Friday, May 25, 2007

Doing it your way

I’ve never been very impressed with the “cultural differences” you humans make such a fuss about. To a gorilla, you all seem long on ceremony and short on hair. Yet the news that Japanese men don’t consider having sex with a prostitute to be cheating on their wives gave me pause for thought. Apparently, they just can’t see how paying for an agreed service at an agreed price is cheating anyone. Their logic has a peculiar force, so it surprises me that men of other nations don’t reason in the same way.

In Japan, a man is unfaithful to his wife if he tricks her into having sex when she doesn’t want to. Suppose, for example, that she’s got a headache and isn’t in the mood for it. Her husband might then promise to buy her a diamond ring if she’ll close her eyes and think of General Tojo. But if he doesn’t produce the gem within 30 days, his wife can sue for divorce on the grounds of fraud. Back in the olden days, it was permissible for a Japanese man to copulate with his wife while she was asleep. This was outlawed by the Americans after World War 2 because of its tactical similarity to the surprise attack at Pearl Harbour.

It seems that even European nations differ markedly in sexual practices. A German man was shocked to find that his Italian girlfriend wanted to climax at the same time he did. He told her that he couldn’t possibly enjoy an orgasm while she was having an even better one – that would be like eating sorbet for dessert while she was gorging on Black Forest gateau. His practice with German women was to make them climax first using non-penetrative methods. He would then instruct them to feign disgust during intercourse by calling him
a “filthy swine” and other more abusive terms. His concept of sex was a zero sum game – the more she hates it, the better it is for me.

I don’t want to say too much about cross-species fornication between humans and their livestock. These activities seem greatly exaggerated to me. With millions of sheep and humans sharing the same living space, there are bound to be occasions where passions run out of control and a young ewe wakes up one morning with shame burning in her delicate cheeks. That’s just a fact of life. But is it right to blame the entire Welsh nation because a few frustrated shepherds have delved into the woolly abyss? The decent majority must not be stigmatised for the misdeeds of a tiny minority.

It goes without saying that pet abusers must be squashed without mercy. And that includes women who expose themselves to their cats. When a cat sees a woman’s naked body its mental equilibrium is shattered: its whiskers begin to droop; it goes off milk; it begins to hallucinate, seeing hairy spiders crawling out of every crack. A large percentage of cat road deaths are probably suicides provoked by a pussy-to-pussy encounter. Trust me, girls, however much your cat loves you, it will never get a kick out of seeing you in the buff. Even a male gorilla would only be aroused by a naked woman in unusual circumstances which I’m not going to describe.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Brains, money and the art of mime

A survey reveals that brainy humans are no more wealthy than the average meathead. That doesn’t surprise me. In my experience, these intellectual types don’t know much about turning a buck. A lot of them teach in universities, where they clog up their mental circuits with endless verbiage or mathematical puzzles. That kind of book learning is fine in its place, but it doesn’t bring the pig to market. It won’t get you far in the jungle either. Quoting Socrates never saved anyone from a charging hippo.

The ape that puts on airs is ruthlessly cut down to size by his comrades. I recall the case of a chimpanzee who spent a year in the home of a professor of philosophy. When he returned to his tribe, he started using highbrow words like “paradigm” and “ontological”, which caused the other chimps to frown at him with puckered lips. He crossed the line at the annual simian convention. We were having a debate about the snake menace when he put up his hand and said:

“Rather than seeking a general method of repelling snakes, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to devise ad hoc remedies for each species?”

His use of Latin caused the entire conference to erupt in derision. His fellow chimpanzees screeched with contempt; the gorillas hooted with laughter; the monkeys wet themselves with glee. Even the parrots in the trees started flapping and squawking. The poor chap never managed to live it down. For daring to say “ad hoc”, that chimp was thenceforth known as “Sad Cock”. His shame was so intense that he disguised himself as a baboon.

I’ve got nothing against humans with academic credentials – my friend Dr Whipsnade is clear proof that a man can prosper in spite of his qualifications. But if you want to make your fortune in the hairless primate community, you’ve got to bring your goods to the masses. “Bums on seats” is the name of the game. The bums are obviously plentiful and rarely reject a product because it’s too vulgar or garish.

Back in my circus days, I once did a double-act with a mime artist called Nigel. This lad took his art very seriously, modelling himself on Marcel Marceau. He was initially reluctant to perform with a gorilla, but I convinced him that he wouldn’t have to compromise his methods. I suggested that he follow me around the ring, copying my every gesture and movement, thereby proving to the world that a human could ape an ape.

We began the season together and I must admit I was impressed by the boy’s work. I couldn’t see what he was doing behind me, but his antics always got plenty of laughs. Then an unscripted incident occurred during one of our performances. He was chasing me around the ring when a toffee bar got stuck to my foot. I instinctively stopped and shook my leg to get rid of it, but unfortunately my heel smacked young Nigel on the chin. The audience thought it was hilarious and laughed like lunatics as he lay there twitching on the ground. I revived him with a bucket of cold water and helped him to his feet. We took our bow together to a thunderous ovation.

