Scurrilous rumours have abounded, over the last few days, regarding a Christmas Dinner I held that was attended by the tycoon, Cheapman.
Much of this instigated, I might add, by one particular rogue anarchist, namely, Beaver Hateman.
Allegations have been made that we struck some kind of faustian pact that I would bring pressure to bear on the King of the Badgers that would have enabled him to take over the Badgertown Broadcasting Company.
Let me make it clear, although he did present me with a rather nice gold backscratcher, no such deal was struck.
It's a common thing in life, for animals to say, "I'll scratch your back if you scratch my back."
Monkeys, for instance, will often scratch each other's backs because they can't scratch their own.
It is very difficult for an elephant to scratch its back - I often have to use a large branch - so it was very nice of Mister Cheapman to think of buying me this implement to assist me.
I admit I very much enjoyed the back scratching session that followed.
However, let me make it clear, I have never asked the King of the Badgers for anything. It is him who is always borrowing money from me.
I have no business interests, I am only interested in performing my civic duty to the best of my abilities for the good of the people of Homeward. Remember, be an upstanding citizen, pay you're rent, and you will always have a friend in Uncle!
I had no choice. After Beaver Hateman and the pirates had threatened the life of the Old Monkey I had to reveal the entry code for the secret vault I have been using to keep the funds for my charitable foundation.
It lies deep in the heart of Gold Mountain by the banks of the River Oooze. Doctor Whom used his gold detecting device to locate the cave entrance.
"O.K. Unc tell us the keycode or the Monkey gets it!" cackled Beaver.
"Well, actually, I never bothered to put one in - it's the factory default - 0000" I replied.
"Hah ! you pompous, self-confident fool! - thought it was impregnable did you?" laughed Beaver.
"Well, no it's just that..." I began...
"Aw shuddup!" smirked Hitmouse, pushing open the giant doors to reveal...a big empty space!
"...there is nothing in it" I finished.
"What! What! where is all the gold!!" cried Beaver.
"I have spent it all...on Uncleland...a new Theme Park and Experience for the Dwarfs...built across the River Oooze so that all the dwarfs who work in my Gold Mines can have free fun and entertainment in their leisure time...after all it is a charitable foundation and that is what the money is supposed to be spent on!"
"But you were promising the investors that they would not have to pay tax on the money they handed over and would get 20% interest! - you conned them!" blustered Beaver, somewhat enviously, I felt.
"No, never!" I rejoindered "I would never do such a thing - they just did not read the small print!"
Beaver got out a large magnifying glass and looked closely at my Charities Prospectus.
"It says it here 'All donations will be tax free and provide investors with returns of 20%'. Wait a minute - whats this tiny text underneath? 'Unless we spend it all on good works' ? Why, you cunning pachyderm!" read Beaver.
"Merely playing the avaricious at their own game" I chuckled.
"What you got at this Theme Park then, Unc?" queried Long John Splinter, the pirate.
"Well, it is themed around my many achievements and adventures, with displays to encorage good citizenship and entrepreneurship...." I began to explain...
"Boring!" shouted the Pirates and Badfort Crowd in unison.
"...plus the usual entertainments, Thrill rides, rollercoasters, water rides. Of course, we have some rather special diversions - such as The Ghost Ship..." I continued...
"Ooooh a ghost ship" cried out one of the pirates. "That sounds good!" said Hootman the Ghost.
"Boring!" chipped in Hitmouse.
"... and then there is the Music Hall and Bierkeller!" I finished.
"Now, that's more like it!" declared Beaver. All disappointment at being unable to steal from me gone at the thought of free beer. "C'mon then, Unc, show us your Amusement Park - the feast is on you tonight, mind!"
As you know, I have had great misgivings over acceding to my brother Rupert’s request to allow our expedition, to discover the source of the River Oooze, to be filmed by the BBC.
This ‘scripted’ reality is a very strange way of making a documentary.
For one thing – there seemed to be far too much concentration on romantic relationships – hardly the stuff of derring do !
The Director, who still seemed vaguely familiar, insisted that it was the kind of thing a modern audience wanted to see.
Much has been made, therefore, of the on/off relationship between Alonzo S. Whitebeard, the well known miser, and his paramour Iama Goldsack.
