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Author Topic: Monkey Butlers: Steampunk or not?  (Read 19169 times)
Capt. Dirigible
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« on: September 23, 2010, 02:18:08 pm »

Anyone familiar with MC Elemental will have heard him mention 'Geoffrey'-his 'monkey butler with a mechanical eye' and Robert Rankin's latest (excellent) novel, The Japanese Devil-Fish Girl' features a monkey butler  called Darwin. Having done a bit of googling on the topic I found the following:

All over the internet, you'll find people being childishly excited at the mention of a monkey butler. To own one seems to be the pipe dream of almost everyone you know. Never referred to as a monkey footman or valet, nor as a chimp or ape butler, the monkey butler is practically guaranteed to bring a sparkle to the eye of any slacker or geek. Where does the idea come from? First of all, what is a monkey butler? Simply, this lovable fellow is a monkey trained to act as a butler. Commonly to be seen carrying a silver tray of delicious drinks for the butled party, perhaps even with a teatowel over the non-carrying arm, in the manner of a waiter. Artists' impressions of the monkey butler can be seen at various websites.
 The definitive source of the meme is widely regarded as being the 'Das Bus' episode of the  animation series, The Simpsons. Implausibly, a contingent of Springfield Elementary School pupils have floated several thousand miles following a bus crash ...

Stranded on a desert island, the kids squabble ... until we hear the              
 sound of a conch shell, coming from Bart, who stands atop a large rock.            
                                                                                    
                                     BART                                          
     What's everyone's problem? I'm glad we're stranded! It'll be                  
     just like the Swiss Family Robinson, only with more cursing!                  
     We'll live like kings! Damn hell ass kings!                                    
                                                                                    
    The kids envision a 'fun in the sun' island, with waterslides, "Under the Sea"    
    style music, and everyone having a good time. Chimpanzees in evening dress serve  
    elaborate fruit drinks to children reclining on "Ewok Village" style terraces.    
    Suddenly the future looks a whole lot brighter. Back in real life, Nelson has      
    his hand up.                                                                      
                                                                                    
                                    NELSON                                          
     How many monkey butlers will there be?                                        
                                                                                    
                                     BART                                          
     One at first - but he'll train others.                                        
                                                                                    
      Bart sees that everyone seems satisfied.                                          
                                                                                    
                                     BART                                          
     Good, let's get to work! Me and Nelson will build the treehouse.              
     Martin, draw up a plan for a coconut radio, and if possible, a                
     coconut Nintendo system.
 

But how can we explain the other category of monkey butler obession-instances, to wit: collectible figurines, dating from the 18th/19th century, or at least replicating those of that period? One answer comes from a website selling just such statuettes:

"During the days when Brittania ruled a far-flung empire, many people were able to see such exotic sights as monkeys for the first time. The captive animals traveled from their native jungles (usually unwillingly) to England, Europe and North America, becoming popular attractions when they arrived. This popularity soon was reflected in contemporary art and crafts".


Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Now it all seems very fanciful and amusing..and some people might even think it cruel but those wacky Japs have taken this to it's logical conclusion and have actually  trained up monkey waiters for a sake bar in Japan.

But I digress...

Given the  link to the Victorian figurines and larger statues mentioned/shown above and the contributions of MC Elemental and Commodore Rankin I ask the question.."Monkey Butlers: Steampunk or not?"-Discuss.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2010, 02:25:54 pm by Capt. Dirigible » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2010, 02:24:27 pm »

Monkey butler.. yes, definitely. Gorilla bodyguards even more so. Double bonus points for mechanical monkeys/apes.
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Just call me Rob
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2010, 02:32:52 pm »

I have a small team of Monkey Butlers in Waistoat and Fez that live in my basement.

My experiments to attach giant bat wings to them have so far met with failure, they keep ripping the waistcoats.

After a misunderstanding at the Asylum these faithful servants have found their ranks swelled by the additions of highly trained Hamsters, also in Fez and waistcoat, who are being trained as MicroButlers and should be perfect to bring miniatures of gin when required.

I am not sure if Monkey Butlers are inherently steampunk.
But they are quirky and odd, and anything that is quirky and odd is likely to be most welcome in any steampunk house.
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Aeryenne Tederich
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 02:40:38 pm »

Anyone familiar with the improvisational Geordie comedian Ross Noble (and if you are not familiar, rectify that immediately) will be aware of his longing for a Breville-monkey - a monkey with a Breville sandwich toaster for a leg - and I can't help but second his desire. After all, who wouldn't want a walking Breville-monkey, ready to make you a lovely toasted cheese sandwich whenever you desired?

As for it being steampunk...well, I'm sure one could steampunk the Breville in some manner. Put the monkey in a waistcoat, you know. It's the little touches.
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2010, 03:00:05 pm »

Definitely steampunk (as long as the simians have learned to accessorize properly). markf
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Lazaras
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2010, 03:52:45 pm »

Fits in with the prevelant ideas of evolution plus the general lack of morality to animals 9we're HELPING them after all, aren't we?) To a man of the era I'm sure beingable to train simians to do the dirty work would remove the moral agonizing over chaining down a fellow human being. Then again they must be properly acessorized and if at all possible not fling poo at the visitors... except solicitors or collectors.
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2010, 03:58:55 pm »

For sure and for certain, I can think of two comic strip simians that fit the bill: Travis Perkins the urbane gorrila in Judge Dredd, and King Solomon in Tom Strong, Perkins dressing in a morning suit and bowler hat.

He was an 'augmented' ape, ie he is the result of scientific meddling, so I vote that mad science must have a hand in the creation of monkey butlers.

