Monday, November 27, 2006

Disquiet Down Under

Shocking news from Australia: a drunk driver dashes out of his car, kidnaps a snake minding its own business, and brandishes it menacingly at the policemen who stopped him. Having been collared against its will, the snake shows its displeasure by hissing and sticking out its tongue. The startled police officers make evasive manoeuvres, allowing the man to abscond until he is later arrested.

I have no particular interest in defending the rights of snakes. What concerns me is the sheer lunacy of snatching one of these creatures from the undergrowth in order to set it on a policeman. Snakes will not bite people simply because you ask them to. They’re very finicky about that sort of thing and generally prefer to keep a low profile. It’s true that we hairy apes have often found them to be a pain in the arse, sometimes figuratively and more often literally. But there is a world of difference between accidentally sitting on a serpent and trying to cop-opt it as a comrade-in-arms. Snakes are loners who do not fight in collective causes, whether from ideological conviction or as mercenaries.

Now I’m not going to fall for the tired old chestnut that the importation of convicts has made the human stock in Australia criminally inclined. The historical archives show that all the really serious offenders (and quite a few less serious ones) were hanged without compunction in the British Isles. Those sent to Australia were guilty of little more than stealing a turnip or insulting a gentleman. Their inheritable traits were those of the cheeky chappy rather than the incorrigible villain.

No, the problem is cultural. The rot set in when that blighter Ned Kelly arrived on the scene. The man was a scoundrel of the first water, and his elevation to folk-hero status dealt a crushing blow to the prospects of an orderly society. Things might have turned out differently if Mr Kelly had been counselled by a gorilla before proceeding in his ignoble schemes. Had one of my ancestors been in Victoria in 1878, he would have certainly invited the outlaw for a quiet chat over a game of croquet.

“Kelly,” he would have said, “shooting policemen simply isn’t done. If you want to lodge a complaint against the constabulary you must go through the proper channels. I’ll have a word with the State Governor myself if you think you’ve been dealt with unjustly. In the meantime, abandon all thoughts of putting an iron balaclava over your head. You’ll look like an ass and won’t be able to see where you’re going.”

Mr Kelly might have ignored these recommendations, of course, but I’ve often found that headstrong humans are more inclined to heed a plain-spoken gorilla than one of their own kind. Sometimes, the only way of getting disinterested advice is to look outside your own species.

There’s not much a gorilla could do in Australia now, though. As I see it, the only hope is for Australian expatriates to return home and instil a bit of rectitude in their countrymen. Germaine Greer, the feminist intellectual, is the kind of towering figure who might bitch-slap a few scruples into the snake-handlers and possum-eaters of her native land. But it might be asking too much of a woman of her refinement to put up with getting her bum pinched and being called a ‘Sheila’. Perhaps Rolf Harris would be a more plausible candidate for the job. The sight of that bearded sage blowing his didgeridoo and panting like a dog would surely remind Australians that there are finer things in their culture than getting pissed and braying like a bogan.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The liberation of Britney Spears

Britney Spears seems to have shocked a few people by going ice-skating after filing for divorce. Perhaps they expected her to retire to her apartment with a box of Kleenex and a gaggle of girlfriends to assure her that men are swine. Her lack of remorse suggests that marrying a slimy dullard does at least ease the pain of separation. A mountain of cash is also a great comfort in difficult times, particularly when a pre-nuptial contract will keep it beyond the reach of grasping hands. After gliding gaily around the ice-rink, she ought to have appeared on her balcony to empty vast tubs of popcorn and candy over her excited fans.

How will Britney’s caddish consort react to being served with divorce papers? According to Dr Whipsnade, a gentleman should respond to such an eventuality by taking a pinch of snuff and playing a game of billiards at his club. Regrettably, it appears that Mr Federline has no intention of acquitting himself with such decorum. Dark rumours concerning blackmail and
sex videos are already circulating and we await the rapster’s revenge with a sense of foreboding. Let’s just hope the impending drama doesn’t inspire him to compose more doggerel.

