Edinburgh Festival Preview 2018: We Will Deep Fry Your Kebab
Bermondsey Beer Mile: Slight (many happy) Return(s)

Simian Substitute Site For July 2018: Ten More Years Of Simians

Really not worth clicking on the picture this month, trust meMONTH END PROCESSING FOR JUNE 2018

Books: Six months after I first mentioned it here, I've finally got around to reading The Gospel According To Blindboy, the book of short stories by Blindboy Boatclub of The Rubberbandits. When I first heard he was working on it, I assumed they would be something like Limmy's stories, tales of surreal goings-on that would quickly spiral into something dark and distressing. And sure, some of Blindboy's stories do that (although they escalate much faster than Limmy's ever did: Arse Children, in particular, will be a jaw-dropper for anyone with any Irish in them whatsoever). But just as many of them take a swerve into somewhere that's still surreal, but utterly delightful, which works just as well for me. Apparently there's an audiobook on the way too, which is great because Blindboy's a terrific reader - he's roadtested half a dozen of these stories already on his podcast. To give you a flavour, you can find those stories linked to here, bearing in mind all timings are approximate because of the way adverts get randomly inserted into podcasts after their initial release: Did You Read About Erskine Fogarty? (starts 13:23), The Bourneville Chorus (starts 33:00), Scaphism (starts 36:43), Shovel Duds (starts 55:58), Malaga (starts 3:32) and Hugged Up Studded Blood Puppet (starts 19:55).

Movies: Bollocks to Secret Cinema, obviously. Mainly because it strikes me that in all the site-specific shenanegans that they build into their events, watching the actual film itself is very low down their list of priorities. It's possible to show a film properly and have fun with its presentation, as demonstrated by London's Prince Charles Cinema with their recent screening of Bonnie And Clyde. The starting point was, of all things, a University College London research project conducted between 2013 and 2015, Cultural Memory And British Cinemagoing, in which a thousand or so people were questioned about their memories of going to the pictures in the 1960s. Magnificently, all the raw data from that research can be read here: but they've also used it to recreate a typical 1967 night out at the movies, with Bonnie And Clyde as its centrepiece and UCL drama students helping out in supporting roles. The attention to detail was high throughout - hippies outside the cinema handing out invites to future attractions: personal greetings from usherettes and staff in period costumes: salt 'n' shake crisps and bags of boiled sweets handed out for refreshments. And that's before we got to the on-screen supporting programme: a batch of adverts for the concession stand, a Pathe newsreel about current crazes, and a Yogi Bear cartoon that was just mediocre enough for you not to feel cheated when it turned out to be the starting point for some theatrical silliness. All this and the Queen to finish off. As a nostalgia event, it was a little outside my timeframe (I think my first film at the pictures was Disney's Cinderella about a year later): but it was a brilliantly entertaining way to spend an evening, and I hope they do more of them.

Telly: Whenever The Belated Birthday Girl and I are in the kitchen these days, our cooking sessions tend to start with a joint yell of "ALLEZ CUISINE!", which can only mean one thing: Iron Chef America is back. It's been four years since the show was last on American TV, and close on double that length of time in the UK: as yet there's no sign of this season making it onto Food Network UK, so you'll have to use the combination of a VPN routing through Montreal and the website for Food Network Canada, which hosts the five most recent episodes of this ongoing run. There have been a couple of changes: Alton Brown's chatty introduction has gone, the number of judges has been reduced from three to two, and the basic challenge of the show - cook a five course meal from scratch in an hour - now has the additional requirement that the first course must be ready to serve in twenty minutes. All these factors ramp up the pace and urgency of the show even beyond the ludicrousness of its previous seasons. Happily, the gladiatorial aspect of the chef-on-chef battle is as hilariously tongue-in-cheek as ever, largely down to Mark Dacascos' role as the Chairman - the one remaining hangover of a series backstory that nobody even remembers any more, intended to link the show to its Japanese predecessor. If nothing else, watch the first four minutes of this slightly dodgy copy of the season premiere, and make it your goal for the month to have as much fun in your job as Dacascos does in his.