Normally they are well suited, for Miss Goldsack is very careful with money - she wears tarpaulin dresses to keep her wardrobe costs down. However, they have fallen out during this expedition because she had developed a hole in her shoe and insisted on buying a new pair – as woman are wont to do. Alonzo was furious at such spendthrift behaviour. He felt that the shoes, being only five years old, could easily be repaired by the simple action of stuffing with old newspaper. Apparently the exchanges between them have kept the tellyvisual audience enthralled. It appears that a nation is on tenterhooks as to whether they will be reconciled.
The last straw came, however, when the Director insisted on me parroting some ridiculous lines from the script he had concocted:
“Miss Goldsack you must forgive Alonzo for whilst the miser is merely a capitalist gone mad, a capitalist, like me is a rational miser….? This is ridiculous, I would never say anything like that !” I declared angrily, to the Director. “What is this nonsense! And what is this rubbish you want me to say next about only carrying out this expedition in order to ‘exploit the labour-power of my kingdom to the greatest possible extent!?”
"It's not nonsense - it's Karl Marx!" spat back the Director "Of course, I don't agree with everything he says - he was an 'economic determinist'; whereas I prefer to emphasise the psychological subjective factors in revolution."
Suddenly, I recognised those grating tones that had been so successfully masked over the past weeks. My arch enemy Beaver Hateman – leader of that band of miscreant anarchists, the Badfort Crowd!
His full features were revealed as he moved the television camera from in front of his face. He then removed his jodhpurs to reveal his usual sackcloth attire!
“So, all along this has been one great deception to enable you to broadcast your propaganda and manipulate the television audience of Great Britain!” I accused.
“Not exactly” smirked Beaver “That was merely a distraction to enable us to inveigle ourselves onto your expedition!”
I was somewhat dumbfounded. “You have a scientific interest in the source of the Oooze?” I queried. “You only needed to ask, you know, we would have been happy with further crew members!”
“The Oooze?” cackled Beaver “I don’t give a fig for that! It’s the Homeward Foundation that I am interested in!”
“My charity?, er, what has that to do with anything?” I stuttered, fearing that Beaver may have gained information on my organisation that few are privy to.
“Yes, Unc. We know everything what you have been up to. Your so-called charity that channels the money of the rich and wealthy of Great Britain so they don’t have to pay tax!....and we know all about Gold Mountain, on the banks of this very river, where it is stashed away!” chortled Beaver.
“I will never tell you the whereabouts of those funds! They are all for good causes!” I riposted.
“I think you will, faced with these overwhelming odds!” Beaver rejoined.
At that moment, our group was suddenly surrounded, by a group of fanatical pirates and man in a white coat.
“Now, um, hurry along now and lay down your arms and surrender, that would be awfully good of you” said the Captain in his usual diffident manner.
“Yes, or we will string em' all up by the yardarm, won’t we, Sir!" thundered Splinter.
“Well, perhaps, but I am sure they will behave nicely, won’t you Uncle?” said Wilson.
“This is disgraceful! – how dare you hijack our expedition in this manner!” I blustered.
“Well, now, you see, Mister Hateman, here has assured us that there is a great deal of gold, for the taking – and, you see, that is what we pirates do – steal gold and that sort of thing…upsetting, I know,” murmured Captain Wilson in reply.
“Yeah, so shuddup Unc. Our scientist, here, Doctor Whom, has a gold detector and we are all going to follow him to find your ill-gotten gains!” shouted Beaver.
At this point a man in a white coat stepped forward, carrying a small black box that emitted a low hum. He was all teeth and curls, but with a pleasant open face.
“Once we find the entrance to your stash of gold you will tell us the keycode for entry!” threatened Beaver.
“Never!” I replied.
“I think you will! – or your faithful servant, the Old Monkey, will end up as a delicacy at our next feast!” cried Splinter.
While searching for the source of the River Oooze, my brother Rupert and I are also looking to support the thriving young entrepreneurial talent that lives and works along its banks.
Today we have a get together with more than 300 young Homewardians for an entrepreneurial discussion on how to succeed while also making your business a force for good.
We heard some fantastic ideas - but I was particularly impressed by one dynamic youngster who had created a marvelous product.
"Mister Uncle, Sir," he explained " because you are such an inspiring figure and so loved by everyone in Homeward I had an idea to make puppet figures of your good self - everyone wants one Sir!"
Not that is what I call real creative thinking - just the sort of thing I like to invest in ! Not, of course, because I take any pride in my effigy being such a desirable item - but because of the hearfelt glow it gives me knowing that my exaltation of the importance of good citizenship has so aroused the populace !
