You, Spinderella and the mummy


A spider!

They’re going to have a giant spider strung over Flinders Street East in Townsville?

Oh great. Oh very good.

Other places get koalas. Or wombats. Or bilbies.

Townsville gets a spider.

There are some factors they have overlooked at the Museum of Tropical North Queensland, which will be hosting this… this… arachnid.

Starting with arachnophobia.

I mean, if they’d chosen a wallaby or a sugar glider it’s a fair bet there would have been very few people out there with wallophobia or glideritis.

But it is a Well Known Fact that lots of people are turned to jelly by spiders — and that’s before they’ve bitten you and their venom has turned your insides to soup.

In future these people will have to go the long way round because the road to The Strand will be blocked by their worst nightmare.

Then there’s the tourists. You have to remember that when a Pom visits Australia he has already heard about the wildlife… “Yerss mate… cockroaches like tortoises. And the flaming spiders… gigantic, mate! Like bleedin’ dinner plates.”

Then they drive into Townsville and barring their way is Spinderella.

They are going to drive in stunned horror straight up the kerb and through the front door of Molly Malone’s. Which will be lucky because they’ll be able to order a couple of stiff whiskeys, which they’ll need.

I have questions.

One of them is — who came up with a spider?

I mean, it’s certainly arresting. But a giant slug would be arresting. Or a mosquito. But they don’t sell things.

I am fairly certain there are no products out there that are being sold through the medium of a cute spider.

They use dogs to sell cars and paint, puppies to sell toilet rolls, cows to sell cheese and lambs to sell wool.

They don’t use spiders to sell anything.

Well, maybe pesticides.

But I am being unkind. In Tropical North Queensland it’s not easy to choose a creature that won’t bite you, suck you, sting you, poison you, kick you, infect you, frighten you or eat you.

Or all of these things.

But what about… well, a frog, say? Some of them are fairly harmless. And a giant frog is beyond the realms of possibility. You can look at a giant frog and say: “Wow… a giant frog… I wonder how they built that.”

Which is better than: “Aaaaaaaagh! Turn the car round!”

Then there’s the web.

I shall be keeping a close eye on the web. I shall want to be absolutely sure nothing appears in it tightly wrapped in sticky thread.

Especially not anyone I know.

If I come out of Molly’s one night and find a mummified body hanging alongside Spinderella it will be, you may say, a prank.

But the thing is, at 11 o’clock at night, when the moon is hidden behind brooding clouds, the wind is moaning through the creaking pub signs while sea fog turns the lamplight to a glimmer, and there’s only you, the mummy and Spinderella — how can you be sure…?