In the meantime, your Simian Substitute Site Of The Month for July 2018 is this very page itself, a dodge I can only pull off once a decade. Because this month, we're celebrating the 20th birthday of The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey, which first appeared on the internet on July 14th 1998. You may have noticed that we've had a wee makeover here as part of the celebrations.

For the tenth anniversary in July 2008, I assembled Ten Years Of Simians, in which I pulled together links to every single Simian Substitute Site mentioned here since I started, and reported on how many of them were still a going concern. For the twentieth anniversary, therefore, let's look at all of the sites that I've given the award to since then. As before, some have moved elsewhere, and some have died altogether, but a surprisingly large number are still standing.

BBC Olympics 2008August 2008: BBC Olympics 2008
In an inspired move, the BBC got in Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett to rework their Monkey: Journey To The West show for the branding for their 2008 Olympics coverage.

September 2008: Drunk Monkey [dead link]
Former homepage of some guy called Robert Flint. No trace of him exists on the internet now apart from a reference on this site. Two, if you count this one.

October 2008: Fight Like Apes [dead link]
Expired domain for an Irish band who expired themselves in 2016.

November 2008: Me Cheeta [dead link]
Promo site for the fake autobiography of Tarzan's chimpanzee chum, written by James Lever. It did quite well, even making it onto the Booker Prize longlist.

December 2008: Monkey Business
The finest funk band ever to come out of the Czech Republic. Still touring in 2018!

January 2009: Monkey Cup [dead link]
The page may be gone, but the video it was built around - featuring a song by Joel Veitch and his ska warriors 7 Seconds Of Love - can still be found here.

February 2009: Precious Monkey Jewellery [dead link]
If their Facebook page is to be trusted, Precious Monkey changed their name to Kiroco in 2010. Is this the same company? They seem to have diversified one hell of a lot if it is.

March 2009: Monkey March [dead link]
A fancy dress walk in aid of the Caudwell Children charity. They still do walks, just not monkey-themed ones.

April 2009: Ask The Flying Monkey! [dead link]
Used to be the problem page on afterelton.com, a site focussing on gay men in the media. These days, the whole site redirects to the Twitter page of Logo TV, the people who make RuPaul's Drag Race.

May 2009: ...Monkey Fighting Snakes... [dead link]
The t-shirt that was originally being hawked on this page no longer exists, presumably because nobody remembers the relevant line from the TV edit of Snakes On A Plane.

June 2009: My Monkey Baby [dead link]
Doesn't look like the Channel 4 site has an archive of this documentary any more, though you can still watch the trailer to get a feel for the level of ewwww involved.

July 2009: Where Are They Now? – Bubbles [dead link]
An entry on the Comedy Central UK blog, tastefully reporting on the whereabouts of Bubbles the chimp in the same month that his owner Michael Jackson kicked the bucket. Which may explain why it's not there any more.

August 2009: Gorilla With A Human Brain [dead link]
A long-dead discussion thread from the long-dead board Whitechapel, one of Warren Ellis' web communities (set up specifically to promote his webcomic FreakAngels). In it, artists came up with interpretations of the out-of-copyright comics character of the title.

September 2009: The Lonesome Stranger [dead link]
YouTube video of a western movie populated entirely by monkeys. Copyright spoilsports have removed it from this particular location, but it's subsequently re-appeared here.

October 2009: Orange Monkey [dead link]
Never mind the page, the company involved - Orange, the mobile phone people, who gave this name to one of their teen-focussed packages - doesn't exist any more either, having been folded into EE.

November 2009: Douche Monkey Astronaut
Flash game in which you launch monkeys into space through the power of intense colonic irrigation. I don't write this stuff, you know.

December 2009: Mister Shifter [dead link]
Used to be the site of a Park Royal removals company who took their name (and company logo) from the old PG Tips advert. Now appears to have been taken over by an unrelated Christchurch removals company with no simian connection at all. Booo!

