As a writer of bestselling paperbacks, Pebblehead tends not to attract serious critical attention. Too often, his works are dismissed as pap for airheads, and while this is arguably the case with such works as Pap For Airheads, Slops Of Triviality Sloshing About Between The Ears, and his thriller The Glazed Stare Of The Brain-Dead Mop-Bucket Zombie, it is an encouraging sign that one or two scholars are addressing the Pebblehead oeuvre with perspicuity and panache. Well, one, rather than one or two.
I refer to Sidney Ullageâ€™s recent article in the literary journal Bookish Goo in which he examines the influence of ploppy noises in Pebbleheadâ€™s as yet unpublished blockbuster Dustbin Of Pomposity! Using critical techniques developed by men with terrific beards, Ullage argues that we cannot begin to understand the book without first being locked up in a dank cellar in which beetles scurry across the mildewed floor and mysterious ploppy noises can be heard, possibly coming from behind a panel hidden in the gloom.
There are those who poo-poo Ullageâ€™s close reasoning and breathtaking critical acuity as the ravings of an idiot. There are those who accuse him of having a decidedly oddly-shaped head and the wrong sort of beard. There are those who, having engaged him in conversation at glamorous cocktail parties in swish urban rooftop gardens, dismiss him as a babbling freak with â€œissuesâ€. There are those who wish he had been strangled at birth and disposed of in a pond. There are those who wish he had never been born at all. There are those who grunt unintelligibly at the mention of his name. There are those who pick holes in the sleeves of their jumpers before shovelling the contents of a jar of pickled sausages down their gullets.
I am proud to be among those who rightly see Sidney Ullage as a harbinger. I am not yet entirely clear what he harbinges, but by all that is holy in heaven and on earth I shall stand here and repeat what I have just said, over and over again, until not only am I blue in the face, but everything around me that has a face, the hens, the cows, the cassowaries, the ducks, the other ducks, they, too, all turn blue in the face, a blue like the mightiest of skies over Pointy Town on a blazing noon when the earth stops spinning.