Phil the Elf

Sometime before the end of 2013 I saw the following request on Freecycle: a network of e-mail groups dedicated to recycling everything from furniture to foodstuffs to beauty products.


 Meat Mincer, Bag of Jump leads, Portable CD Player

 Any condition – but only working products considered.

 Phil the Elf.

Its easy to pigeonhole the users of the Freecycle network as tree-hugging new-agers; the type of people who try and distance themselves from the waste and excesses of  consumerism. Picture bicycle riding, hobbit-like people. Picture hemp shirts and fair-trade harem pants. Picture people who are a little too nice for the ugly world we inhabit.

Then Phil the Elf comes along with a name that’s a mash-up of Tolkein and old-school English geezer. Was he for real, or someone’s idea of festive humor?  after all it was close to Christmas when his unusual request joined the list of sofa beds and Billy bookcases.

I say unusual, because individually the items are perfectly innocuous;  but if you group them together, and assume a common purpose – then you end-up with something a little more sinister.

Anyway this merry prankster or serial killer or innocent freecycler caught my attention. I noted down the details of his wanted ad in a moleskine book; and let it ferment for a couple of months.

Now all I have to do is finish  the story of  Phil; his Meat Mincer, Bag of Jump leads and Portable CD Player.

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