HEAR YE, HEAR YE! Stuart Hall here crouched ready to spr-r-ring into action and take you on another whistle-stop tour of one of the world’s top zoos. As a Manchester City fan, the choice of this instalments zoo pains me – BUT! I have taken a thorough dip in disinfectant and donned my hazard suit, so let us begin. Today we take a trip to the self appointed ‘biggest zoo in the world’. A zoo which, though based in Manchester, is a favourite with southern types who think nothing of abandoning their local zoos and then strut around like they have the largest genitalia known to human kind just because their adoptive zoo finishes at the top of the zoo premier league. It’s a BLOODY DISGRACE. Of course the facilities are nice, and the range of animals on offer is exceptional, but like the lion in the Wizard of Oz it sadly has no heart.
EEeeenough! “THE ANIMALS STUART!” I hear you cry it heartily, with whiskey-soaked passion, like David Moyes shouting at himself in a mirror. “NO, YOU LISTEN TO ME YOU GINGER BASTAAAD, YOU SAID SAHA WAS OVER HIS INJURY TURMOIL! DAMN YOU MIRROR-MAN“. But I knew Louis would continue to have problems and I don’t talk to myself in the mirror, so I shall digress no further.
We have to start with the jewel in the zoos crown, a pr-r-rize winning animal that, despite rapidly rising maintenance costs and repeated bids from a Madrid based zoo, is loved by all who visit. We gaze across a paddock to see a fine bron-zed beast. Tall, athletic, HIDEOUS! but beautiful in equal measure, the galloping pony R-r-ronaldo. He has recently won best in show and trots about arrogantly. I attempt to feed him a sugar cube through the fence, but he rears up on his powerful haunches and springs into the air. Landing to roll in his own filth, he neighs for the steward to escort me from the premises. But his pleas go unrewarded; he will be shot for glue on the morrow.
At this juncture I had an opportunity to stop and talk to zoo keeper Ferguson. I ask him “We have just seen Ronaldo, he casts himself as the slave and like Kunta Kinte rebelled against your Plantation. Have you stopped his escape? Will you castrate him or chop off part of his foot as warning to others?” When the response comes it sounds strangely like Terry Phelan and appears to be coming from a nearby bush. “Lets not talk about one animal, this zoos success is built on the foundations of great teamwork, it’s not about individual brilliance”. Ferguson raises his head as if to speak, then mumbles something incomprehensible. The only words I could make about were “little bastard”, though the stabbing motions he made with his broom betrayed his true feelings.
Our next box to tick is that of the rare Albino Gorilla. ROONEY! He struts about his cage, stocky, POWERFUL! Yet he has the innocent eyes of a bodybuilder perplexed by a simple math problem. But you mustn’t look at him for too long madam, as the male of the species is often a disfigured mess! As such they attract a mate by building a nest from huge amounts of cash. It is so powerful an aphrodisiac that the male can learn the sexual ropes with elderly Prostitute Apes who share its territory without breaking the bond with its mate. During his life at the zoo, he has fathered twenty-two offspring (of which six survived to adulthood) with three females.
We move to the aquatic centre to find our next object of intrigue. He has been given a grand £16.8 million tank in the centre of the building. We stare into the water, WHATS THAT!? A rock. WHAT’S THAT!? A rock also. WHAT’S THAT!? A moving rock… NO! WAIT! IT’S HIM!! Carrick the Hermit Crab scuttles excitedly about his tank, first he races to one side, waits, SPR-R-RINTS to the other side! Waits, AND HE’S BACK! Along exactly the same path. He never deviates, only moving forward to eat which he does so roughly 6 times a year. IMAGINE! As he moves across his tank once more he stumbles, trrrips and is gone, hidden away in his shell. It will take 6-8 weeks for the keepers to coax him out.
Our final stop is inside a bunker like structure, cold, FOREBODING! There is the distinctive smell of urine all around. The guards who escort me have all wet themselves! Have I, STUART HALL wet myself? No. I evacuate all of my waste in pellet form. I remove the pellet from my pantaloons and, as today is the 15th of the month it is filled with essential nutrients and minerals. The animal the guards are so afraid of is: The one, THE ONLY, goat sucker from South America – Chupacabra. He is known simply as ‘Tevez’ which is surely a corruption of the good BR-R-Ritish name “Steve”. Inside his cage the floor is scattered with chunks of flesh. He sprints to each one in turn, trying to take a bite, missing, and then running tirelessly to the next. Occasionally he will manage to eat four chunks of meat in a row. But this is rare.
I remarked that Tevez would be our final animal, and I am no liar. However I have been hiding a trick up my British-made and sensible, yet colourful enough to allude to my inner eccentricity, sleeve. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, a Fisted Away/Stuart Hall exclusive… JOHN O’SHEA! John is, despite outward appearances, actually a human man. Whilst exotic luxury creatures like Ronaldo take all the plaudits, much of the zoos success is down to this unassuming former sewer-dweller. As a “utility animal”, he is tasked with donning various animal costumes, each lovingly handmade by Grandma Charlton, and gamely fills in for any animal too sick to appear before the public. To the unsuspecting public their visit goes unspoilt, but whilst they bought tickets hoping to see Ronaldo or Tevez what they have actually seen is an IMPOSTOR, doing a passable impression of a real animal.
That is all for this edition, my oxygen supply is running low so I must bid you all adieu. Also, my pellets are provided less sustenance than I hoped. In fact, they actually have a taste that is somewhat redolent of shit.