interview with a Dodo
01 April 2022 -
Featured picture; Dodo has poignant reunion with his last friend Dilys at her final resting place in the Oxford Museum.
(With notes from Lars Overhang, the editor of The Gonzovation Gazette – Editor)
I noticed that in Extinct Boids, your portrait does not appear until nearly a quarter of the way through the book. Why do you think that is and does it offend you as the poster boid for extinction?
I like to look at it in a philosophical way… The book builds a tension in anticipation of my arrival onto the pages and boy when I arrive, I look good! Cap’n Ralph do-don’t half know how to capture the essence of me. And let’s not forget something else that you seem to have overlooked. I am on the cover of the book, so I am the first thing you look at, so being portrayed a quarter of the way into the book gives other less well-known boids a chance to shine. The undercard gets a boost and let’s face it, I may be the face of extinction, but the truth is I am celebrated because I was the first extinction that people really took notice of and that is in its own way a hinderance to understanding just how many other species have become extinct and are also now nextinct, i.e., in the waiting room for extinction.
I just want to make one thing clear. I may sound pompous or even arrogant at times but truthfully, I’m not. It’s just that I understand my worth to the cause. I am the symbol of extinction. I never asked to be this but now that I am I must believe in my own abilities and behave accordingly. Just one thing, I did ask for a rider (requests made by a subject before agreeing to sitting down and talking to us – Ed) for this interview and I don’t see any cracked crab claws dipped in iron granules, as you know iron helps ease my digestion and grinds down the food I eat. I also like it a lot! It’s crunchier than croutons, which I have always found get soggy and iron is way more fun. So can we get that sorted before we continue…
(There follows a pause as the requested rider item is delivered – Ed)
The Blue Slut in your portrait – is it related to the Needless Smut?
Good Lord, that is a ridiculous question. Slut…Smut. Completely different names. I’m surprised that you haven’t done your taxonomical research. I presume it was an attempt at humour and a play on words. The closest they come to being relations is their names rhyme, that’s all. Two boids which couldn’t be more different in every way. The Blue Slut is truly only ever on the nest hoping to reproduce and I believe that Bent and his team of gonzovationists are close to sorting the problems out. It seems to be anxiety that is hindering the Blue Slut’s issues and they have found that continually reading the poem, The Road Not Taken by the American poet, Robert Frost is proving beneficial to the Slut’s well-being and there is rumour that she may be ready for reproduction. A brood of little sluts would be most welcome and please do not find cheap humour and double entendre in my words. Take the Slut seriously.
As for the Needless Smut, this is a completely different character. One of the most extraordinary creatures on this island, if not the world. Scatty, ridiculous, forgetful and remembers everything, a complete dichotomy of a being, huge heart, terrible and brilliant organiser, gets in and out of scrapes and is a huge bonus for the critters of the world. Once mayor of this island, the Smut is now the governor and commands respect worldwide. If you know about the Smut, then you know about the Smut. I would say the world needs to know more about the Smut.
Serious question now. Dodo, what do you think might have helped your species to survive and were there clues as your demise approached?
If sailors and the like, especially from the uneducated western world hadn’t appeared in my habitat that would have been the best. We had an idyllic lifestyle and I’m not just talking about myself. We had a symbiotic relationship with everyone and everything. Maybe I am looking at things with rose-tinted spectacles but honestly things were better back then. Every old person or creature invariably looks back to the “good old days”, but they really were and to be fair, it was the best time for me as I existed within the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love being here on Toadstool Island, but it isn’t the same as having my ancestral home and land under my feet. It’s where I belonged and a place I would love to return to and maybe with the help of the gonzovationists that may be possible. One day…
Clues to my demise? I think the following were big clues to our demise. We were continually chased and battered to death most days by sailors, and then spit-roasted and eaten of an evening. Also, we were being attacked and harassed by species the westerners had brought aboard their ships; species we had never known such as cats, rats, and dogs. Would they also serve as pointers to our demise? I think so.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I love science fiction and one of my greatest finds is the work of Adrian Tchaikovsky. At the moment I am engrossed in Children of Time. It’s amazing as it is about the last of humanity searching for a planet to inhabit and exist upon. They find a previously terraformed planet and set up home. What could possibly go wrong? Another species has already claimed the planet. One familiar to us all. I don’t know whether to tell you but what the heck, spiders rule this world. Through an accidental enhanced evolution, they have become more intelligent, thoughtful and brilliant spiders. An incredible look at life and the way it weaves its web. (See what I did there!) The book puts humanity on their own Toadstool Island at the mercy of an equally brilliant species. I have always wanted to use that line that appears on the cover of so many successful books. Are you ready? This book is a tour de force! There I have done it. More crab claws perchance?
