The pictures were taken in south London at the Horniman Museum. The Imaginary Brother has been hitting the headlines since February this year but, until now, little was known about him.
Q: “How did these pictures come about?”
A: “I visited in September 2018 to go over a new short story and some editing work we were doing, as well as work on Book 4 – Gunboat. On the way back from a working breakfast at a local pub in an old theatre (a common trend among Wetherspoons pubs), we paid a visit to the Horniman Museum in Dulwich.
The Horniman Museum is mostly notable for its collection of thoroughly repulsive taxidermy and skeletons. Many of the specimens were stuffed by someone who had never seen the living creatures, so had to guess at how they should look.
Apparently, the taxidermist decided the in look at the time was ‘ghoulish’. Rumour has it that H.P. Lovecraft was sent pictures of the specimens during his research for the Cthulhu Mythos.
The Walrus with no skin folds is particularly spectacular. They have some rather revolting dog skulls as well which amply demonstrate that pedigree dogs are actually horribly inbred and it’s probably long past time that we should stop doing that to the poor little blighters.
As we left, James was apparently stunned by the presence of trees in London and stopped to be awed by them. I’m a quick-thinking chap but even so, the subject moves quickly and it was only thanks to a relatively new phone that I was able to capture both shoulders in a rare moment when he was standing still instead of rudely walking ahead at a pace my cardio routine cannot match!”
Q: “How have people reacted to them?”
A: “It’s been such a whirlwind of attention since I took the pictures. Since a conference we attended this year, few have believed that James actually exists. I swore blind that I’d known him all my life and that he’s not, in fact, a figment of my imagination.
Finally having proof that he isn’t entirely imaginary, just imaginative and quick-footed, has been a huge relief. I think some people are still on the fence though and won’t be convinced unless they meet him in person.
Perhaps they’ll be able to do that in Edinburgh next year. I have a plan involving handcuffs, the nearest heavy table and a sign I can hang around his neck. I just can’t work out where to legally obtain tranquillizers.”
Q: Why has it been so difficult to capture pictures in the past?
A: “He’s somewhat camera shy these days but he’s also very quick. I suspect this is partly because he’s always hungry now and zipping about the place take his mind of that.
Usually, he just leaps into traffic without any apparent thought for his safety. It’s something all Londoners and people who move to London seem to consider normal behaviour. My own preference is to assume everyone is a dangerous lunatic and wait until traffic has stopped.
The Imaginary Brother, or James as I’ve generally called him, has been living in London for years and races ahead, crossing roads and leaping on Tube trains without me, seemingly unconcerned by such things as health and safety and being on the same vehicle as the person you’re wandering around London with.”