Curator's Blog

Series K, Episode 3


K-Folk


Curated by Andrew Hunter Murray

When we started working on the K series, I felt like a bit of escapism, and as mental escapism is both cheaper and more carbon neutral than the other kind, the other Elves and I found it in the atlas under K.
 
We started in the Kalahari Desert – more or less. It seems that the area we know as 'The Kalahari' isn't actually a desert – there are bits which are quite lush. We thought about starting with 'Name a desert beginning with K' and forfeiting 'Kalahari'. However, the kybosh was put on the question by the revelation that there is a small area of desert inside the Kalahari which you could probably call the 'Kalahari Desert'. Klaxon dodged, luckily for Alan.
 
Luckily for us, the meerkats that live in the Kalahari are much more interesting than whatever the place is called. Meerkats' various unsavoury hobbies of infanticide, indolence and inbreeding proved a lot of fun for our guests. (In a nutshell: don't buy one, no matter how cute they are in the adverts).

 

The kybosh was put on the question by the revelation that there is a small area of desert inside the Kalahari which you could probably call the 'Kalahari Desert'. Klaxon dodged, luckily for Alan.


From the Kalahari we moved to Korea, whose language contains such wonderful phrases as 'the other man's rice cake always looks bigger'. This, we thought, lent itself very well to a 'guess-the-Korean-idiom' game (the one above, of course, translates as 'the grass is always greener on the other side'). We also wanted to run a question about North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's golfing habits – it seems as though his legendary score of 11 holes-in-one, on his first ever game of golf, was as much an invention of the Western media as it was of the Korean propaganda machine. Sadly, reasons of time prevented us running the question, but it did mean I got to write to the North Korean government inquiring about the Dear Leader's par. They haven't written back yet.

 

Meerkats' various unsavoury hobbies of infanticide, indolence and inbreeding proved a lot of fun for our guests. (In a nutshell: don't buy one, no matter how cute they are in the adverts).
 

We also got to find out about the people of the world whose names started with K – Burma's amazing long-necked Karen (who turned out to be very poorly named), the Korowai people of Papua New Guinea who build the most impressive treehouses you could wish for, and finally the Captain of Kopenick, a man who conned the German army just by wearing a military coat and looking confident.
 
There is so much more we could have written about – the curious fact about the real name of the mountain K2 (which turns out to be K2), the only pig in Kabul, or the wildly-named Florida Keys. But they'll have to wait. Until we go to Latvia, Liechtenstein and Lesotho, happy travels.*
 
*Confession: in last year's Curator's Blog, writing about the episode on J-Places, I confidently predicted that this year I would be writing about Kuwait, Kazakhstan and Kiribati. I was, and remain, dead wrong on this, so these predictions are to be taken with a barrel of salt. Next year we are just as likely to write about Luxembourg, Leicester and Liberia, unless I predict we'll cover them, in which case it's anyone's guess.