What was the last member of your species like – do you remember anything about them?
Ah, Dilys. She was a wonderful dodo. Totally oblivious to what had happened to all the other dodos and that was the problem with so many of our species. We could not comprehend what was happening to us as we had it so lovely for so long. We just thought it would stop…eventually. And what stopped? We did. We ceased to exist. Don’t ask me how I survived as I don’t really understand. I believe it was one of the Ooshut Doorbang’s people that came and rescued me as I wandered my land alone as the last of my kind. (The Ooshut Doorbang is the god of Toadstool Island, and he/she created this place as a safe haven for all those creatures who face extinction-Ed).
If you could sit down and have a meal with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and what would you eat?
I wish I could sit down with Dilys again. I miss her. It’s been hundreds of years but not a day goes by without a thought of her.
Other than that, I think I would be curious to sit down with Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, who wrote me into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. How cool is that? Apparently, I represent the author as caricature and that he chose me because he had a stammer and introduced himself as “Do-do-Dodgson”. Sounds like nonsense to me but that seems like a very good place to start a conversation from. I love nonsense and without him I wouldn’t not have been represented in a Disney film and wouldn’t have been appeared in Tim Burton’s version. They have all helped me become celebrated. To be forgotten leads to true extinction. To be remembered keeps me alive and it is the same for all species here. Please remember us.
Do you have a message for Kevinio and his gang to try and make him understand your place in the world and what your exit from it means?
Firstly, I would spin the question around and try to make him understand that his place in the world is not a way forwards and that he and people like him who want to destroy and decimate species and their populations are coming under increasing scrutiny and that maybe one day, sooner rather than later, his kind could face a type of extinction themselves. Then when he stands more alone than he does now, perhaps he will feel the anguish of imminent extinction that every single one of us on this island feels.
My exit from the world is nothing short of an abomination on the history of this planet and so is every single loss of every species that has lost its existence thanks to man’s exacerbation of the extinction rate for many creatures, particularly through the Anthropocene Age, the age of man, which began with the Industrial Revolution. We should have all been able to co-exist on this earth. It should have been possible.
Do you have a favourite piece of music?
Funnily enough, I have just been listening to Homeboy Sandman, an MC from NYC, one of my favourites, and I discovered a track I didn’t know by him called Extinction. There’s somebody I would love to chat to and lay down some beats with. I may be hundreds of years old, but music keeps me and my outlook young. For instant gratification, I can’t stop playing Breathing Exercise by Frankie Stew and Harvey Gunn. Lo-fi hip-hop at its truly finest. Check it out.
What is your care regime for your beak, which may I say is looking very impressive today?
Waxing my beak is a priority to keep the shine and gleam at its finest for all the pictures I must pose for. Plus, my beak needs a manicure to keep it perfect as it’s made of keratin as your human nails are, and just like them, it grows. Normally, if I were in the wild, eating, foraging and cleaning my feathers would keep it tidy but I live a very luxurious life now and don’t need to grub around for food as I am taken care of so well by so many. I use the local beak-shine boidz at the beak parlour and I love nothing more than spending an hour or two in there catching up on all the latest gossip. I love a good goss… In fact, I’m due in there shortly, so I better go and get my pampering done. It’s been a pleasure, dear Scoop, I’ve enjoyed this. Do see yourself out.