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Odd Book Titles


This is a spoof opening created by author Alexander McCall Smith to a book titled 'Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Seaweed Symposium' writen by Robert J. Anderson, Juliet A. Brodie, Edvar Onsøyen and Alan T. Critchley.

Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith

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“Call me Kelpy,” said the man in the harbour bar.

I stared at him, trying to recall where it was that I had seen him. I was sure that I had encountered him before, but the tides of forgetfulness have their own ways of obliterating our day-to-day human experiences. In they sweep, washing our footsteps from the sand, carrying away the tiny detritus of our days.

Then it dawned on me, and it all came back: the sheer tedium of the first seventeen symposia, and then the eighteenth, with all the things that happened there.

“Kelpy!” I said. “The eighteenth international seaweed symposium ...”

His mouth split into a toothless grin. “There are some people who would like to forget what happened at the eighteenth,” he said. “But not me! I’m not going to forget in a hurry!”

I bought Kelpy a drink; it was the least I could do, in the circumstances. As I handed him the glance, I couldn’t help but notice that he took a small bottle of iodine out of his pocket, measured out a few drops, and added them to the drink.

“Some people wonder what we get up to at those meetings,” said Kelpy. “If only they knew!”

“That’s why we publish the proceedings,” I said.

“Ah,” said Kelpy. “But that’s only half the story, isn’t it? It’s like the tips of the seaweed on the surface: most is down below.”

What a striking analogy, I thought.

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