After the show had ended, everyone thought we should incorporate the foot-punch into our act, but Nigel protested, complaining that it was slapstick rather than mime. “What would Marcel Marceau say?” he moaned.

The ringmaster walked up to him said: “Marcel Marceau can eat snails! We’re running a business here, not an appreciation society for arty-farty Frenchmen!”

The ringmaster was a tactless bully and an arse of the highest calibre, but I couldn’t fault him on the fundamental economics. In the society of the naked ape, you either play to the gallery or live like a pauper.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Laughing at yourself

There’s a scene in Disney’s Jungle Book where the ape sings:

I wanna be a man, mancub
And stroll right into town
And be just like the other men
I'm tired of monkeyin' around!

Well I was watching this at the safari camp when I noticed some guests glancing at me nervously, fearing I would take offence. I put them at ease by hooting with laughter and slapping my thighs.

Yes, we gorillas can take a joke. There’s only one animal in Africa that enjoys a chuckle as much as we do. Not hyenas, you fools! Their hysterical yelping is the product of frenzied bloodlust and chronic sexual tension. Come to think of it, none of the top predators has much of a sense of humour. Tell a lion a joke and he’ll most probably give you a snarl and lick his private parts. A high-protein diet disables the funny bone and leads to an unhealthy fixation with the dicky bone. Look at bodybuilders, for example.

No, it’s giraffes who are the funny men of the savannah. When a giraffe wants to have a drink it lowers its neck a bit, widens its legs a little, lowers its neck a bit more… until five minutes later its lips are finally touching water. After it’s had a few gulps, another giraffe will sneak up from behind and nuzzle its back passage, causing it to snort water like a seal. It’s a sight which causes watching herbivores to stomp their hooves in glee – even the normally snooty zebras start haw-hawing when they see it. And the best thing of all is that the brown-nosed giraffe never takes it badly. It just lifts its neck and gives the perpetrator a wink, as if to say: “I may have water coming out of my nose, mate, but you’ve got shit on yours!”

Now humans like to think they can laugh at themselves, but what they actually enjoy, in my experience, is the sight of another human behaving like a ninny. One thing I’ve never seen is a human who could see the funny side of being humbugged by an animal. It happens at the safari camp whenever Bonzo, the resident chimpanzee, plays a practical joke on the guests.

I remember seeing him sneak under the table when a couple were having a romantic alfresco supper in the fading light of tropical sun. As they gazed longingly into each other’s eyes, Bonzo tenderly caressed the woman’s ankles, prompting her to kick off her shoes and rub her toes into the calves of her beau. The man responded by putting his hand under the table and pulling her dainty foot onto his lap. Not to be denied a piece of the action, Bonzo opened his mouth and gave the woman’s knee a good lick.

For a few delicious seconds the woman giggled with pleasure as if her paramour had been equipped with the tongue of an anteater. When the penny dropped that she must be involved in a ménage à trois, she withdrew her foot in horror and squatted below the table to find herself face-to-face with a pouting chimpanzee. I’m glad to report that Bonzo emerged from the ensuing pandemonium unscathed, while the couple were too embarrassed to make an official complaint. The sad part of the story is that they never managed to rekindle the amorous fire on that beautiful moonlit evening. Being made a monkey of by a chimp can have a devastating effect on the human libido.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Snow White's tragic stepmother

I’ve got a pretty high regard for the human female, but if there’s one thing that lets her down it’s her vanity. Look at Snow White’s royal stepmother. She was a fine-looking woman with the body of a cheerleader and the cheekbones of Faye Dunaway. Yet because of her silly obsession with being “the fairest of them all”, she commits unforgivable crimes for which she is justly tortured to death. Why did she listen to that stupid mirror anyway? Had I been a guest at the palace, I would have taken the queen aside for a quiet pep talk.

“Queenie,” I would have said, “the mirror is a paedophile. I’ve seen how he rattles in his frame when Snow White reflects off his surface. That child is no competition for a woman like you. Take off the headgear and let your hair down; then slip into something tight and skimpy. There won’t be a dry codpiece in the palace. Who needs mirrors with a body like yours? Woof! Woof!”

What many women don’t realise is that there’s a level of attractiveness which is “good enough”. Which is to say, good enough for ninety per cent of heterosexual men aged 16-30 to jump all over you if you ask them politely. If you’re already at that level, there’s not much point getting a nose job to satisfy the remaining ten per cent. It’s better to work on other things, like your sense of humour and your cooking. Or why not learn to play the harmonica? I’ve always thought that little organ looks quite fetching in a woman’s mouth.

Of course, it’s possible that the queen’s obsession with her physical appearance was the symptom of a deeper malaise. One is forced to wonder whether all was well in the royal bedchamber. The king may have sired Snow White, but I doubt he possessed either the patience or the technique to warm up the nether regions of his icy consort. Perhaps she should have had a wild affair with some young buck to soften herself up for Old Vanilla Pants.

