Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Agnetha's posterior

The manager of the safari camp is flying to London to see ‘Bjorn Again’ perform.

“Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy an Abba CD?” I ask.

“I have all their CDs,” he replies. “I want to be reminded of what they looked like on stage, especially the blond girl with the juicy bottom.”

I smack my lips in wry amusement. I learnt in my circus days that it’s well-nigh impossible for a woman to impersonate the hindquarters of another. Each rump is as unique as a fingerprint and more recognisable than a face to a gorilla. Still, if he wants to delude himself that he’s feasting his eyes on a perfect replica, who am I to rub fish oil on his fantasy?

Full credit to Bjorn Again for inspiring a new generation of fans to listen to those classic Abba tunes. The Swedish foursome are said to admire the act while taking strong exception to the silly accents their impersonators put on when being interviewed. At a recent function celebrating the premier of Mamma Mia, the guests of honour were greeted with the following announcement from the host:

“I’d like to welcome Bjorn and Benny, who as everyone knows speak the Queen’s English. And having met Queen Silvia of Sweden, I can personally testify to the fact!”

The Scandinavian pair pretended to join in the laughter, but departed a few minutes later without speaking to any of the invited journalists.

“Yah, vee shnubbed zem for sure!” said Bjorn shortly afterwards.

I’m pulling your leg – of course he didn’t say that! All the members of Abba have impeccable English accents, perfected in late-night tutorials with Terry Wogan before their Eurovision triumph. Dr Whipsnade’s tailor in Savile Row recently received a phone call from Benny to make an appointment to be measured for a suit. So polished was his pronunciation that the confused couturier initially thought he was speaking to the Duke of Westminster.

“There is no need to call me Your Grace,” said Benny. “I am not wearing my crown at this moment.”

Deceived by this deadpan quip, the tailor eventually discovered that he was talking to a retired pop star rather than a reigning monarch. He who misunderstands the Swedish sense of irony is doomed to play a bit part in an Ingmar Berman movie.

The song-writing genius of the boys was the engine that powered Abba, but its smooth and lustrous bodywork was personified by Agnetha and Anni-Frid. Their feminine European voices were quite a novelty at the time, and an admirable foil to the feisty – but ever-so-slightly butch – singing of the American ladies. My friend Smacker Ramrod, the circus vet, was always glued to the TV when the girls were doing their stuff. I got the impression that he favoured Agnetha. When once she appeared in somewhat revealing attire, he made noises that suggested he longed to bury his face in the crevices of her creamy flesh.

Both ladies, of course, were married at the time, if not very happily to their male co-performers. The subsequent divorces were predictable. Bjorn and Benny may have been perfect “new men”, sharing everything equally with their spouses and leaving the loo seat down, but is that really what a woman wants at the end of the day? It certainly wouldn’t impress a female gorilla. Perhaps the Swedes should start teaching their young men that being a new man only works if you retain an element of the wild impulsive beast. Deep down, a woman needs to know that if she pushes her man too far he’ll fling her onto the bed and bite her body until she begs for mercy.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Men of Science

A round of applause for the astrophysics boffins who’ve confirmed Einstein’s theory for the 200th time. I myself was convinced after the 27th validation, but we gorillas can feel these things in our bones. Einstein is big in the Congo. When the local witch doctor got uppity after a successful voodoo spell, I put him in his place by likening him to a pimple on the great man’s arse.

“He could have snapped his fingers and made you disappear into a Black Hole,” I said. “You would have come out in a new universe with seven extra dimensions – all of them extra fat in your case.”

He pretended to laugh it off, but my spies tell me he’s been trying to lose weight ever since on a diet of river shrimp and water cabbage.

Scientists are feared and respected in our part of the world. Their mojo is big and their medicine is powerful. By “scientist”, I don’t mean pontificators and provocateurs of the Dicky Dawkins variety. Pasty-faced sissies of his ilk would run crying to mummy if their tour bus got a puncture. No, it’s the men with Big Machines who are revered over here – the guys who can sweep Mother Nature off her tender feet and leave her lying in a haystack with a guilty flush on her face. “Don’t mess with The Engineer,” said Wise Old Melonhead, “for he is the wizard who maketh loud noises that causeth the lion to shit its pants”.

