It is of course no great surprise that where facts fail to deliver, rumours flock to fill the gap, particularly in this age where speed of communication is measured in megabytes per second, publication on the internet remains entirely unregulated, and many millions of people spend their working days sat, bored, in front of networked computers. Quite how, and by whom, word of Tobias James (and the multiple frauds he committed against the APT) was first leaked remains unknown, despite our many efforts, but whatever few facts had been leaked were soon overshadowed by the many rumours and speculations that have, over recent months, been filling the pages of various chat-rooms and blog-sites. As has been clearly demonstrated we at the APT do indeed harbour many suspicions against Mr. James and most certainly feel he has a case to answer, however we would strongly caution the reader against taking too seriously any speculations which go beyond that which has already been presented here.
As is usually the case with rumours, they can be divided into four broad categories: those which are palpably absurd but somehow touch upon a desire in people for them to be true; those which are more plausible and yet have no basis whatever in fact; those that touch upon truth yet bend it considerably out of shape; and those that turn out to have been correct all along. In the interests of maintaining good relations with the BPD we have agreed to not mention any of those more plausible rumours lest we inadvertently reveal information currently deemed “sensitive”,and instead present here a few of the more absurd and clearly unsubstantiated speculations currently making the rounds. As might be expected they include all the usual suspects:
- Alien abduction – that Mr. James was some form of shape-shifting alien shot down by the US Air Force over New Mexico, hence his lack of a recorded past; that his false moustache is worn to disguise his inability to mimic the human philtrum; that his mission is to capture a prime specimen of fertile breeding stock for medical experimentation back on his planet (it has been proposed by some that this particularly species may procreate through the exchange of vocalised sound frequencies, therefore effectively through song rather than physical contact, hence the choice of Miss Palmer). However, given Mr. James’ clear command of written English/American idioms this seems unlikely. In addition, the one photograph we have of James clearly displays a fine example of a human philtrum.
- Government conspiracy – that Mr. James was an orphan who was adopted by an elite group within the CIA and trained from childhood for this particular type of infiltration mission. When the order came through that Miss Palmer was to be “taken out”he turned rogue and has placed her in a safe house having left a carefully constructed false trail. The texts he then placed in this book contain coded messages to other rogue cells and were they to be decoded they could bring down the whole CIA, if not the US government. Again there is an obvious however... James is known to have left behind his memory card when fleeing the internet cafe, which is hardly what one would expect from a crack agent trained since childhood. In addition, there is no obvious reason why Miss Palmer would be considered any kind of threat to the US government.
- “Love child” – that Mr. James is Miss Palmer’s son from a teenage affair attributed to many improbable men, and a few that, though more possible, are equally unlikely. Among the more extraordinary claims is that he is Miss Palmer’s “love child” with John Denver, and it seems that in 1986, when in her early teens, Miss Palmer did indeed run away with the John Denver road-show for a week, however there is no evidence that she at any point became pregnant, nor gave birth to a child. In addition this rumour bears no relation to anything that we do know about Mr. James, nor does it attempt to explain his writing of the texts or the case of Text Number Nine. It is however interesting to note that though this rumour is entirely compatible with the government conspiracy rumour (had the love child been put up for adoption) no rumour we have come across has yet made this link.
- Love affair – that Mr. James and Miss Palmer had been conducting a secret love affair over the year previous to her apparent demise, and that the pressures of her extraordinary and sudden success as an artist and performer had pushed them both to the limit with regard to maintaining a healthy secret relationship. As a result Miss Palmer decided to stage her own death and Mr. James used all his many means to distract attention from this fact by sowing the seeds of discord and mistrust amongst all who knew her, and indeed all who are involved in investigating her death. This rumour might seem faintly plausible (though entirely unsubstantiated) were it not for the fact that Miss Palmer is well known to have had little or no interest in younger men, preferring considerably older men and, more often still, older women, for her sexual and love liaisons.
- Self perpetuation – that Mr. James himself is personally responsible for starting all of the above rumours and many others unmentioned in an attempt raise his own public profile and to generate intrigue and menace in the run-up to publication of this book, thus hoping to considerably boost sales and therefore his own royalty income and literary prestige. This rumour is among the more compelling, chiming as it does with an increased public understanding of the means and power of marketing ploys, however the APT can assure the reader that Mr. James will be receiving no royalties from sales of this book (all profits, if any, will go towards the funding of further APT artistic projects) nor does the APT have any contact whatsoever with Mr. James, or any idea as to his current whereabouts.
There are, of course, many further rumours and speculations, some of them more ludicrous, some more plausible, but all, as yet, entirely unsubstantiated. Those mentioned above are merely the most repeated. For the curious reader who wishes to take this line of research further a cursory internet search (“Amanda Palmer” “Tobias James”) will reveal many thousands of pages that link the two names, in most cases directly, however, the APT wishes to make it clear that it in no way endorses the making of such a search, nor can it be held in any way responsible for the content of third party websites.
- Read the Improtant Preface to the Second Edition
- Read an extract from On the Dancing Death of Amanda Palmer
- Read an extract from On the Aesthetic Decline of the Mock Funeral
- Read an extract from On the Unsung Death of Amanda Palmer