January 2010: Cheeky Monkey Treehouses
"A large range of UK treehouse builds as well as builds in Europe and the Middle East." Found them through an advert in an El Al in-flight magazine, in case you were wondering.

February 2010: Werner Herzog Reads Curious George
A video that does exactly what it says on the tin (apart from the fact that it doesn't do it really).

March 2010: Fourth Monkey Theatre Company [dead link]
No need to panic: Fourth Monkey are now a big enough concern to have their own dedicated domain name, and are still going strong.

April 2010: Fleabag Monkeyface
Promotional page for Knife and Packer's series of children's books.

May 2010: Spicymonkey
Gateshead-based manufacturer of curry sauces.

June 2010: The Infinite Monkey Cage [dead link]
Dead, illegal archive of the Brian Cox/Robin Ince science show from Radio 4. The show's still going strong, though, and has a perfectly legal archive of its 17 seasons (so far) available as BBC podcasts.

July 2010: The Cheeky Monkey
You can still buy the book on writing narrative comedy by Tim Ferguson, formerly - and following their reunion, currently - of the Doug Anthony Allstars.

August 2010: Gympanzee [dead link]
It used to be a childcare centre in a Doha shopping mall. It, um, isn't there any more.

September 2010: Where The Monkey Sleeps
A cafe in Glasgow that I still haven't visited yet.

October 2010: The Infinite Monkey Theorem
"Back alley winemaking at its finest", now located in both Denver and Austin.

November 2010: Monkey Fireworks
Simian-themed fireworks manufacturers are always my lazy option when I need to do one of these things for November.

December 2010: Santa Claus' Story (aka Monkey Christmas)
A suitably festive video for the season.

January 2011: Sock Monkey 2011 Calendar [dead link]
It looks like teNeues Publishing won't let you buy 2011 calendars from them any more. So much for the First Amendment. (You can still buy the book the calendar was based on, though.)

The Monkeys You OrderedFebruary 2011: The Monkeys You Ordered
New Yorker cartoons recaptioned to make much more literal sense. Despite the legal action that was threatened by the magazine back in 2011, the site's still going, albeit updated a lot less frequently.

March 2011: Monkey Truck [dead link]
Macmillan's promo page for Michael Slack's children's book about a monkey/truck genetic hybrid hasn't been deleted, it's just been moved to a different part of the site.

April 2011: The Monkey Bar
The New York bar is still there, and its site background image has subsequently been repurposed elsewhere. Don't tell them.

May 2011: The Chuggin' Monkey [dead link]
This Austin bar's website appears to be dead, unlike its Facebook page, and presumably therefore the bar itself.

June 2011: The Brass Monkey
The third bar site in a row: this one's in Northbridge, Perth, Not Scotland.

July 2011: La Vallée Des Singes
A French primate park that's still going strong, and is celebrating its twentieth birthday along with this site.

August 2011: Project Nim [dead link]
The official site for James Marsh's monkey psychology documentary is no longer around, but as the film had BBC money involved you can go to the Beeb's own page instead.

September 2011: StoopidMonkey's Channel
Silly animated videos from the makers of Robot Chicken, though they don't seem to have made any new ones since 2014.

October 2011: Monk3ys
Official site for the film that won the Raindance Best Microbudget Feature Award for 2011!

November 2011: Powder Monkey Fireworks
Simian-themed fireworks manufacturers are always my lazy option when I need to do one of these things for November.

December 2011: Gobble Monkey [dead link]
The website has gone walkies, but Gobble Monkey's sweetie reviews seem to have been continuing irregularly on Facebook and Blogger. Hey, remember Blogger?

January 2012: Blue Lunar Monkey
"As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos, and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available on or from Myspace." Not the sort of message a musician wants to see on their website, which is probably why Daniel Gradilla puts his tunes on Soundcloud nowadays.

February 2012: The Monkey King: Uproar In Heaven
Amazingly, the official Chinese site for yet another Monkey King movie is still there.