Take my old friend
Dr Maroon, born and bred in the mean streets of Glasgow. When most of his schoolmates were bumming cigarettes, he was in the garden shed, dissecting his mother’s hairdryer and putting it together again with 20% more oomph. The other boys may have laughed at the short trousers he wore until his 15th birthday, but that was water off a duck’s back for a lad destined to become the Werner von Braun of the Scotch turbine. Today, Dr Maroon’s finely-chiselled features appear on TV to announce new contracts for the shipbuilders of the Clyde, while the bully who flushed his head in the school bog draws minimum wage in a chippy outside Ibrox Stadium. Brains, talent and hard work – they always tell in the end.

Yet in spite of all their achievements, the technologists of our age have not been given due prominence in popular entertainment. For every Scotty of the Enterprise, there must be a hundred tough-talking TV detectives roughing up suspects and flashing their weapons indiscriminately. Everyone loves to watch Dirty Harry firing his 44 Magnum into the juggernaut trying to flatten him, causing it to crash headlong into a nearby Wal Mart, but spare a thought for the men in hard hats who come round next morning to check the building for structural integrity. In their desire to give people cheap thrills, movie producers have lost sight of the big picture.

Perhaps this lack of exposure explains why engineers have such trouble reproducing. For all his macho talk about warp drive, I can’t remember Scotty ever getting laid. Depriving the human gene pool of their excellent pedigree is a terrible waste. If I were the manager of a sperm bank I’d pay premium rates for their man juice, and give a discount to any loving lesbian couple willing to bear their babies and raise a new generation of techno-men. Perhaps Dr Maroon should get the ball rolling by making a donation forthwith.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Beard of Britain

I’ve been busy making preparations for Richard Branson’s visit to the Congo. He’ll obviously get red carpet treatment at the airport with handshakes from local dignitaries and smooches from their wives. I hope he remembers to squeeze their buns when they embrace him (a local custom) – a peck on the cheek should do for the wives. I’ve arranged an elephant fanfare by bribing the local herd with a sack of chick peas from the safari camp. Fingers crossed that the 10-trumpet salute won’t be emitted from their backsides, leading to embarrassing pictures of the guest of honour screwing up his nose.

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that Sir Richard is coming to our part of the world to hand over five baby gorillas. The soft-hearted plutocrat bought them from a zoo to save them from a life of arse-scratching in front of countless gawking humans. Having been asked to find new homes for the little apelings, I decided to place them with respectable families in Gabon. Frankly, the female gorillas in our locality aren’t as maternal as they used to be – a lot of them hire female chimps as nannies so they can enjoy hectic social lives with weekend trips to the nut orchards and gibbon ranches.

Richard and I go back a long way. We met after he saw me perform in the circus many moons ago. I don’t want you to think he got special treatment. No Sir, he had to queue up and wait his turn like the rest of my fans. As most of them were women he was actually in his element, flashing his famous grin and flirting like a gigolo. He even signed a few autographs himself, the cheeky blighter! When we finally got to exchange words he was amazingly affable and polite, so I invited him to my trailer for a glass of mango juice. (He obviously knew it wasn’t a gay thing – very few gorillas are interested in man-love).

So we met a little later and he told me of his plans to start a new airline. As his business interests were then limited to music and contraceptives, I found this mildly intriguing. He explained that Virgin Atlantic would be a new passenger-friendly carrier with innovative on-flight services and customer-participation in all facets of the journey. He said that he’d travel on the planes himself so he could experience things from the punter’s point of view and listen to their gripes. I must admit being hugely impressed by this attitude. You couldn’t have imagined Lord Wankface of British Airways slumming it with the cabin livestock and walking down the aisle for a slash.

