Another name for the pearl mussel hall of shame

Legendary wildlife cameraman Doug Allan appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs this week and cheerfully described his first job after graduating, which involved diving in Scottish rivers in search of pearl mussels. Having already described food writer Nigel Slater’s brush with wildlife crime (see “Pearl mussels and porridge”), I would encourage you to go to the BBC website and listen to the programme if only because of Allan’s vivid description of harvesting and selling pearl mussels in the 1970s.   Wildlife legislation was different then, so the word “crime” is clearly not appropriate. Attitudes have changed, too, though we’ve all heard that defence too often in the various trials associated with Operation Yewtree to feel comfortable.

You’ll also have to listen to Doug Allan’s choice of eight records to take to a desert island. The man redeems himself by making Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road his first choice.

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