March 2012: Monkee Business: The Musical
A jukebox musical based around the songs of the Monkees: it had the misfortune to start its UK tour just a couple of weeks after the death of Davy Jones. Never made it as far as London, as far as I know.

April 2012: Easter Monkeys
Fan page for an early 80s post-punk band from Cleveland.

May 2012: Go Ape
Still organising outdoor adventures across the UK.

June 2012: Apeman Spa [dead link]
The Yuinchi hotel in Okinawa (where the spa in question is located) has rearranged its website quite a bit, so now you have to go here to get the information you're looking for.

July 2012: Funny Monkey Comedy Carnival
YouTube channel for a Georgian (as in US district, not historical period) comedy club that seems to have gone a bit quiet since 2015.

August 2012: Monkey Olympics [dead link]
A video made by a Guangzhou safari park around the time of the Beijing Olympics, which I highlighted around the time of the London event. No sign of the video any more, sadly, unless you can find it somewhere in here.

September 2012: Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA [dead link]
Shipyard Brewing have reorganised their site: their Monkey Fist IPA now has its own page there, rather than the isolated brew sheet I originally linked to.

October 2012: Monkeybrain Comics [dead link]
The webcomic company's URL now redirects to their Comixology page, so you can purchase and read their work straight away. (Including Code Monkey Save World, based on the song that was a Simian Substitute Site in January 2008.)

November 2012: Lopburi Monkey Festival
Enjoyable, photo-heavy blog about a Thailand festival involving hungry monkeys.

December 2012: PMB090: Monkey Magic
A simian-themed episode of the Project Moonbase podcast, featuring odd and obscure music from all over the shop. It's currently on hiatus owing to health issues: hopefully we'll see its return one day, as presaged by the recent appearance of a new series of curated playlists under the Moonbase banner.

January 2013: Brass Monkey Marathon 2013 [dead link]
The York Knavesmire Harriers have redesigned their site, and you can now find details of their annual Brass Monkey Marathon here. It includes full results for all the races over the years - though not for 2013, as that one was snowed off.

February 2013: Trentham Monkey Forest
Walk with the monkeys in darkest Staffordshire.

March 2013: The Monkey March
Gasmac Gilmore, the Austrian equivalent of Gogol Bordello, play a song that's not to be confused with the Simian Site for March 2009 (see above).

April 2013: Edinburgh Zoo Squirrel Monkey Webcam [dead link]
The monkey webcam has now moved to here: and as you'll see on the same page, other webcams are also available. But why would you want them?

May 2013: How To Prevent Or Survive A Monkey Attack
Lots of practical advice courtesy of WikiHow.

June 2013: Monkey Experience [dead link]
A Finnish mobile services startup that appears to have gone into shutdown.

July 2013: Monkey Wrench Plumbing Services
Still promising "honest and effective plumbing and gas services for homeowners, businesses and landlords across South Manchester and North Cheshire."

Ian Fox - Shutter MonkeyAugust 2013: Ian Fox - Shutter Monkey
Comedian Ian Fox plugging his Edinburgh Fringe show for that summer (actually, he was bringing it back after a successful 2012 run).

September 2013: Yellow Ape Craft
Splendid craft beer bar in Osaka - we eventually got to go there in late 2014.

October 2013: Monkey Mini Rugby Club
A Hong Kong youth rugby club whose site looks largely unchanged since I first recommended it in 2013, including the left hand button bar disabling itself once you move off the front page. (The downloadable 'special news' bulletin is up to date, though.)

November 2013: Monkey With A Mustache Entertainment [dead link]
The homepage of software developer Jerry Belich is now just an ominous top level directory.

December 2013: The Northern Monkey [dead link]
A bar in Leeds that's subsequently closed down and reopened as The Guildford Hotel.

January 2014: Apenheul
It's another primate park, this one located in Apeldorn in the Netherlands.

February 2014: The Brass Monkey
A seafood restaurant in North Dublin.

