No matter what else happens, if you’ve got it in you, you’ll do what you’ve got
That’s the spirit of the blues, and that’s the beauty of the beast that
slithers across the land,
indifferently taking its chances, from the shore of a
slough to the next slough.
That beast is a fish:
batrachus, more familiarly
known as a walking catfish.
It’s a cool cat that likes the blues, and the walking baseline in this animation
is pretty cool too,
and moves us along from the road to the car , and the driver
in the car turns up the volume
so we can hear that music that plays out notes
like birds sitting on the wires of telephone poles
that look like they’ve been
around forever - the wires, if not the poles, languid in the heat of the
The walking catfish goes back a long, long way - like the blues you might
One beast looks for that swimming hole, another for a drinking hole,
"if the river was whisky,
and I was a
diving duck," goes the traditional blues song, "I’d dive to the bottom, and
never come up."
Well the walking catfish comes up and knows what it’s after,
takes its chances, shaking its bones, over rail lines,
over stones, indifferent
to the inventions and inebriations of the humans that make their own voyaging.
This is a strange
animation, a playful invention loosely based on an inspiration
that comes out of
the south. It requires the song which comfortably plays along,
and it’s a nice
thing that the lyrics can
be found on the web site because you’d never follow them otherwise,
and they are
just (about) as strange as the animation. "Awww sag it … sag it Mama … let it
drop itself off in the past.
"Leaving the past aside, it’s hard to know up from
down in this tune. "I got the blues … from the heat of the sun.
I got the blues … from the heat of the sun. Turn me over on my belly … ‘cause my backside is
If the heat’s from the sun and the beast’s backside is done, it already is on
So we’re talking about a fish in a skillet, but that’s going to be a
heck of a lot hotter than the sun,
no matter how far south the cooking takes
place. Only, we’re not that far south after all,
what with clouds turning into a
map of Ontario and Quebec and woodpeckers pecking at empty bottles
stuck on the
tips of a moose’s antlers. Still, none of this amounts to a criticism, not even
After all, the catfish doesn’t ask why a road is in its path, it
just swishes to the left and swishes to the right,
moving itself along.
that sun …. From the start of the animation the sun is nearly searing white,
its disk implies a frame for the rest of the film. The colours are sepia,
brown, orange, greenish, yellowish, red,
all close to the warm tones of the
earth that our walking catfish stays in close contact with on its way to its
And between the sepia and the sun, time stands still, and place is a
matter of predilection,
really – for the sake of the film, the deep south has
north of the Canada-U.S. border, and, in any case, the
walking catfish was itself introduced to Florida,
and what’s Florida got to do
with the blues?
"I crossed millions of
countries … and each place is my home. And wherever I run to … I’ll be forever
It’s a crazy journey, but maybe not so crazy for anyone who has ever felt like a
fish out of water.