Monday, 9 February 2009

circus monkey's mirror

Every week Marcel, the reluctant circus monkey, will hold up his metaphorical mirror to this crazy society of ours and give us his considered views on human relationships, the credit crisis, celebrity culture, the media, war and peace - the whole caboodle.
In these straightened times don't take life too seriously,
just make every Monday "Circus Monkey Monday" - You know it makes a sort of sense !

Anyway, to begin at the beginning...............It was a Thursday afternoon just before the season of the heavy rains and my extended family (or tribe, if you prefer) had just come to the end of one of our regular gatherings where we make decisions about how things are run - you would probably call it a Community Council Meeting, although not a Town Council Meeting - we are a bit more civilized than that. Everything at the meeting had been settled amicably as we are a peaceable lot in the main, unlike those screeching, backside waving hooligans on the other side of the river. That lot are not fit to be described as human beings, let alone monkeys.

The other members of my little community had wandered back to our camp to take up their various tasks but I was ahead with all of mine and had some free time due to me, so I had decided to linger in the clearing for a while and bask in the sun that was streaming through the forest canopy. With the rainy season due any day I wasn't sure how long it would be before I'd get a chance to do a little basking again.

I was just on the point of nodding off when I had that eerie feeling, with which I am sure you are all familiar, of being watched by someone near to you but out of sight. I opened my eyes and had a surreptitious look around just to be on the safe side as it were.

Sure enough!" There they were. Two of them. Hiding behind a tree just at the edge of the clearing: a buxom blonde human of the female persuasion with her hair tied so tightly in a bun behind her head that it had the effect of giving her eyes a permanently wide open, startled expression. The other one, a ratty looking little man approaching his middle years was fiddling about on the ground with some contraption that I could not see.

In their confounded arrogance they obviously believed that I was completely oblivious to their presence. It never ceases to amaze and irritate me how human beings underrate the Simian world. I continued to observe them out of the corner of my eye with mounting interest but, at that stage, no panic whatever.

Then the buxom woman held up what looked to me like a copper bangle for her colleague's inspection and I "twigged" right away - the jungle grapevine isn't there for no reason. The human beings were "at it" again, doing what human beings do best, which is to say, sticking their big beaks into other species' business

This was another of those exercises where they slap a metal collar on some poor chap and follow his every move on one of their infernally "clever" machines. Talk about a police state! That David Attenborough has a great deal to answer for. It's not even as if my life is particularly interesting: up one jungle path, down the other, a visit to the river bank, the occassional (very occassional) attempt at mating and that just about sums it up. It's even more boring than Big Brother, although, I must say a good deal more civilized.

I digress. You can be sure that I was still keeping on these two interlopers and getting more nervous by the minute. It was the thing that "ratty" was fiddling with on the ground that most concerned me. A terrible thought hit me like a hammer blow. Perhaps their expedition was more culinary than scientific. For all I knew a certain fast food chain was running out of cows to stuff into their burgers and was diversifying into Mc Monkeys.

Just then "ratty" caught his hand in whatever contraption he had been fiddling with and let out an involuntary yell. The "bun" yelled at him and, at that very moment, they both realised that I had been alerted to their presence.

Enough was enough. Whatever their reasons for being here, be it scientific, culinary or social, I was off. I turned to flee just as the little man got himself organised and pulled a trigger which sent a net flying in my direction. It missed me by just short of a foot, my left foot actually, and I would have made a clean get away if I hadn't tripped over a large box full of camera equipment left lying about by a natural history cameraman who had, all the while been filming away a few yards behind me. Well I don't have eyes in the back of my head!
So there I was rolling backwards and forwards in absolute agony and competing with the Howler Monkeys to see who could make the most noise but even worse than the pain was the fact that no-one, and I mean, no-one seemed to want to save me from these interlopers.
And don't talk to me about our friendly local tribesmen. Hopeless. Absolutely hopeless. I could sense that they were somewhere near at hand but there was not so much as a cheep out of them. In hindsight, they were probably sitting around in their little circle drinking that stuff that gives them visions (no need for a T.V. licence in my part of the jungle). Pity. A quick round of poisoned arrows and I would still be at large and the Discovery Channel would have rather a large hole in their schedules to fill.
No such luck for your correspondent. The "bun" was bearing down on me wearing a very determined look and carrying a very large needle. Before I could say "Bingo, bango bongo I don't want to leave the Congo she had stuck it in.............well lets just say that the exact location was not a million miles from where the proverbial monkey stuck its proverbial nuts. To add insult to injury she had the colossal nerve, not to mention hypocrisy, to stroke my head and smile at me.
I rolled onto my back, head swimming, and stared into her face. Before I lost consciousness, I remember seeing a pair of startled eyes reflected in her permanently startled eyes. It was a split second before I realised they were mine!
Next week: I wake up in your world Am made to work for my keep And come to a decision.


  1. Nice looking blog John! I am looking forward to reading your next post :)

  2. Thanks Holler,
    Your site is great. It treats good food as it should be treated - as one of life's delights and not as something to be in awe of.