Now a lot of people will blame Ms Spears for getting hitched to this certified gumboil. What they don’t understand is that young mammals are risk-takers who crave new experiences. This wasn’t Britney’s first marriage. A few years ago, she contracted a whimsical alliance with a childhood friend that was annulled after 55 hours. “Honestly, I really wanted to see what it was like to be married,” she explained. Her union with Federline probably arose from her natural curiosity about rap singers, infidelity, stupidity, etc. We gorillas tend to forgive this sort of impetuous behaviour in the young – if you don’t experiment in the springtime of life, you probably never will.

Britney is actually the kind of daughter who would make a gorilla proud. She’s inquisitive, a good dancer and has started reproducing early. Her choice of mate was poor, but we all make mistakes, and there are many good breeding years ahead of her. Now is the time to consider her next career move. I would advise her to move into a mansion in a small mid-western town, taking a film crew and a cast of character actors with her. The actors would play sitcom roles guaranteed to produce chuckles in homes throughout America – a gay butler who nags Britney about her wardrobe and treats her suitors with haughty disdain; a less-cute female friend who tells angst-ridden anecdotes about her love life; a family cook who ends each episode with the perfect, wry one-liner. Topping the ratings with a show like that would be one in the eye for all those nasty critics who’ve written Britney off as a worn-out piece of trailer trash.

A key attraction of the show would be watching Britney raise her kids, teaching them to chop wood, shoot jackrabbits and play the banjo. As the two unfortunates sired by Federline are unlikely to be good television, it’s essential that she bears more children. Prominent men could be invited to co-star in episodes where Britney has a romantic dalliance. I expect I might persuade Danny Craig to put his virility to the test before shooting starts on the next Bond movie. Richard Dawkins is another who ought to be willing to contribute his DNA to this worthy cause. I’m not suggesting they should actually service Britney on set, of course. If they can’t arrange a quiet moment with her in the cutting room, a donation in a plastic cup would be the hygienic alternative.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The new James Bond

Got a call from Danny Craig last week, begging me to attend the premiere of Casino Royale. The poor chap was terrified of being compared unfavourably to Sean Connery and desperately wanted someone to take the spotlight off him. While agreeing that a gorilla in a dinner jacket might well steal the evening, I told him to let the critics be damned and face the glare of publicity like a man.

He was also worried about being shorter than his predecessors. I told him to forget it. In my experience, the tall man is vulnerable – pat him firmly in the midriff and he folds up like an Arab tent. Pierce Brosnan was a damn fine actor, but I’ll never forget the scene in which Miss Onatopp squeezes the pips out of him while bringing herself to a climax. She’d never have attempted a trick like that on Daniel, who wouldn’t miss a breath if a couple of geishas danced on his chunky chest.

Daniel has been pestering me for advice ever since I got him the part of 007. After initially getting refused for the role, he turned up at Dr Whipsnade’s residence when I was there on a short visit. He joined me in the drawing room and slumped down on a sofa with his hands over his face.

“I was great in the screen test so why did they turn me down?” he moaned. “I don’t know what to do, GB, I just don’t know what to do.”

“You can stand up and behave like a man!” I barked, hauling him to his feet and slapping his face.

He then told me about his audition and pleaded for my help, knowing full well that a gorilla never refuses a request when he’s living in the home of a human.

“Leave this with me, Danny,” I said. “We’ll persuade the producer to change his mind.”

So Dr Whipsnade drove to Pinewood Studies to meet Michael G Wilson, the man in charge of the James Bond project. Wilson admitted that Daniel was perfect for the part but angrily refused to reconsider his decision, claiming that his half-sister had once been goosed by Daniel at a party. Dr Whipsnade told me the bad news straight away and I joined him in Buckinghamshire. We eventually found a way of reasoning with the tough-talking movie-producer. I don’t want to go into details, but suffice it to say that Wilson woke up one morning with the severed tail of his pet Iguana under the duvet.

