Why Chimpwithcans?

I’m sure I chose my website name, “Chimpwithcans”, for a reason. I just can’t think of it right now! Let’s try and figure it out.

Chimps are like us. We are like chimps. We evolved differently from similar ancestors, but our primal make-up (and behaviour) is little different. For example, chimps not only laugh like us, but also smile in silence; they are gourmands, they play, they are aware of the fact that they think and can distinguish between fair and unfair, as well as cultivating friendship.

Despite these similarities, the juxtaposition of a chimp with headphones on is intriguing to me. Can you imagine the infusion of culture, technology and art into the chimps brain through those cans? I like to imagine what the chimpanzee is listening to.

Music appeals to something very base and deep within our human psyches, and sometimes I fantasise that given a couple thousand years of evolution a chimp might get music the same way we do. Imagine how much better we would understand primates if we could dance with them?

Chimpwithcans (and the glorious artwork by Mr Aveling) is therefore about stripping away the complications of our culture and busy lives, and simply letting the music in to our primal core. It hints at imagination, curiosity and submission to the power of music in the ears. It’s how I see myself when i hear a good song.

One for you, 19 for me.

Some lines from songs stick with us. They are memorable and well structured. But, most lines are not. Most lines from most songs fall by the wayside of our memories and attentions.

This is true of all work and creations of course. 99% of our efforts are ‘works in progress’ or sub-standard. There are only a few instances (if we are consistent and hard working) when we strike lightening, gold and rainbows with our work.

It makes sense then to live for those moments, and to hope for them. But also to come to terms with the hard work it takes to get there.

Recording yourself

Do you like the sound of your own voice? The first time I heard my own voice must have been on an old phone message machine we had growing up. It held messages on tiny cassettes which it could play back to you.

Having a very creative best friend, we then started messing around with dictaphones and video cameras. When I got into music and sang in a band, we’d record on anything just to hear ourselves play.

And then came smartphones. Nowadays people are trying to get away from being recorded so often. Google Apple or Facebook hears everything we say. There are full fledged studio apps available at the push of a button/ swipe of a screen.

I seem to hear my own voice a lot these days. Whether it is sending voice notes, or creating podcasts. Hearing yourself forces reflection on what it is you’re saying and how you’re saying it. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s worth a try.

Match

Are you more of a corporate manager, or a children’s show presenter?

Do you have the time to enter an ultramarathon or are you better off focusing on the problems in front of you?

Will a holiday away actually be relaxing for you? Or should you rather sleep in at home?

Will you benefit from buying that new iPhone, or should you put the money into a savings account?

I think all of the options above are valid. They just need to match up with the rest of your life to avoid angst.

Robot

His doubts started with his changing values. Take a look at the things he holds most dear. The opinions, the causes, the risks and the opportunities. He noticed they were not as permanent or as important as he once thought. He found out they are interchangeable. Take out one strongly held belief and swap it, like a battery or a computer chip, for the complete opposite belief. Life goes on.

In fact he is becoming convinced that he is a programmable robot, more than an organic, free, human being. He looks down at his own arms. Is there blood under this skin? Is there a mechanical, robot-arm like Arnie in the Terminator movies? And blood doesn’t count as proof of life. What is “blood” anyways? Liquid full of little micro-robots delivering chemical loads and hormones around his body to keep the robot system in balance.

What would a robot do?

Smugglers Edits no. 2

Following on from my editing of Sci-Fi cerative posts – this is number two in the series so far:

Marlon kept whooping and shouting and cheering as he turned his head straight up towards the sky. He was so excited each time he threw a card, all he could do was shout like a chimp. Up above, the clouds dissolved before his eyes. The storm of the century had been neutralised by the card, as if someone threw a bucket of water on a camp fire. Looking up Marlon saw clear skies and the sight of the heavens took the scream from his mouth. Completely silent, he fell. The smuggler saw a perfect night sky. Like thick, creamy velvet he felt he could almost scoop up the blackness in between the stars. Dark galactic ice cream, Marlon felt it would probably taste like liquorice.

The Milky Way stretched out and twinkled forever. There were shooting stars blazing all around, and far to the east the rainbow colours of a nebula cloud glistened against the black space. To the North, on the horizon a faint aurora pulsated.

