Friday, 1 April 2011
Wild Tales at the Court of King Gregorek
Some days a writer's lot is a joy, on others it is a test. Sometimes it is both. How, for example, do you sum up a character as vivid as Zyg Gregorek in the space of a short article? After a close shave in Karachi where he was within an hour or two of becoming a hostage, Angling Times were keen to get a sketch of this grand angling eccentric.
Far from being a freak event, Zyg's latest adventure seems hardly out of place in a lifetime of strange twists and colourful tangents. And yet there lies the paradox- an undeniably zany character and self-proclaimed hedonist, yet also a businessman with lazer sharp focus. One time refugee, adventure fishing nut, wine brewer, obsessive collector, fish breeder, thrill seeker.. the list goes on and little elaboration seems necessary in charting the life of the Angler's Paradise boss. It was an interview to raise more eyebrows than a streaker at the Conservative Party Conference... but for more you'll just have to get the Angling Times on Tuesday!
In my own madder moments when I imagine a future Britain as some kind of angling Utopia, I picture Zyg as its president. The economy would be based entirely on fishing tackle. The currency wouldn't be pounds or Euros but flies. Fishing would be free and participation compulsory. State meetings would be attended in waders. All roads would be replaced by canals. Because of a fish heavy diet we would all live to the age of 107 and be geniuses. Strange how a glass or two of Zyg's wine tends to give you ideas...
Talking of wine, the bar at Angler's Paradise itself is also well worth a visit for the sheer spectacle of the curiosities on display: where else can you see cased eels and golden rudd, fish on tables and posts, marlin and swordfish jutting from the walls?
Back in the less colourful outside world my concern over hydropower continues. The scope for damage to rivers both in the Westcountry and nationwide is simply too glaring to ignore and so I was quick to agree when BBC Devon wanted an angling spokesman for a midweek programme. The archimedes screw we saw was perhaps the best of several less than ideal options for fish. Even so, there is no such thing as "free" energy- and our rivers could pay a high price should they be used as a simple commodity to generate power for the government and easy money for land owners.