“Richard,” I said, “it sounds like a brilliant idea, but I wouldn’t overdo the customer-participation aspect. People don’t really want to make important decisions when they’re 30,000 feet above sea level. Let the passengers choose what film to watch and leave the flying and the navigation to the pilot. Don’t forget that you’re Virgin by nature as well as by name.”

He nodded thoughtfully. “Yeah GB, you’re right,” he agreed. “You’ve got to delegate duties in an aeroplane, it’s not like piloting a hot-air balloon.”

It was odd that he mentioned balloons, but I chose to let it pass.

Now I’m aware that a lot of people deride Richard as a show-off and self-publicist, needlessly mocking his beard for good measure. That’s because they haven’t the faintest idea of what it’s like to be an over-achiever. Imagine having fulfilled all your dreams before the age of 40 – more money than the Sultan of Brunei; more beautiful bedmates than you can remember under hypnosis; a face as recognisable as Paris Hilton’s and almost as pretty. Success on that scale would destroy your sense of mission. That’s why Richard continually has to prove himself by taking on new challenges, like preventing irreversible climate change and persuading Mugabe to throw in the towel. He may not succeed, but who else would be tackling these pressing problems if he ignored them?

Respect the man who aims high, for the man who aims low is sniffing chicken-shit. (Colonel Sanders).

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Packing rubber

I hear that a pair of shrewd businessmen are planning to market condoms as a vanity item for a lady’s handbag. They argue that if the love-gloves are tastefully packaged no woman will leave home without them. Perhaps they should also emphasize that mere possession does not imply intent to use. The chastest woman on Earth should take pride in promoting the safe-sex message while equipping herself for emergencies. One assumes, nevertheless, that un-opened packets would be replaced well before their “use by” date to avoid ridicule. The well-bred woman must steer a middle course between retaining obsolete rubbers and procuring fresh ones every time she has a tennis lesson.

Speaking as a gorilla, I have every respect for women who keep condoms discreetly about their person. The motto of the brownies is “be prepared”, and even a good girl might find herself tempted by an eager young Adonis who is not quite ready for fatherhood. The first woman I knew who kept condoms in her possession was an acrobat from my circus days. I discovered her secret in the act of doing her a favour – which was to buy her a pack of three while getting something for my ticklish cough.

“Aren’t men supposed to keep those things?” I asked in all innocence before leaving.

“Would you trust a sniper to give his victim a bullet-proof vest?” she replied.

I judged this to be a rhetorical question of the kind that Jesus used to ask his disciples.

“I shall ponder your profound analogy on my way to the chemist,” I said.

I gather that a lot of men get embarrassed when buying condoms. Being a gorilla, my jungle instincts told me that attack would be the best form of defence. On entering the shop, I looked at the fellow behind the counter and sized him up. He was evidently a smug little twerp who needed to be put in his place.

“A bottle of cough syrup and a packet of your finest willy-wrappers!” I said loudly.

“Yer what?” he replied with an oafish expression on his face.

“Cough syrup and condoms!” I barked impatiently.

“I never knew you gorillas used ‘em!” he remarked wryly.

“We don’t,” I replied. “They are for a lady friend. She likes to put them on her sausages to prevent the juices from escaping when she’s cooking them.”

Perhaps unsure of whether I was speaking figuratively or literally, this statement left him temporarily dumbfounded. He fetched the requested items and placed them on the counter, which prompted me to hand over the cash and take possession of them.

“How hairy is this lady friend of yours?” he asked facetiously as I made my way to the exit.

I turned to give him a scornful glance. “The woman is your sister,” I declared, “and therefore slightly less hairy than a gorilla.”

I should mention here that I don’t generally approve of coarse remarks about a man’s sister. However there are exceptions to every rule. In the film Victor/Victoria, James Garner enters a tavern in a rough area of Paris after the exposure of his affair with a male transvestite (actually a woman played by Julie Andrews). He asks the bartender for a glass of milk. “Cow’s milk or mother’s milk?” replies the latter. “Your sister’s!” retorts Mr Garner, and a massive brawl erupts. Although I had no intention of scrapping with that impudent pharmacist, I wasn’t going to let him have the last word.

