Poetic Licence

Chimp Talk: ILLUSTRATION BY MICHAEL HEATH
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The Independent Culture
Scientists say that they have trained chimpanzees to understand simple English sentences. The apes, however, have not yet shown that they can communicate in a true spoken language

A chimpanzee walked in a pub

He ordered rum and coke

Incredulous, the barman asked:

"Is this some sort of joke?"

"Far from it," said the chimpanzee

"I've spent all day and night

Doing photo-calls and interviews.

Just pour the drinks, all right?

"This so-called `latest breakthrough'

That apes can understand

A simple English sentence

Is getting out of hand.

Of course we comprehend you

And have done now for years

Though coming clean about it

Will mostly lead to tears.

"You know that Will Self novel?

I helped him out with that

Your basic Brooke Bond English

Is now seen as old hat.

The smarter chimp keeps shtum now

Or where does he end up?

On PG Tips commercials

In cloth cap, with a cup.

"The public think we dub them,

That all the speech is fake.

Not only is it live, though,

You only get one take.

What's in it for us these days?

Three adverts in the can?

Two movies with Clint Eastwood?

And then you're down the pan.

"And once the phone stops ringing

Your future's fairly stark

Bit parts in Tarzan movies

Then back to Regent's Park.

Yeah... one more for the road, then.

Before you wave the flag

Here - did I ever tell you

That Michael Jackson gag...?"

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