I urged the director of the BBC documentary being made of our trip to make sure that he got plenty of footage of the event - it would be a great inspiration, I am sure, to the people of that blighted Isle of Britain. He just muttered something about "making a serious scripted reality documentary not a tawdry piece of self-promotion !" - Confounded cheek !
The film crew have been busy again today, filming our expedition to discover the source of the Oooze.
Not surprisingly, given my celebrity status, I am often asked to make television appearances.
However, as you know, being somewhat self-effacing I prefer to only become involved in projects where my expertise can enlighten the viewer.
There has been much press speculation in London over Mister Boris Johnson's involvement with televisual productions - namely a series he did for the BBC called 'After Rome'.
It is a little known fact, however, that I was first approached to write and present this series.
I wrote a first draft script and there was even a test shoot to gauge my screen presence. They made me wear a coalscuttle - to represent a galea, a Roman soldier's helmet.
"Don't worry" the director assured me "You look great - we'll stick the Coliseum behind you in post-production !"
I could not tolerate the script interference though - here is an excerpt of what I wrote:
"The ancient kings certainly valued the elephant in war, some stating that 'an army without elephants is as despicable as a forest without a lion, a kingdom without a king or as valour unaided by weapons.'
The successful military use of elephants undoubtedly led to the collapse of the Roman Empire."
"Uuum" piped up the Director "I am just a little concerned that this could be seen as a bit pachyderm-centric ?"
Before I knew it I had been replaced by Mister Johnson who, they claimed, had a less revisionist approach to history than mine. Personally, I suspect the fact that he was willing to do it for £30,000, rather than the fee of £60,000 that I was asking for, had more bearing on their decision. I was not doing it for the money, of course, but for a good charitable cause.
Today, for the sake of Rupert, I soldiered on with this rather strange documentary they are making of our expedition.
This morning they had me swinging from a tree and pretending to rescue a distressed maiden from a man in a gorilla suit.
"Just a bit of fun - adds a bit of glamour you see!" snickered the Director.
" There is only one world, and this is false, cruel, contradictory, seductive, without meaning - a world thus constituted is the real world. We have need of lies to conquer this reality, this "truth", that is in order to live"
As I have mentioned before, my brother Rudolph used to be a big game hunter, but when that became rather politically incorrect - he became a TV pundit on survival in the wilderness.
He has made a number of television programmes visiting various parts of the world and covering such topics as bushcraft and survival skills, the traditional culture of indigenous peoples, and the achievements of noted explorers.
I should have realised that he would not be able to resist the publicity surrounding our trip to discover the source of the River Oooze.
The fact that I, myself, world-renowned entrepreneur and “A” list celebrity, would be accompanying him, has garnered great interest from many television companies – keen to have me on their channel.
Rupert sheepishly admitted that he had done a deal with the TV controller of Channel One, of the British Broadcasting Corporation, to deliver a primetime reality series on our expedition.
“He is very keen on, what he calls, ‘itchy reality™” explained Rupert. “It seems that he feels that our adventure, battling with the wilderness, is just the ticket!”
Now, I have to say that I have already fallen out quite badly with the Controller of BBC1.
He pestered me all last year to agree to be a judge on his new flagship show – The Voice. This is a music competition to find new singing talent. The judges sit in chairs with their backs to the artist, so they can only judge them on their singing, if they like what they hear, a button-press allows their chair to spin around and face the performer, signifying that they would like to mentor them.
As you know, despite not wishing to be in the limelight (for I am a retiring soul) I am well known for my charitable works. So, I was only persuaded to take part in this project when I was assured of the great opportunities these young singers would benefit from.
Imagine my fury to receive a phone call from the TV Controller early one morning declaring that they would no longer require my services “F’raid it’s no go Unc – we just can’t make a chair that will turn carrying your weight – you are just to big for the show!”
“Are you implying that I am too fat?!” I fumed.
“You must appreciate that we are not judging you on your looks, Unc, It’s just not technically possible to have such a lard arse in one of our chairs!” he whined.
After this debacle, as you can imagine, I was in no mood to take part in some silly documentary. However, for Rupert’s sake (his career has suffered since the incident when he was found to have been staying in an hotel during a ‘wilderness trip’) I felt I had little choice but to go along with the filming.
