WEST BROMWICH, UK | It's been almost a year since the last sighting of the Lesser-Spotted Ginger Mo in The Black Country. But reports from Sandwell confirm that this rare beast has indeed returned for its bizarre annual ritual.
Like last year, the source of its arrival remains undercover; lips behind said source remain sealed to the public. However, we've been able to lay our hands on the one exclusive photo thus far to prove that the Lesser-Spotted Ginger Mo is more than mere myth.
What do we know about the Mo?
There are conflicting views about where and when the Mo originated. The first hint of its existence aired a little before the end of the last millennium on the Seven Nightly News, Australia:
This was in 1999. But due to the circumstances surrounding the source at that time, it was passed off as little more than a "hair-brained", beer-induced publicity stunt.
When a group of enthusiasts threatened legal action, the Mo went underground, despite growing a considerable following in Adelaide and around the Australian state in a relatively short time.
The Mo returns, prouder, stronger and more visible than ever
In 2003, the Mo was again in the news down under. Threats of legal action were set aside when claims of ownership were waived or deemed unfounded.
In order to verify and preserve its status, activists spent their weekends and spare time raising awareness, ensuring that the Mo wasn't forced from public view a second time around.
Adam Garone, one of the main participants in the project during 2003 thru 2005, co-launched a Foundation Trust to drum up support.
With an official base camp, Adam and the gang could now seek ways to populate other countries with the Mo. To engender familiarity, they started with neighbouring New Zealand.
If its rise to prominence was unprecedented in 1999, four years later popularity (and subsequent sightings and adoption) of the Mo became astronomic!
Today, the organisation employees 90 people and has six offices around the world, in Melbourne, L.A., London and Toronto.
Such sizeable support is needed, too. The Mo has become an integral part of both men's and women's lives for its fleeting annual visit.
The Lesser-Spotted Ginger Mo, who would only pass one small comment, testifies to the dual gender support the Mo now gets:
"It's great to be back in Sandwell with my Mo.
"Good to see the Mother-in-Law getting involved, too. But it looks like she started growing hers a little early, this year…"
2011 - The Mo hits Social and cements its place in history
In 2011, the UK public adopted the Mo in a real sense for the first time. The support that Celtic legend John Hartson received from other sportsmen showed that growing and owning a Mo may not cure illness, but it can raise awareness of men's health issues. More importantly, if enough people grow and publicly wear their Mo, much needed funds into research will help prevent their occurrence in the first instance.
As well as prominent sports and music starts supporting the Mo in 2011 (Snoop Dog and Phil Taylor amongst the most renown), Garone took to social media to explain why the Mo is so important.
It was necessary, too. It's commonly accepted that what people don't know, they fear. A few years beforehand, a New Zealand college had excluded students from year-end prizes and threatened to ban one graduate from sitting exams for supporting the Mo.
There's a candid interview on LinkedIn Pulse, where he answers a Q & A session with Florencia Iriondo.
For more in-depth insight, here's the TED talk Garone gave in the same year to explain his Foundation to the masses and to help educate people in the need to keep the Mo alive:
What you can do to support MOvember
Okay - so you've cottoned on to the fact that this article is about Movember and its origins, right? Cool.
It doesn't matter what month it is. You can donate all year round. Here's my Mospace on the official UK Movember site. Do drop in and give me a wave of support or a share, even if you can't spare a dime yourself.
As Garone explains in the 2011 LinkedIn interview, November just happens to be when the public's awareness of the Mo is greatest. It would be awesome if you could donate just a pound or two, whatever you feel comfortable with. No one judges those who give freely. Thanks for reading.
- Original "Seven Nightly News" broadcast (1999): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPH0qQFqs0M
- LinkedIn interview: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20121128095828-30293285-movember-how-one-man-turned-the-moustache-into-a-movement
- TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/adam_garone_healthier_men_one_moustache_at_a_time
- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movember#Origins