Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I hate every ape I see from Chimpan A...

Apathy Jack writes:

(Attention Conservation Notice – only relevant if you’re in New Zealand, but the statcounter says the vast majority of you are, so that’s okay... Of course, it has monkeys in it, so you might be interested anyway.)

You need to be watching Monkey World. It is on at five O’clock on channel 2, and it is the best television going. Yes, yes, I know that you’re not home from work then, but you need to set the video. No excuses will be accepted.

It is a documentary focusing on Monkey World, a theme-park/monkey rescue organisation in England. It concentrates primarily on two tribes of Chimps: the small one led by the bulky Paddy, and the bigger, completely dysfunctional (and thusly more interesting) tribe led by the aging (his shoulders are balding) Rodney and his 2IC Mad Charley, who has suspected brain-damage as a result of abuse and beatings during his years as a “photo-chimp” on the beaches of Spain.

The big drama being hinted at is the merging of the two tribes to give some stability to Rodney’s anarchic group.

However, the real star of the show is monkey keeper Jeremy. While the humans are definitely second-string players, and the producers are trying to get a bit of pathos by focusing on the trials of Keeper Mike – a gorilla expert thrust into the unpredictable and madcap world of chimp-care – it is really Jeremy (whose shoulders are not balding), described by the head of the park as one of the five really good chimp experts in Europe and the States, who is worth watching. A man noticeably less comfortable around humans than around his primate charges, when asked by the cameras which chimp was his favourite, he replied that he did not have one. When the voice behind the camera pressed the issue, Jeremy got visibly irate, ranting that one does not choose their favourite child, or which of their parents they love more.

When asked about his perfect world, Keeper Jeremy (who has one day a week away from the park – the Friday when he goes to town to get bread for the monkeys and to pick up his weekly supply of animal magazines) said it would be a desert island very much like Monkey World. When the voice behind the camera asked what the difference would be, Jeremey could not hide the bitterness when he pointed out that he had to let the public, and documentary film-makers into the park, whereas a desert island would be completely secluded.

Television doesn’t get a lot better than this.

1 comment:

Josh said...

Hey, you managed a whole post on monkeys without bringing up that photo of me. Hang on -- bugger. This round goes to you, Jack, but you won't be so lucky next time...