Smiley
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Ratty
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2010, 04:02:13 pm »

I think Gorilla bodyguards are definitely steampunk..



definitive proof.
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Lazaras
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2010, 04:10:59 pm »

Well it helps when they're smart enough to know exactly what you want and not have your pasties all covered in hair and half eaten. Also helps to know when tea time is yes?

Oh and yes, gorilla guardsimians would be a definite plus. ESPECIALLY for your tropical home away from home where they can forage themselves and likely would be more adept at getting around than you would.
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19th Century Space Pilot
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2010, 04:11:00 pm »

It would depend on how they became butlers. As a result of being trained? Can be steampunk, but doesn't have to be. Shiny high-tech Neural implants? That's edging a bit close to cyberpunk...

But if we augment their intelligence with a bit of chemical meddling and train them to be good butlers, then they definately can be.

Wasn't this how Planet of the Apes began...?
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Lazaras
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2010, 04:20:50 pm »

Actually Planet of the Apes was a stable timeloop since all the servant apes were a result of Ceaser having been introduced to the timestream. That or Ceaser was the spark that led to the rebellion and his parents corpses were used as templates to make intelligent simians.
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Just call me Rob
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2010, 04:32:23 pm »

It would depend on how they became butlers.

I prefer the idea that it is not explained, that's the charm of it.

Imagine a pleasant day in Hyde Park, the zepplins are floating overhead creating a pleasant susurrus in the background.

I am sitting in a bench enjoying the day as my monkey butler arrives at my side and offers me the morning paper.
A nearby gentleman sees this and comes over.
'Excuse me Sir, I see you have a monkey as a butler.'
'Why yes I do, he's most capable.'
'Sir, may I ask, where did he come from'
'Well, I placed an add in the Times and he called round the next day.'
'But how did he become a butler'
'I presume some sort of butler school.'
'yes, but aren't monkeys generally wild animals'
'hmmm, possibly, but I find it best not to generalise about such things'
'Was he specially bred for the purpose of being a butler'
'It's possible, I'd have to ask his Parents I suppose, lovely couple, apparently they live in Dorking these days.'
'But does he have some sort of enhancement in his brain.'
'I couldn't say, he's certainly a voracious reader and I've always thought that reading is a good way to expand knowledge.'
'But ….  but …… but he's a monkey'
'Do excuse me Sir, I have an appointment with my Barber.'
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2010, 04:46:55 pm »

If your monkey butler is the product of Doctor Moreau, then there is definite steampunk potential. At the same time, you would be unwise to hand such a creature your straight razor and expect anything good to come of it.
By the way, I have not seen anyone here mention this side-project of Archie McPhee (a good source for monkey-related things and monkeyshines in general): http://monkeygoggles.com/.
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Hey Joe
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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2010, 03:32:49 am »

A Mangani butler would not be too farfetched.
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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2010, 04:47:01 am »

Sir, - I am frankly appalled and outraged by this cruel and inappropriate thread!  

Why everyone knows that the only suitable place for a monkey is sitting atop a Barrel Organ!

See below for an illustration of the disastrous consequences, arising from this current heinous practice of monkey theft!

« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 04:42:24 am by Argus Fairbrass » Logged

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Arvis
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« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2010, 05:45:33 am »

 Movies such as "Link" and "Monkeyshines" Come to mind...

 EDIT:
Ah, found the trailer for link.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

 Arvis
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 05:56:36 am by Arvis » Logged

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Capt. Dirigible
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« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2010, 09:28:32 am »

Oooh! That takes me back! I saw Link when it first came out in the cinema.

Anyone remember Lancelot Link:Secret Chimp?

@just Call Me Rob: I love the idea of a sort of Monkey Butler Academy where they just arrive, Jeeves like, at your door fully trained...

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OswaldBastable
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« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2010, 09:52:03 am »

Well dressed intelligent animals seem SP to me; though what I want even more is an army of giant flying monkeys "Fly my beauties!"
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Rockula
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« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2010, 03:53:58 pm »

If monkeys can drink tea, and advertise it as well, I see no reason why they shouldn't serve it as well. Perhaps with cucumber sandwiches and a light cake to follow.
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« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2010, 03:58:19 pm »

Monkey Butlers with augmented monocles - very steamy, Gorilla Bodyguards - great in any setting, but now I'm thinking Giraffe Look-outs with automated goggle binoculars and Elephant Philosophers wearing Prince Nez glasses and smoking pipes...
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« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2010, 04:03:37 pm »

What a wonderfully educational thread. I will certainly be informing his commodore-ship of it. I seem to recall that Darwin the monkey butler in JDFGAOUA was written in because I like the idea of monkey butlers. In fact monkeys have become somewhat totemic in our shared lives, the same way that kiwi (birds) have too. (You'll just have to wait 'til the next book!)
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« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2010, 06:33:13 pm »

Mr., Pickles reporting for duty.

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« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2010, 07:18:38 pm »

I like the idea of them very much, as long as they are wearing subtle, non-garish colors. (If I had a statue of one, I'd repaint him so.)

I also am very fond of the idea of them having wings, or winglike contraptions. "It's for the SERVICE!"
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ladyraygun
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« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2010, 08:39:06 pm »

Nonononono. Monkey butlers wear little red waistcoats and a red fez!
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Aeryenne Tederich
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« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2010, 08:43:58 pm »

Nonononono. Monkey butlers wear little red waistcoats and a red fez!

I second this. From here on out, all my future Breville-monkeys will be required to wear red waistcoats and fezes.

That, or chequered sweatervests.
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