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The brains behind: hi! monkey

hi! monkey

Himonkey.net is a wee peek at the life and adventures of the only terry cloth primate we know of who runs his own web site. Reason enough for us to hunt him down and make him talk

Q: How did you come up with the idea for hi! monkey?
A: W knows where any idea comes from? A neuro-chemical reaction? An electrical impulse? Perhaps divine inspiration? In my case, I think, it was the synergy of a digital camera combined with a serious lack of web sites featuring charming terry cloth primates. A sugary treat or two might have had some influence as well. So, basically, like many sites, it started out as a little experiment that took on a life of its own.

Q: Why do you like cooking so much?
A: Cooking is universal. From making a cup of tea to whipping up a batch of classic cheese on crackers, everyone can relate to preparing something exactly the way they like it and having the satisfaction of savouring it. It's creative, it's self-expression and itís comforting. It's like any art form. You start with raw materials and transform them into a thing of beauty. A thing of beauty that's delicious! You don't get that with a macramť plant hanger or a paint-by-number-painting now, do you?

Q: What's your favourite recipe on the site and why?
A: That's difficult to say. They are all recipes that I enjoy. The newcomer, apple crumble, holds a special place in my heart. My friend Craig gave me his granís recipe. Itís delicious and so easy that I was soon up to a five-crumble-a-week habit. After I got my crumble addiction under control, I posted the recipe on my site and people immediately began to write to say how it stirs memories of their gran and happy times.

Q: How long does it take to shoot one story for the site? Is there a human who helps you out?
A: My culinary adventures are shot all in 'real timeí, so however long it takes to make a recipe is how long it takes to shoot. Other adventures could take a couple of days, or in the case of visiting my Tibetan monk friends, almost a week. Letís face it, I'm a photogenic primate, so capturing the images is not a problem. It's choosing the photos, processing them and putting pen to paper that takes the most time. Luckily, I do have a capable human assisting behind the scenes.

Q: How do you come up with new ideas for the site?
A: I'd say that 50 per cent of my ideas are spontaneous. I'll be out doing something and an adventure will just sneak up on me! The rest of the time, I jot down ideas as they occur to me in a lovely notebook. Everything from costume designs and adventure ideas, to recipes and haikus get written down for later use. Once those thoughts are out of my head, there is so much more room for new, fresh ideas to sprout.

Q: What's the reaction to the site been like so far?A: I've got a lot of positive reaction to my little slice of the web and, to my delight, it's from a broad range of visitors, who each relate to a different aspect of me. You can imagine how flattered I am when people speculate that I am really the alter ego of a popular comedian, the new project of an innovative director, or a well-known chef testing the water for a childrenís programme. What is even more flattering is that people take the time to write and share their lives with me or send snapshots of me with them on holiday or having some adventure with them. Itís brilliant the way people have embraced the playfulness of printing out my photo and going out to take snapshots of me in various locations. The digital manipulation of images to include me in them are also truly inspired. My growing collection of fabulous photos will eventually all get on to the site.

Q: How has your life changed since you launched hi! monkey?
A: Despite the fact that I am recognised in public now, my celebrity status has not changed me. I am a tad more worn, but I'm still as absorbent as I always have been. I've had solo shows in art galleries. The opportunity to interact with people all over the world is the most remarkable change that I could ramble on about for hours.

Q: What's your favourite section on the site and why?
A: It sounds a bit clichť, but, whatever I am working on at the moment is my favourite section of my site.

Q: How did you meet your Tibetan monk friends?A: I just walked up to them and said 'hello!í Monks are very friendly, you know. A smile and a cheerful 'tashi delegí (thatís your standard Tibetan greeting) goes a long way with a monk. Of course, my resemblance to the Dalai Lama helps a lot, too.

Q: What's lined up next?
A: I have a wealth of stories that are longing to be written, more recipes, of course, a travel adventure or two, and my experience as a junior planetologist in training. Iíve been toying with the idea of an advice column and the possibility of unveiling my first piece of fiction, 'The Rancid Little Butter Pat.í Of course, on a really grand scale, I like to think that my memoirs will be on the bestseller list and Iíll embark on a world tour spreading world peace with other respected humanitarians. I wonít be able to turn down a multi-movie deal or choreographing an award winning Broadway musical based on my life. You know, the usual stuff that terry cloth primates do.

This article first appeared in .net Issue 141 - October 2005

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