I once registered for an Apple Computer Expo (back in the days when they
still held such events) using the pseudonym Howard Nentibus. I gave my
profession as Roving Collector and company name as The Lung People.
I registered with that ludicrous name because I was curious to know if
they’d even bother to reply to someone using such a non de plume but sure
enough, a week after I’d applied, a badge arrived granting me entrance to
the exhibition. There it was. Printed out in thick black type on the yuckily
garish green of the badge:
The Lung People
Some of the people I met said, ‘If your name is Howard I’m the Eiffel Tower’
or employed a similar national monument to indicate that they’d seen through
my guise. When people pull that trick on me I usually don’t miss a beat and
shoot straight back with : ‘Hello, Eiffel Tower. Pleased to meet you’,
simultaneously thrusting out my hand in greeting like an Masonic policeman.
After looking round the sad stalls dotting the really exceptionally dull
exhibition, I queued at the oversubscribed Real Ale bar. Punters were ten
deep, twisting and toe-stepping in an effort to get served. It was a
nightmare. The guy pressed against my right hand side turned to me, looked
cockeyed at my badge and asked me in an American accent if I was one of the
‘Creatives’. As he said this he gave me a knowing wink. I told him he was
close, really close but just wide of the mark. I was actually one of the
Shortly before I left, a very smartly dressed woman walked right up to me
and, addressing me as if she was an old friend (a warm knowing smile
lighting up her face) said, ‘This is for you, Howard Nentibus’. She handed
me a magazine, turned sharply on her very smart heels and walked off to
rejoin her elegantly attired friends. I understood instinctively that she
wanted to show how much she’d been tickled by someone showing up at the
Apple Expo claiming to be called Howard Nentibus earning a living as a
Roving Collector and employed by the mysterious corporation of The Lung
There are so many departments at the SKLR Coach & Wagon, Gardening,
Locomotive Engineering, Signal & Telegraph, Permanent Way etc that I can’t
help but wondering if there’s room for a few more but of a mildly unusual
nature. It would be hair-raising to discover dedicated SKLR departments such
Dogs & Whistles
Mirrors & Investigation
Unsightly Density Reversal
On the tube home from Olympia I opened the publication I’d been handed. It
was a very glossy large format magazine dedicated to the Star Trek
The cover was dominated by the face of the actor William Shatner in the role
of Captain James T. Kirk.
I slowly became aware that a number of passengers were staring at me.
Although I’ll never know for sure (such is the nature of casual paranoia), I
assumed they were thinking that I must be one of the obsessives, a
card-carrying member of the Star trek cognoscenti.
You have to admit, if they’d named the Kirk character Captain Howard T.
Nentibus, things might have played out less successfully for the franchise.
post by sound artist Jim Whelton