A few years back, in an online news item, we unwisely took sides online in a controversy outside Ireland about which we were not well informed. Thought we’d bring in a bit of edgy journalism. We suggested that one of the protagonists in a dispute was profiting from the ensuing publicity. We were quickly showered with feedback, most of it supporting our position, but expanding on it in ways that suggested we would not be inviting any of these supporters round to dinner. Within a few days, if you Googled the main protagonist’s name, our news item came up first on the list. Finally the protagist wrote to us to point out what grief we were causing.

For obvious reasons, I’m not saying who the protagonist was. I was reminded just now, however, of the matter by an e-mail I received today. It’s from Nigeria, apparently, the home of tricky spam. This one read:

1)please sir i want to know how much will it cost me to have nsk passport.

2 how long will it take before it will be ready.

3)how can i bord fron nigeria to nsk

3) can couples apply for nsk passport.

4) how can i get nsk application form.

please mail me back

We’ve covered NSK a few times online, such as here. NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst) issue fake passports to a fake, utopian country. Sometimes, when you fool around in a way you think is artistic, or sensible, or controversial or just interesting, you come up against things you really wish you hadn’t, when outside reality comes knocking on your door.

Haven’t a clue how I’m going to respond to the Nigerian query (and I’m even hoping it’s a spoof).