Experts urged to ratify Minamata Convention to phase out mercury-added products পারদযুক্ত পণ্যের ব্যবহার বন্ধে মিনামাতা কনভেনশন অনুমোদনের আহ্বান সেন্টমার্টিন সৈকতে প্লাস্টিকের আগ্রাসন 72 birds die eating pesticide-treated masakalai Educate girls to save the planet শিশুর সর্দি-কাশি সারানোর ঘরোয়া উপায় 50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They’re 12 24 thousand under 5 children die of pneumonia in Bangladesh annually গ্রিনহাউস গ্যাস কমানোর লক্ষ্যে নানা উদ্যোগ Maldives: Eco-friendly product export destination for Bangladesh

21st-century fox: how nature’s favourite outsider seduced the suburbs

Not so long ago, they were the pests that made a mess on the lawn. But now they have crept into our homes – their images on mugs, cushions and tea towels – into TV adverts, fashion and literature. British cities are full of foxes. Within a mile of my home in east London, there is one with an organic gastro menu, one stuffed with feathers that, when plumped, makes my desk chair more comfortable, and another, in pen and ink, on the masthead of the Hackney Citizen. There is one on a mug, another on a toast rack, one on a poster advertising the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. And then, of course, there are the two – one a little mangy, the other fine and bushy – that visit my back garden. I say “visit”, but I doubt they see it like that. Foxes are having a moment in popular culture. Admittedly, I have a highly sensitive fox radar, because four years ago I started to write a novel, called How to be Human, about a woman who sees a fox on her lawn one day, and thinks he winks at her. She becomes obsessed with him – she never doubts he is a he – and undergoes a, let’s say, emotional rewilding. I had only written two chapters when Sarah Hall won the BBC short story award with Mrs Fox, and the Norwegian duo Ylvis released their song The Fox (What Does the Fox Say)? I remember feeling aghast that the fox was finished. But of course it wasn’t. Foxes have thrived across the cultural spectrum with the sort of virility that people living in cities often ascribe to the creatures themselves. Foxes have stolen into our homes. There are fox tea towels, mugs, greetings cards and even – despite all those tabloid stories about foxes who want to eat your children – foxy babygrows. There are more than 5,000 listings for fox cushions on Amazon. Once upon a time, foxes were just a nuisance that crapped on the lawn. Now they have been appropriated by product designers, and seduced the suburbs. I doubt there is a clearer testament to this animal’s middle-class acceptability than its starring role in the John Lewis Christmas ad. The trend runs through all price points from a £1,400 dress by Dolce & Gabbana embroidered with foxes down to a Peacocks fox sweater. At one recent literary event I attended, two members of the audience were wearing fox jumpers. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a homage, just the law of averages in a room of a hundred people. In literature, so far this year, a fox stalks across a car park during a key erotic encounter in Ross Raisin’s A Natural; another sparks a rare moment of human connection in Gwendoline Reilly’s brilliant First Love, and foxes adorn the covers of Sara Baume’s A Line Made for Walking and Laura Kaye’s English Animals. No wonder Apple decided to help humans communicate their vulpine obsession by launching a fox emoji.

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Posted by on Apr 10 2017. Filed under Wildlife. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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