Friday, 31 August 2007

Monkey Forest!

Today we went to Monkey Forest with my Mum, Julie, and Julie's Mum and Partner Roy. It is an enclosed 60 acre woodland area with about 140 free-roaming Barbary macaques, on Trentham Estate near Stoke-on-Trent.

It wasn't a particularly nice day, but we enjoyed ourselves greatly. Seeing apes behave so naturally and so close up, with all the forest to play in, was very stimulating. If there is such a word as Rousseauian, that's the feeling of seeing our primate cousins behaving in a natural state which we seemed to have lost on the evolutionary path to enchained 'civilisation'. Or maybe not; just in the hour or so that we were observing them, you could clearly make out 'human' behaviour such as maternal care (see my photo), social hierarchy, playfulness, puzzle-solving, territory marking, bonding, and anger.

The purpose of Monkey Forest is not just as a good and reasonably-priced day out (it is), it also does serious conservation work, scientific study, and consciousness awareness. Sadly, Barbary macaques are an endangered species, with an estimated total wild population in their indigenous homes of Morocco and Algeria of only 10,000. Monkey Forest and its sister parks in France and Germany have successfully re-introduced six hundred Barbary macaques back into the wild.

Oh yes, there had to be a Germany connection didn't there? Well here's a link to Affenberg Salem, a sister park in Germany!

Thursday, 23 August 2007


Do you remember 'Heroes' by David Bowie?

Okay, so you're probably about my age then! Never mind, at least we had some good music when we were growing up, not like the kids of today. Arctic Bloody Monkeys, I don't know :grabs pipe and slippers and sucks on a Werthers Old Original:

Anyway, Till Lindemann (vocalist of Rammstein, German industrial flame-thrower band) has teamed up with Apocalyptica (Finnish heavy cello band) to do the vocals on a German language version of Bowie's 'Heroes' for Apocalyptica's forthcoming album 'Worlds Collide'.

And actually, it is pretty damn good. It was on YouTube until the record company had it taken off. A bit of searching might still find you it somewhere :¬)

or download it as mp3 from RapidShare at

(or email me)

It's certainly much better than when Bowie recorded it in German

Below is a rough and ready transposition of the lyrics as best as I could make them out, with my translation (which I wouldn't take as gospel if I was you!).

HeldenTransposition and Translation A.Gilmour
Du - Könntest du schwimmen
You -You could be swimming
Wie Delphine - Delphine es tun
Like dolphins - Dolphins can do
Niemand, gibt uns eine Chance
Nobody, gives us a chance
Doch können wir siegen, für immer und immer
But we are able to triumph, for ever and ever
Und wir sind dann Helden, für einen Tag
And we will be heroes, for a single day
Ich - Ich bin dann König
I - I will be king
Und Du - Du Königin
And you - you queen
Obwohl sie, so Unschlagbar scheinen
Though they seem so unbeatable
Werden wir Helden, für einen Tag
We could be heroes, for a single day
Dann sind wir Helden, für einen Tag
Then we are heroes, for a single day
Ich - Ich glaub' das zu träumen
I - I believe in dreaming
die Mauer, im Rücken war kalt
The wall, cold against the back
Die Schüsse reissen die Luft
The shots rip the air
Doch wir küssen, als ob nichts geschieht
But we kiss, as if nothing happens
Und die Scham fiel auf ihre Seite
And the shame fell on their side
Oh, wir können sie schlagen, für zu alle Zeiten
Oh we can beat them, until the end of time
Dann sind wir Helden, nur diesen Tag
Then we are heroes, just for this day
Dann sind wir Helden
Dann sind wir Helden
Dann sind wir Helden
Nur diesen Tag
Dann sind wir Helden
Nur diesen Tag
You get the gist by now!

By way of contrast, here's a link to Apocalyptica covering a Rammstein song, 'Seeman', with vocals from Nina Hagen.
This is SO wrong, on SO many levels! Peter Grimes = Peter Burns?

p.s. Nina Hagen shouldn't be confused with '99 Luftballons' Nena, who, confusingly, was born in Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia (according to Wikipedia