Welcome, my children, to the first (and I hope not the last) installment of my question-and-answer column entitled Ask the Monkey Monk. I was thrilled when we received word from Editor-In-Chief Jeff Giles that he wanted your humble thinktank from the St. Simian Monastery and Winery of Upper East Congo to be a part of Popdose. We don’t actually have the Internet here, nor do we have computers, due to our mutual vows of poverty. We have to rely on Zed, a narcoleptic cheetah, to deliver messages back and forth so please be forgiving of any lagtime between the time you submit your questions and the time when we can answer them. Even then, things can get dodgy as the communiques are fielded by our counterpart Mr. Rensellaer whom we pay for services rendered with our tasty, tasty merlots. Oh, Mr. Rensellaer, thank heavens for your most fortunate alcoholism. Onto the first question!

Dear Monkey Monk,

I recently was watching a Sarah Brightman special on PBS where she duetted with many different singers. One struck me as being particularly familiar sounding, but I didn’t recognize the name at all – Chris Thompson. While the notion of Sarah singing with anyone makes me a little angry, I am impressed by Mr. Thompson’s pipes nonetheless. I’ve heard that voice somewhere before! Please clarify!


Andrew Bedd Wetter

Dear Andrew; are you sure you want to go with that particular pen name? Moreover, are you sure you want to openly admit to watching Sarah Brightman PBS specials? Frankly, her melodramatic over-singing fills me with an urge to fling feces at the neighbors’ television (again, vow of poverty…) But to address your specific question, you have heard Chris Thompson before even if the name doesn’t ring a bell. He was the lead singer of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and it’s his forceful delivery that makes his version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Blinded By The Light” so memorable. I cannot say whether the man has a speech impediment or whether his pronunciation of “revved up like a deuce” was intentionally made to sound like “ripped off like a douche.” We hear at St. Simian’s do not condone theft of any kind after all.

Thank you for your question. Next!

Dear Monkey Monk,

I’m confused. I rewatched A Clockwork Orange recently and took note of the composer of the incidental music, a Walter Carlos. I can’t find out much about Walter Carlos, but I did find another composer, a Wendy Carlos who did the soundtrack for the film Tron. Are they somehow related?


Not Danny Elfman

Dear Not Danny; Arthur Conan Doyle, writing as Sherlock Holmes, said that when you have run out of possible conclusions, the impossible, however improbable could well be correct. Walter Carlos and Wendy Carlos are, in fact, one and the same. Carlos is also known for the Switched On Bach recording of the 1970s, helping to make synthesizer music accessible to the classical elite. I had a synthesizer once, before I came to the monastery, but an elephant sat on it.

Thank you for your question!

Our first installment is, sadly, brief. I fear Zed has nodded off en route again. Either that or Mr. Rensellaer hit his allotment of vino harder than usual. Oh, what a colorful cast of characters we have! Anyway, feel free to submit your questions to the column via the comments section below. Any and all topics are welcome and we will do our best, between picking nits out of each others’ scalp, to answer them in a responsible and forthright manner. Who knows, your fellow readers might have the answer before poor Zed gets them to us! The Lord works in mysterious ways. So until then, I am your humble scribe the Monkey Monk, off to smoke a cigarette in a comical fashion.