Ailsa proposes ‘Rhythm’ as this week’s photo topic, which is great for me! Since the WordPress weekly photo challenge is proposing ‘Today’ as a topic, I can’t draw on my father’s black and white photos from seventy years ago! But I can for Ailsa.
See her Rhythm story here: http://wheresmybackpack.com/2012/06/01/rhythm/
And here’s mine, the only photo from the album in which someone is playing a musical instrument. I imagine this monkey is dancing to the beat. It was amusing enough for a few people to stop and watch and for at least one soldier to stop and photograph. My father wrote ‘Kan-Kan’ under the photo, so that must be the monkey’s name.
An Egyptian man with a dancing monkey is generally a beggar who lives on alms. He is called a fakir (so I read), an Arabic word for ‘needy man’. In Western countries, the use of animals for street entertainment is frowned upon now, though I did see some online images of dancing monkeys in India and Pakistan. I suppose it’s like busking; there’s probably some talent involved in training the monkey. But from then on it has to dance for its supper. It’s something which leaves me ambivalent: I have a real (Western) pleasure in Orientalist images, whether they be paintings or designs or photos like this one. I feel the same when listening to gypsy music like that of Django Reinhardt, which makes sense: the word gypsy comes from Egyptian. The colourful elements of Middle Eastern life are like chocolate to me; they’re rich and mysterious. Here’s to ancient peoples! We owe them much.