"A cross between Jack the Ripper and Banksy" is how one birder described the birding blog phenomenon that is Reservoir Cats. Rising from nowhere and wedging a huge slice of ironic humour in birding's arse, blog author(s) 'Mr White' has rapidly risen to cult status in the birding world.
The signs this week though point to the Cats selling out their cult status and heading down the road of commercialism like so many before them. Whilst it is perfectly understandable that the owner(s) of such an authentic, original and cult brand (because that's what it is) would seek to cash in on their status whilst the going's good I can't help being left feeling that the purity has been lost.
I could forgive them the T-shirts, just a way of letting birders and bloggers 'join the club' so to speak but this week's blatant soft advertising post 'sponsored' by RBA sees the Cats leap into the murky commercial pond of advertorial writing. It may have been loosely concealed behind mocking the lack of quality on Scilly but the commercial message 'bigging up' RBA pagers was strikingly obvious.
No doubt the conspiracy theorists will point to the possibility that the Cats were been blackmailed by dastardly Dick Filby, who having found out their true identities has forced our heroes into promoting a flagging technology. The truth is much simpler, the hard hitting Cats are beginning to enjoy the cream.
We can no doubt look forward to more product sponsored posts and a gradual watering down of the Cats style as they aim to appeal to an ever wider audience, a book launch and obscure 'At Home With the Cats' TV show is sure to follow and by the time Max Clifford gets involved we may even see a Stig-style restraining order as Mr White's identity is almost revealed to the world. Naturally that will be an anti-climax as some ex-Cambridge geek scientist from Thetford with too much time on his hands now the Atlas has finished is revealed as Cats creator.
Sadly though I tried to contact both Tom Logan and Arthur Balsam for some comment on the Cats commercial sell out neither was available, probably for the best.