On returning to the circus, I found Miss Acrobat and handed over the goods to heartfelt thanks. I sensed she had plans for the evening and could not resist putting the following question to her:

“How does a lady go about asking a gentleman to wear one of her protectors?”

She fluttered her eyelids in humorous affectation. “I ask him if he’d like me to put a condom on him,” she explained. “It’s my way of letting him know that I’m ready for bed.”

I had to agree that even the most imbecilic suitor would find such an overture difficult to misinterpret. I left with the impression that she had much to teach the women of her generation.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I'd like to buy the world a Coke

“Oo torcher to play the drums?” asked a cheeky girl from Essex the other day.

I knew instantly that she was referring to the
TV commercial in which a gorilla does the stick-work in a famous pop song.

“You have mistaken me for another ape,” I answered curtly. “My forte lies in wind rather than percussion.”

“Ha-ha, I bet it does!” she exclaimed, chuckling hoarsely.

“If you inhaled my wind instead of cigarette smoke your voice might be rather less rasping.” I said with a smirk.

She reacted to this kindly advice by sticking out her tongue. I responded by sticking out my own tongue. One must be robust when sparring with the chav.

I wouldn’t have been the Cadbury’s gorilla even if I had been a virtuoso drummer –
their chocolate is frankly B-grade. But I did once apply for a role in an advertisement for Levi Strauss & Co. It was the one where an affected young man swaggers into a laundrette and stuffs his jeans into a washing machine. I wasn’t interested in his part, of course – a gorilla would never encase his loins in anything so tight. No, I wanted to play the character who sits next to the boy as he peruses a periodical in his boxer shorts.

So Dr Whipsnade arranged a meeting with the Levi Strauss bigwigs. I told them that if they really wanted to be cutting edge they should have me in the commercial instead of the constipated fat man who turns to stare at the lad after he sits down. I said I’d give the boy the famous “your mamma’s in my harem” glare of the male gorilla. It would be a sight to make the pantless jean-aspiring demographic gasp in awe.

“An intriguing idea, Mr Bananas,” said the biggest of the bigwigs. “But why would a gorilla be in a laundrette?”

Thinking on my hands and feet, I said: “I could enter wearing my circus pantaloons and put them in the next-door machine.”

The man sucked on his pen. “Leave it with us,” he said. “We’ll discuss it with our creative people.”

They later wrote to say that my proposal had been vetoed on the grounds that it would “make a mockery” of the Levi's brand, which shows how much those punks know.

Those who hope to see me in a TV commercial may yet be indulged. No less a concern than The Coca-Cola Company has asked me to star in a film promoting their caffeinated pop. Unfortunately, the script they sent me was utterly daft. It has a gorilla accepting a bunch of bananas from a thirsty man and handing him a bottle of Coke in return. We gorillas rarely barter with humans and never ask for bananas when we do. Why pay for fruit that we can pluck for free?

So I’ve sent them my own idea, which I think you’ll agree is a pippin. It's basically a remake of the
most famous Coke advert of all – the one where pretty young humans of all races congregate on a hill and sing in perfect harmony. The symbolism was powerful but the idealism was unrealistic. Anyone knows that bringing feuding tribes together requires a mediator: a disinterested party, that is to say, who allays mutual suspicions by acting as an honest broker. This is the role I would assume, first playing the opening bars of the tune on my recorder (in close-up), then conducting the motley choir in the vocals. In essence, I would replace the blond American virgin who sang the first line of the song in the original.

They are currently evaluating my proposal, no doubt testing it with focus groups and estimating its likely impact on cola drinkers in every market segment. You don’t rush into a ground-breaking advertising campaign when you’re promoting a brand as big as Coca-Cola. The good news is that they’ve recently appointed a new head of advertising who is both homosexual and a fan of the circus. I believe he saw me perform in San Francisco. You can always trust the gays to give a fair hearing to revolutionary concepts in art.

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