Sproutlore Symbol

The Brentford Mercury

How to be Really Sad

A Self-Improvement Guide

by Michael Carroll


How to be Really Sad

At Octocon '93, during the launch of Sproutlore, Robert Rankin commended us SproutLorians on our efforts, but made the comment that a fan club is really missing the point of his books, which encourage us to be individuals. Of course, he also said that we're all moving to Waco, so perhaps not everything the great man says should be taken literally.

Anyway, to be a true Rankinphile, these are the items you'll need:

1. A stout stick.

This can be obtained by either whittling down a very stout stick, or by finding a good tree, removing a thick branch and calling it a stout stick.

2. A sprout.

Available in most good grocery stores for a pittance. Nay, a mere pittance.

3. Enough change in pennies and tuppences for a pint of Large.

You'll need to check the exact price at your local pub. Prices vary according to location and temperament of bar staff.

4. A postcard showing a rooftop view of Brentford.

Generally available only from Brentford. Ask someone you know in London to send you one.

5. Any picture or statuette of Elvis.

This is an essential companion piece to your sprout. Note: Photos of Elvis imitators are not acceptable.

6. No books by L. Ron Hubbard or Aleister Crowley.

First, go into a bookshop and find a book by Crowley or Hubbard. Second, don't buy it.

7. An autographed copy of Hugo Rune's The Book of Ultimate Truths.

Tricky one this, as the original book is now almost impossible to find. However, you have the advantage that if you are able to find it, you shouldn't have too much trouble locating Rune to sign it for you. He will probably steal your pen.

8. A small tin of paint.

Available in the sort of hardware store where they don't sell computers. Colour optional.

9. Strange hair. Lots of it.

This is very difficult for some people to manage. However, I have no problem: I find my strange hair hanging around the plughole in the bath. It makes a nice ornament.

10. A small friend with an inexplicably long shadow.

This is a toughie. Try to find a small friend first. Then measure your own shadow, and work out a ratio with your height, then measure your friend's shadow and his height. Is the ratio completely unexpected? It is? Good.

11. Two small screws.

Take apart something that's broken. Put it back together so that it works again. There will be two small screws left over.

When you have collected all of these items, take a photograph of them and send them to us in Sproutlore. From that day forward, we will pronounce you to be really sad.

Easy, isn't it?

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