As I get older the memories of my childhood fade like I’m shaking an Etch-a-Sketch.
It’s a bit distressing, I’ve actually been considering a test for early onset dementia but I keep forgetting to make the appointment (sorry). Despite a small bunch of clear childhood memories the majority are fuzzy and kind of melded together like blue and white plasticine.
One memory that is crystal clear, however, is watching Monkey Magic on the ABC with my brother and sister.
The memories came flooding back this morning when I woke to hear that this Chinese New Year is the Year of the Monkey.
We’d hear the theme music blasting from wherever we were in the house…. “Born from an egg on a mountain top… Monkey is funky, he never stops”(I know they’re not the real lyrics, but he WAS funky and he DID act like a kid on red cordial okay?).
The three of us would have endless debates about whether the monk, Tripitaka, was male or female and about who was better; Pigsy or Sandy. We’d pretend to wear Monkey’s magic crown and give each other stuttering headaches like Tripitaka would do to Monkey when he was being a rascal.
My elder sister, later as an adult, went on to shave her head and get the nickname ‘Tripi’ (after the Buddhist monk), my brother still knows every word to the Monkey Magic end theme song (Gandhara) and I’ve recently been dubbed the ‘Cheese Monkey’ by my partner, for my nifty ability to spot cheese at 100 metres and fly to it like a woman transported on a swift cloud.
So much of Monkey Magic makes sense when you read the Chinese Zodiac. Monkey is romantic and sociable, cheeky and curious, intelligent and hyperactive. The year of the Monkey is all about taking risks and being rebellious,… it’s a year of shake-ups and anarchy…. What a dangerously fun combination.
One of the most rebellious and anarchic nights I’ve ever had involved cheese and a fair bit of, let’s call it… ‘creative Monkey energy’.
My cousins, my brother, sister and I decided to have a fondue night, just all of us young adults. I don’t think I quite realized the amount of wine used to make a fondue but combined with the wine we were drinking, things got very loose.
The mid-fondue conversation turned to haircuts and someone produced a pair of haircutting scissors. What ensued was part fantasy, part Lord of the Flies and freaking hilarious.
Hair was being cut, a spontaneous food fight broke out and there were globs of cheese with hair stuck in them on curtains and carpets and ‘fuck-how-will-we ever-get-it-off’ places. The details are fuzzy but in that one moment we all allowed our inner monkeys to go wild.
Now that we’ve all made traditional new years resolutions and broken them… it’s time to get on board The Year of (what I’d like to modify to) The Cheese Monkey.
Shave your head, have a food fight, do a nudie run… above all shake it up, because remember -‘The nature of Monkey was irrepressible’ and with any luck you might end up on a flying cloud gnawing a hunk of Brie.