Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 19/04/2004Rum news from the Antipodes, where a wandering New Zealand shepherd has captured a rogue Marino ram that eluded captivity -- and thus shearing -- for six years. As a result, we are told, the ovine freak has grown a mammoth shag pile: pictures from the South Island show a monstrous beast resembling nothing so much as an elongated pumice stone the size of a man but with a rather annoyed face peering out of one end.

Monday 19/04/2004
Rum news from the Antipodes, where a wandering New Zealand shepherd has captured a rogue Marino ram that eluded captivity -- and thus shearing -- for six years. As a result, we are told, the ovine freak has grown a mammoth shag pile: pictures from the South Island show a monstrous beast resembling nothing so much as an elongated pumice stone the size of a man but with a rather annoyed face peering out of one end. It has been christened Shrek.

I would be tempted to take this report at face value, were it not for an apparently unconnected press release. "Outsource your IT to NZ", it says, because we've got very good at it. In particular, the Outsource2NewZealand mob cite the groundbreaking work done by Weta with the Lord of the Rings trilogy -- this unprecedented success proves that the IT minds down below can do anything we want.

I fear they're not telling us the whole story. In particular, I suspect that they're a little more advanced than they're letting on -- and have managed to couple the output of their computer-animation devices to a genetic engineering lab. All those scenes with chimerical elephants, sentient trees and hideous, lawyer-like Nazgul hoardes were computer generated -- but not in the sense of ray tracing and frame outputs. No, the hideous secret is that they actually happened. Rogue scientists really populated the outlying remoteness of the islands with living, breathing creatures.

Of course, they'll all have been rounded up now and disposed of -- but perhaps one escaped. A prototype, one suspects, named -- much as Dolly the Sheep was named -- after some inspirational character. What better than another computer-generated monster?

Dark forces are afoot: those rumours about director Peter Jackson really being a hobbit may yet have more force than we thought.

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