I hoped that Daniel would relax after getting the part, but like so many actors he’s plagued with insecurities. Very self-conscious about being the first blond 007, he called me in a huff after some hack had dubbed him “James Blonde”. I told him not to worry about it; but then he came up with the crazy idea of shagging ‘M’ to prove he wasn’t a girly man. “Only a really hard stud would do something like that,” he asserted. “I’ll ask for the scene to be in the next picture.”

I clearly had to nip this one in the bud. “Having sex with ‘M’ is out of the question, Danny,” I said firmly. “She’s old enough to be your mother and a Dame of the British Empire to boot. Do you want people to think you’re a granny-chaser?”

“Well what do you suggest?” asked Daniel querulously.

My mind flashed back over previous Bond movies. “I’ve never seen James Bond having really wild sex,” I mused. “I mean thumping his chest like a gorilla before mounting his female co-star in the ‘squatting-baboon’ position.”

Daniel was suitably impressed by this idea, so I promised to fix it with Wilson. I called Dr Whipsnade next day to make the following inquiry:

“Does that movie-producer have any other pets besides the lizard I pruned?”

Friday, November 03, 2006

They spiced up our lives

I heard a rumour that the Spice Girls were planning a reunion, but sadly it was untrue. One of the drawbacks of living in the jungle is that all kinds of spurious stories get spread via the bush telegraph. Your hopes get raised by exciting news only to be dashed shortly afterwards.

The Spice Girls were not only beautiful, Siren-like singers, but notable philosophers as well. In their first chart-topper, they gave their suitors the following frank advice:

If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give,

Taking is too easy, but that's the way it is.

A few boorish men said they’d happily give them what they needed, but the meaning of the lyrics was perfectly clear to any creature without gills. Life is about give and take, and if you want a woman to oblige you between the sheets, you’ve got to tickle her fancy with chocolates, flowers and honeyed words.

It was a major breakthrough in human courtship for a woman to tell a man quite openly what he had to do to get her into bed. Women used to be reluctant to give out this information for fear of being tricked by a wily seducer, but the Spice Girls took a more liberal view. They realised that men who use deception to get sex are only deceiving themselves in the final analysis.

All good things come to an end, and the girls eventually parted company to blossom in fields anew. Ginger Spice was the first to shine as a UN “goodwill ambassador”, tirelessly campaigning for universal sex education. Her point was that too many human adolescents were at it like rabbits without even bothering to read the manuals first.

“I remember the massive pressure to lose one's virginity,” said Ginger, reflecting on her maidenhood – “everyone else seemed to have done it.”

Listening to a teacher talk about sex might well take the edge off a teenager’s lust, but the problem of peer group pressure needs a more imaginative solution. Perhaps any girl who is a virgin on her 19th birthday should earn the right to be deflowered by Hugh Grant, the English film star and dandy. It’s about time that Hugh did his bit for the morals of the community.

Posh Spice has stayed in the limelight as a result of her marriage to Mr Becks, a famous footballer. One has to admire how the couple have confounded the gutter press by stubbornly refusing to divorce. Thus far, Posh has answered any allegation that her marriage is on the rocks by giving birth to another son, which is the kind of bloody-minded defiance that won the Battle of Britain.

I remember watching a documentary about her a few years ago. She struck me as a remarkably cheerful young woman, although I must say that she didn’t seem very posh. It’s been a while since I was in England, so maybe the standards of elocution have slipped a little. The other delightful aspect of her character was her honesty. She nonchalantly admitted to never having read a book (including her own autobiography) and casually disclosed that Mr Becks often relaxed in her underwear.

A lot of wives would be terrified to see their husbands wearing their knickers, but the practice is apparently quite normal among human males. Men, unlike women, cannot appreciate the qualities of their own bodies, so they sometimes like to imagine they are sexy ladies. Putting on a pair of panties helps them do this.

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