March 2014: The Serco Prize for Illustration [dead link]
Frustratingly dead page on the Association Of Illustrators website, which used to tell you how the 2014 Serco Prize was won by Gill Bradley, with her depiction of an apocryphal incident in 1927 involving jazz-playing monkeys running riot on the London Underground. There's a smaller archive report here, and you can still buy the poster.

April 2014: Harp And A Monkey
Lancashire electrofolk storytellers, who've been doing their unique thing for ten years and counting.

May 2014: National Sea Monkey Day
It's on May 16th every year, and the good people at Sea Monkey Catalog are here to suggest ways of celebrating it.

June 2014: Monkey Business Comedy Club
Not sure I hold with the 'best comedy club in North London' tagline, but we've visited them a couple of times, mainly for New Year's Eve shows on the years when Ivor Dembina can't be arsed doing one - the last one we went to was on 31/12/2017, in fact.

July 2014: MonkeyParking
Back then, it was a dodgy experiment in which drivers could flog their just-vacated San Francisco car parking spaces to the highest bidder: these days, it seems to have calmed down into a more traditional 'AirBnB for parking', allowing businesses to market their own spaces.

August 2014: Grease Monkey Cycles
Edinburgh-based bike maintenance people: useful to know about if you were bringing your bike up to the city for the Festival at this time of year. (No, of course we weren't.)

September 2014: Fast Monkeys
A tech development company working out of Espoo in Finland.

October 2014: Monkey Rag
The official site for Joanna Davidovich's animated short: it includes the film itself, along with miscellaneous ancillary making-of bits.

November 2014: Black Powder Monkeys
Simian-themed fireworks manufacturers are always my lazy option when I need to do one of these things for November.

December 2014: MailChimp
Mailing list platform that was getting a lot of publicity at the time from its sponsorship of the Serial podcast.

January 2015: Probably Science #144
An episode of the still-running comedy science podcast, featuring guest Dr Christina Campbell taking about sexy spider monkeys. (Be aware that co-host Jesse Case's kidney stone problem, discussed in this episode, eventually revealed itself to be something much worse. But that's another story.)

February 2015: Arashiyama Monkey Park
Another Japanese park where you can interact with free-roaming monkeys, which we'd done a couple of months earlier but didn't get to write about until a couple of months later.

March 2015: Purple Monkey Game Jam
A Boston gaming event that appears to have become an annual thing.

April 2015: Monkey Kingdom
The official site for a Disney documentary, with all that that entails. Narrated by Tina Fey!

May 2015: MAYstly Links
This one's a terrible swiz, I admit - it's just me, writing a filler piece for Europe's Former Best Website MostlyFilm, which just happened to coincide with the first of the month. Curiously, these bits of fluff are much harder to write than real reviews.

June 2015: MonkeyMTB
Want to take a mountain biking holiday in the Italian Alps? Talk to these guys.

July 2015: The Great Gorilla Run
Another sponsored run, this time in aid of gorillas and requiring the wearing of a gorilla costume. It's an annual thing, still running in 2018.

August 2015: Fills Monkey
French percussion group that played the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015: these days, you're more likely to catch them in their home country.

September 2015: Blue Monkey Brewery
Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire brewery who regularly bring their ales down south for the Great British Beer Festival, which is where I first encountered them.

October 2015: Monkey Films
South African ad production company.

November 2015: Bang Monkey
Video by Jack Bowdler, song by Pogo, lead vocals by Paul Whitehouse.

December 2015: Cheeky Monkeys
Another in the occasional series 'childcare centres with the word monkey in their name': this one's in Cwmbran in Wales.

January 2016: Year Of The Monkey Sweets
Japanese language site with recipes you can save for the next Year Of The Monkey in 2028...

Chinese Zodiac - Year Of The MonkeyFebruary 2016: Chinese Zodiac - Year Of The Monkey
...and here's a more Chinese view of what that year entails.

