"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
An oversized flightless bird which reportedly has the strength to “kill with a single blow” is on the loose in the English countryside. It’s unclear just how much danger residents may or may not be in, but the U.K.’s leading tabloids, unsurprisingly, are having a field day.
The bird, a South American rhea, escaped from a farm in Hertfordshire last month. Its owner, Jo Clark, said she keeps four rheas on her property because they eat weeds, and blamed a local hunt for scaring the bird into escaping.
The Daily Mail has what’s probably as close to a definitive account of where it’s gone since, based on the accounts of villagers who encountered it. “Initially, I thought it was a crane, but as I got closer, I realized it wasn’t a crane, and I wondered if it was an emu,” said Ray Murdoch, a retired geography teacher, who managed to get in on camera. “I think the rhea was as amazed to see a cyclist as I was to see a rhea.”
For those unfamiliar with the rhea, the Telegraph provides these helpful facts:
- Thanks to powerful legs and three strong toes on each foot, they can run at up to 40mph.
- The giant birds have a distinctive cry, which sounds more like a mammal’s roar than a bird call.
- With their six-inch claws they can strike a blow with one foot that is capable of disemboweling a human and they can wield their hard beaks as a weapon against attackers.
Adds a spokesperson from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: “They will also go for your eyes with their beak.”
Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email email@example.com.More Lindsay Abrams.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)