Selecting a suitable lover for the queen would have been a challenging yet rewarding assignment. Would Richard Gere, the American gigolo, have been the right type of gallant to loosen her corset strings and caress the inhibitions from body? No, he was too vain and mercenary. What the queen really needed was to be idolised by a fancy boy who would have gurgled with gratitude every time she curtsied on his face. A job, I feel, for a fervent little Frenchman in the Charles Aznavour mould – an Energizer Bunny of Love who would have taken pride in being the queen’s official sex toy.

Sadly none of this happened and the queen died horribly for her sins. But in my view, the king shares a good part of the blame for not dealing with the jealousy and intrigue festering under his royal nose. A man whose wife is reduced to fishing for compliments from a looking glass is not a worthy husband. And a widower who marries a woman who hates his only daughter is not a worthy father. A more fitting ending would have had the seven dwarves giving the king’s kneecaps a good toning with their porridge spoons.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Men of Nature's calling

Someone suggested that we gorillas should hold a memorial service for Steve Irwin, the Australian crocodile cuddler who was perforated by a deadly sea monster. Much as I lamented the news of his demise, I nevertheless argued against it. Mr Irwin, peace be upon him, was obsessed with a single animal species. There’s nothing wrong with that, if the decencies are observed, but it does tend to divert attention from the big picture. Furthermore, I can’t think of a creature less appreciative of being hugged by a human than a crocodile. As far as I could tell, most of them couldn’t wait to wriggle out of his grasp and take refuge at the bottom of the garden pool.

The funny thing is that if Irwin had come to the Congo he would have found umpteen female gorillas queuing up for a dose of slap and tickle. The human male is something of an exotic sex toy for my hairy sisters, who are fascinated by his texture and smell. After passing through their clutches, a meaty fellow like Irwin would have found out what a tenderized steak feels like. Cuddle a female gorilla and she’ll cuddle you back with interest.

Now Ray Mears, the bush survival expert, is a man whose death I certainly would mourn, not least because he’s a personal friend who has twice stayed with my band. The first visit had to be cut short after Raymond insisted on living exactly as we did, eating his termites raw and licking the moisture off frogs. He was struck down with dysentery and had to be carried back to the safari camp with his shorts pulled down to his ankles, so his effusions could dribble onto the ground.

On the second visit, he wisely agreed to abandon his “do as the Romans do” policy and came equipped with water purification tablets, canvas tent, gas stove and other human essentials. Things went a lot better as a result, and by the end of his stay the youngsters were calling him ‘Uncle Lumpy’. The females had other affectionate nicknames for him which I wouldn’t care to repeat.

On his last night in the jungle he cooked a magnificent feast for us: snake meat and fish were barbecued on wooden skewers; yams, peppers and a dead lizard were roasted in a sizzling underground oven. You humans can keep your Fanny Cradocks, Kenny Homs and Jimmy Olivers – I’ll take the simple jungle fare of Mearsy every time. You don’t need fancy marinades and vinegrettes to delight the palate of a gorilla.

We opened a keg of our best fermented coconut juice to wash down the food and prolong the festivities into the night. Humans usually hold their liquor better than gorillas, so it surprised me when Raymond was the first to plead grogginess and retire to his tent. He didn’t emerge next morning until the sun was high in the sky, looking decidedly red-eyed and dishevelled.

“I had this terrible dream GB,” he said. “Some big hairy beast was holding me down and squeezing me all over my body.”

“It must have been the coconut brew, Raymond,” I said. “It can have that effect if you’re not used to it.”

“That’s what I thought,” replied Mearsy. “But my muscles ache all over and I can definitely feel a bruise on my left buttock. Would you mind looking at it?”

Examining a man’s hindquarters is not one of my preferred pastimes, but a sturdy fellow like Ray Mears wouldn’t have made a fuss about some trivial abrasion. So we found a discreet spot in the undergrowth where Mearsy pulled down his khaki shorts and I crouched down to inspect his rear. I was horrified by what I saw. Amid a welter of red marks was an enormous hickey on which primate teeth marks were clearly visible. It was obvious what had happened. One of the females had spiked his drink and infiltrated his tent for a night of chubby-chewing.

Although honesty is normally my preferred policy, there are always exceptions to every rule. One of them is when a female from my band sexually assaults a famous BBC presenter whose august employer might sue the Bananas Estate.

“It looks like you’ve been bitten by a creeping arse-bug, Raymond,” I said. “I’ll get some ointment to ease the discomfort.”

“Creeping arse-bug?” inquired Mearsy with a puzzled look on his face. “I’ve not heard of that one before. What is it GB?”

“It’s a mutant tarantula with rodent-like teeth,” I explained. “A rare nocturnal beast with a taste for hippos and humans. I believe the late President Amin had his troubles with them.”

I dressed Raymond’s wound as best I could, giving him strict instructions not to remove the plaster for a week. His porters arrived later that morning, and I bade him a cordial farewell, looking daggers at any female who approached him for a parting embrace.

After Mearsy had left, I summoned the females for a staff meeting and read them the riot act. I didn’t try to identify the culprit – it was probably a team effort anyway. I simply said that anyone who pulled a stunt like that again would be sent to live with the chimpanzees for a month, which would be social death for a gorilla. I’m not going to pay a fortune in damages because some hairy bitch can’t keep her teeth to herself.

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