March 2016: Cheeky Monkeys UAE
Dubai-based childcare franchise: at the time, comparing it against the Simian Site for three months earlier, I suggested it was "a similar sort of deal, but presumably with less booze and pork involved."

April 2016: The Fool Monkey [dead link]
French funk band who appear to have moved their Facebook page to here, assuming it's the same guys. (There can't be two bands with the same name in Bures-sur-Yvette, surely?)

May 2016: Wild Kratts Monkey Mayhem!
Interactive fun from the makers of PBS nature show Wild Kratts.

June 2016: Restaurang Hello Monkey
A small chain of Göteborg pan-Asian fusion restaurants. Highlighted just before we visited the city: we walked past one of the branches a couple of times, but never went any further than that.

July 2016: Gibraltar Monkey
An unofficial fan site for Gibraltar's Barbary macaques.

August 2016: Monkey Barrel Comedy
One of Edinburgh's few all-year-round comedy venues, still regularly bringing the funny at the time of writing.

September 2016: Monkey Toast UK [dead link]
More comedy. This impro group's website doesn't appear to exist any more, but their Facebook page is still offering classes in their techniques.

October 2016: Save The Monkey - La Guarimba International Film Festival
A campaign to raise sponsorship for the Italian film festival. They have dates lined up for 2018, so I guess it worked.

November 2016: Monkeys With Fire
Simian-themed fireworks manufacturers are always my lazy option when I need to do one of these things for November. This, however, is a gaming website, although most of their activity these days seems to be based around their Twitch channel.

December 2016: Our Christmas Monkey [dead link]
A song from the Curious George film A Very Monkey Christmas, which has inevitably been blocked on copyright grounds by NBC Universal. If you're desperate, you can still see the whole movie literally filmed off someone's big telly.

January 2017: Małpka Express
Simian-logoed convenience store chain with branches throughout Poland.

February 2017: Pancake Apes!
Video demonstration of how to make your own ape-faced pancakes, just using a couple of different colours of batter.

March 2017: Messy Monkeys
More fun for the kids, with branches located across the UK and a slapdash approach to cleanliness in play. Just how they like it!

April 2017: Museum Monkeys
York Museums Trust's programme of special activities for the under-fives.

May 2017: Monkey Tree
Learn to read English in less than a year! (Hello to whoever's reading this to you.) Offer only applies in Hong Kong.

June 2017: Monkey Town [dead link]
A series of arty events in LA, combining experimental film and food: the last one was in 2016, and it looks like the site that used to promote them has died a natural death. This video shows you what you missed.

July 2017: The Old Monkey
Traditional central Manchester pub serving Holts beer and running regular comedy nights.

August 2017: Monkey Dance
An Edinburgh Fringe show from Korea, combining music and martial arts in the sort of fusion that tends to go down well there. Their Facebook has been a bit quiet since late 2017.

September 2017: Monkey Trousers Theatre
Bristol-based theatre for children.

October 2017: Lots Of Kids, A Monkey And A Castle
From the 2017 London Film Festival comes Gustavo Salmerón's documentary about his mother, Julita.

November 2017: Funky Monkey
Simian-themed fireworks manufacturers are always my lazy option when I need to do one of these things for November.

December 2017: Jane
The official site for National Geographic's documentary about Jane Goodall.

January 2018: Monkey 2018 Wall Calendar
eBay listing for sunnycalendarseu's calendar featuring a year full of monkeys. Sold out now, I'm afraid.

February 2018: Helping Hands Monkey Helpers
The American organisation that trains and supports helper monkeys.

March 2018: A Surprisingly Deep History of Celebrities Being Attacked by Primates
An article by Andrew Gruttadaro for The Ringer: the title tells you everything you need to know.

April 2018: Average Monkey
Estonian video and film production company.

May 2018: Monkeyglasses
Sustainable Danish designer specs, with a side order of orangutan-saving charity work.

June 2018: Monkeyshrine
Travel company specialising in Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway adventures.

July 2018: Ten More Years Of Simians
And this is where we came in. Onward to the next decade!


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