Our Sepia Saturday theme image for this Saturday - April Fool's Day - shows two brothers having some fun with an optical illusion on the beach. We sometimes forget how lucky we are these days; with Photoshop and the like we can remove heads from shoulders with a flick of a mouse's tail. Back in the bad old days in order to achieve a similar effect you had to bury one brother deep in the sands and get the other to bend his young head back at an unnatural angle. You'd be locked up for it today. To match the theme I can offer you two brothers having some fun with an optical illusion on the beach - although the illusion was much easier to achieve. And yes, in case you need to ask, those are the Burnett brothers again.
There were, at one time, three Burnett brothers, but for the life of me I can't remember what my other brother was called. In case you think this is a heartless and cruel confession, I should quickly point out that the third brother was merely a fictional convenience. At about the same time as this photograph must have been taken - the early 1960s, I guess - both Roger and I were voracious readers and dependent on the excellent stock of books then held by the local library. However, Halifax Public Library had a policy of issuing only three readers' tickets per member, which, we felt, placed unnecessary restrictions on our thirst for knowledge. We therefore invented the third brother and enrolled him as a member and shared his three tickets between the two of us.
For a time things worked well, but this was back in the days when library staff would take a genuine interest in their readers, and before too long they started wondering why brother Kenneth (I suspect that was his name) never went to the library himself, but sent his brothers to collect his books. We invented some chronic illness to explain the circumstances, but things soon got out of hand. The problems we had were twofold: Roger and I tended to visit the library at different times, and there was an element of competitive mischievousness between the two of us. Thus Roger would visit the Library on a Tuesday and embroider some tale about Kenneth and his sad existence, but fail to update me on the story before my Thursday visit. I would be met with questions about a brother that didn't exist suffering from an illness I knew nothing about; and would respond by notching the strangeness of the story up a peg or two without warning my brother before his regular Tuesday visit. This went on for some time and the life of Kenneth Burnett became an exercise in surrealist fantasy, until we both decided it was time for poor Kenneth to find lasting peace.
I don't recall whether during his short and bizarre life Kenneth ever had his head chopped off whilst on the beach, but - if my memory of those far off days serves me well - that would have been the least of his problems.