Marlon kept his eyes on the skies for as long as he dared, a big smile stretched on his face. He knew that if he looked for too long after throwing a card, he risked going crazy, bewitched by the beauty. He had heard stories of men wasting away to skeletons, their skulls looking up to the sky, smiling even as they starved to death just to stare at the beauty above. With effort, he pulled his head down, wiped away the water from his face and turned his eyes back to where he had been searching during the storm, at the bottom of the Tor on the plains.

With the help of the starlight, Marlon could now see close to the horizon the place he was looking for. It was a slight rise in the plains, and at the base of the rise a small fire was burning. From the top of the Tor this was nothing more than a dot of light. It looked like another tiny star on the ground, except it was noticeably green in colour and flickering on the plains. Eyes straight ahead, Marlon blew a kiss to the velvet sky above and started his descent of Nea Tor. Shooting stars rained all around him but the night remained silent. Silent that is, except for the old rain water which squelched in his boots with every step.

Editing old work

I have been editing some old creative work. The Smugglers of Earth pieces I started a while back have some promise, but I rushed them and lost momentum. So here’s a bit of a restart, with more editing: 

The start of a beautiful thing is often something bleak.

Dominating the otherwise flat land of Colm Naiir was a tall hill called Nea Tor. It rose steeply from the plains like a whale breaching the surface of the sea. Nea Tor was so big some called it a mountain, but instead of snow it was capped by a massive slab of rock. In the sunshine the rock looked like a large limpet on the snout of the breaching whale. Now on the plains at night, in the storm of the century, the rock was invisible. Everywhere was howling wind, pouring water, driving rain, black and cold. It had been like this for the last four hours. Every few seconds a lightening bolt would light up the sky, revealing long sheets of rain pelting the Tor. If you had sharp eyes and you looked in just the right place on the rock when lightening struck, you might also have seen a tiny silhouette. A small dark figure standing at the very peak. A smuggler. 

Marlon’s jacket collar was folded up around his neck and face. The collar was so high that it was impossible to see his nose. A smuggler’s trench coat made of thick leather, the jacket was over five feet long hanging down his legs, with never ending pockets on the inside and tribal patterns punctured into the leather on the outside. In the dry it was incredibly warm but it was not waterproof without a spell, and Marlon had run out of spells before he started climbing the hill. All he had left in his pockets was a small pack of cards, which were soaked. 

Marlon’s dark brown eyes were trying to scan the landscape below him. The rain and wind pressed into his bones and plastered his hair across his face. From the limpet rock he would have had a view for many miles on a clear day, but with the storm of the century throwing buckets of water in his face, the task of finding what he was looking for was hopeless. He sighed and bowed his head. So. Much. Rain. His neck and his spine and his legs had a torrent of water flowing over them. Water ran from his head to his feet. Lightening cracked above his head making him dip down onto his knees. The wind was picking up strength and it now hurt his face to look up from his collar. 

Hunched on his knees he made up his mind and reached into his coat’s never ending smuggler’s pockets. He pulled a playing card out. Immediately, the card began to shine bright blue in his hands in the night. Marlon searched his memory for the correct words. He had learned them in the same place he had gotten his jacket. That was a while ago, but after some thought he found that he still remembered. “Stars, show your fire. Let light see my black and deep desires.” A single voice in a storm on top of a mountain. 

Immediately the card leapt from Marlon’s hands and flew like a bullet down the Tor. Marlon jumped to his feet and peered out into the rain to watch the card fly through the stormy night. Seeing the arc of its flight, the hairs on Marlon’s neck stood on end. He loved the cards most of all. 

As it neared the bottom of the hill the card turned smoothly and climbed straight upwards through the rain, leaving a trail of light in its wake. On a direct collision course with the clouds above, the storm roared and thundered anew. The card was completely unaffected by the tempest and held its course. It sped up, flying higher and higher aiming straight at the lightening and the thunder and the angry clouds. From the top of the hill it looked like a tiny missile heading towards an enormous alien mothership. This made Marlon scream as loud as he could, “Go you good thing! Go! Go! Go! Yeeehhaaaaaaaaa!!!!!” The card issued a deafening crack as it broke the sound barrier right before it hit the clouds. 

After that, all was silence. No more lightening, no more wind, no more rain. Only a single voice on top of the Tor. Marlon was still yelling with excitement.