I must admit I did not take to the cameraman/director. He seemed familiar – but as the camera hid his face all the time I could not place him.
The whole thing was ridiculous – he insisted on creating a number of silly scenarios that were supposed to have happened during our journey. I believe this is known as ‘scripted’ reality.
First he had me fighting a crocodile (which was, in reality, my brother Rupert in a crocodile suit) then he had me pretending to take a phone call from President Obama agreeing to bail out US government debt. Then I was supposed to take a call from Carla Bruni – suggesting an overly personal relationship!
“Say something about how modestly you both live and people eating cake!” shouted the director.
"Here be Dragons ?" I queried, as I perused the map of our journey.
As you will be aware, I have joined my brother Rupert on his expedition to discover the source of the River Oooze.
He used to be a big game hunter, but when that became, more than somewhat, rather politically incorrect - he became a TV pundit on survival in the wilderness.
He prides himself on knowing everything there is about the dangers of the wilderness - but even he seemed a little perplexed about this particular warning inscribed on the map.
"Where exactly are we ?" I asked of him.
"Well, these surrounding mountains are the source of much of your wealth, my dear brother" he replied. "For they contain the Great Gold Mines that so many of the dwarfs of Homeward toil in. As for dragons, though, they are clearly just a myth put about by the dwarfs to scare off thieves and robbers !"
"They are no myth, if you beg my pardon, Sir!" piped up Goodman the Cat. "For I have read of these fearsome creatures in books from you very own library, Sir!"
One had to take Goodman's remark seriously - for he is a very well-read cat.
At this point, our party found itself surrounded by a horde of screaming and ranting dwarfs.
"What's all the fuss about, Old Monkey?" I bellowed.
"They seem to be angry with you, I'm afraid, Sir. They say that they are downing tools and taking industrial action !" he replied.
"Yeah, and if you think we are cross you wait till the dragons get hold of you - burn you to a crisp they will!" declared a red bearded dwarf, who was clearly the ringleader of the rabble.
At that moment, three giant scaly flying lizards swooped down towards us. Breathing fire and with fearsome expression they clearly meant to do us harm. Sadly, because, of course, a dragon is no match for an elephant, I had no choice but to protect the expedition.
"Take the fire extinguishers from the boats and let them have it!" I declared.
If there is anything a dragon cannot abide it is a dose of Co2.
They were soon lying in a spluttering heap at our feet.
"Huh" coughed the leader of the pack "Just the sort of behaviour we should have expected from a tyrant like you!" he ranted. "we were warned that you would not fight fair!"
"I had no choice - your behaviour is atrocious. Do you not know who I am?" I questioned the ill- mannered brute.
"Yeah! you are the pachyderm who has ruined our living!" he spluttered.
Using all my diplomatic skills I finally got him to explain his hostility to our group.
It seems that the dragons main source of income is in the making and selling of a certain delicacy from their native Cornwall.
"What exactly is a Pasty?" I murmured to the Old Monkey as the dragons raged on.
"It's a sort of pastry filled with diced or minced beef, onion, potato and swede in rough chunks along with some peppery seasoning. Rather crude for someone of your refined palate, Sir, but very popular with common dwarfs, I'm told" whispered the Old Monkey.
"Sound awful - I'd rather have a Whooshmeat Roulade, anyday!" I muttered under my breath.
"We love em!" declared the ringleader of the dwarfs "especially piping hot!"
"Yes!" chimed in the head dragon "we would fly down with our pasties for the dwarfs, and heat them up with fire from our mouths - fresh and hot! - Greggs Pasties (that's my name!)"
"Delicious!" shouted all the dwarfs in unison. "But now you have gone and bunged tax on it!"
"Tax! what tax! - I charge no taxes on foodstuffs!" I retorted.
"One of your tax inspectors came and told us you had ordered it. Short little fella with skewers. Said we had to send all the money we collected to your accounting office at Badfort" replied Gregg. "Then Mister Hateman came and told us you were coming and said we should give you a warm welcome ! - he cackled at that little joke, and said he meant we should make the miserable tyrant burn!"
"Will that ruffian never give me a moments peace!" I sighed.
The ruse that had been played on them was explained and we invited dragons and dwarfs to join us at our encampment for a feast.
The Dragons greatly enjoyed the Ballotine of Beef washed down with a rather nice Chablis.
Unfortunately, I had to reciprocate by eating one of their pasties - it is still repeating on me.