Dancing on the Rock

A French “exotic dancer” has been causing a stir in Australia. In a land where naked Sheilas are generally applauded, Alizee Sery has been winning hearts and loins all over the rugged continent. The miners and sheep-shearers were particularly impressed by the exhibition of her art. 

Unfortunately she hasn’t pleased everyone. The Aborigines were furious when she danced on Ayres Rock, which is a sacred monument in their ancient culture. They likened her performance to “defecating on the steps of the Vatican” and demanded her immediate repatriation. Chastened by their disapproval, Alizee was at pains to deny that she had shown any disrespect. 

“It was my tribute to their proud, naked way of living!” she protested.

I hope the Aborigines forgive her because of her nationality. French artists are often driven by grandiose conceptions which turn out, on closer examination, to be utter bollocks. Back in my circus days, I witnessed no end of silly pranks from giddy young women who were desperate to get my attention. But I bore it all stoically because they meant well. The female whose heart is in the right place should be treated indulgently. 

Indeed, Miss Sery is the precisely the kind of open-air artist we would love to see in Africa. Not far from where I live is a stupendous gorge above the Congo River called “Cassandra’s Crack”. It was named after the wife of Sir Arthur “Podgy” Podgkin, the Victorian explorer who tragically perished in the rapids below. If Alizee were to perform near the edge of The Crack, flinging her garments into the yawning fissure, it would certainly be celebrated as a pious deed of remembrance. The exotic dancer is revered in our part of the world. 

A tourist once asked me if we gorillas had any holy places that were strictly off limits to humans on pain of having their nipples tweaked.

“No,” I said. “Holiness is a state of mind for us gorillas. The surface of the Earth is profane by its very nature, watered by piss and seasoned with dung. We apes conduct our sacred meditations while hanging upside down from a sturdy branch. Don’t try it yourself unless you’ve got a powerful toe grip.” 

I’m not trying to belittle Aboriginal beliefs, of course. Unlike apes, humans are sentimental creatures who get emotionally attached to the landscape they inhabit. The circus I belonged to once rented a venue which was a field with a great big bush in it. When we suggested pruning the wretched thing, the owner had a fit. 

“Leave my bush alone!” he bleated. “My cat hides there when she’s feeling shy.” 

So the bush stayed in the field, occupying valuable space we could have used for other purposes. As for the man’s cat, he was right about her being shy, because we noticed her watching us timidly from inside the bush. So did Catkins, our resident Tom, and by the end of our tenancy he’d done his duty and given her a litter of kittens. We didn’t ask the landlord for a rebate. 

This story clearly has a moral, but I’m not going to spell it out for you.

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