Q: How did you come up with the idea for hi!
A: W knows where any idea
comes from? A neuro-chemical reaction? An electrical impulse?
Perhaps divine inspiration? In my case, I think, it was the
synergy of a digital camera combined with a serious lack of
web sites featuring charming terry cloth primates. A sugary
treat or two might have had some influence as well. So,
basically, like many sites, it started out as a little
experiment that took on a life of its own.
Q: Why do you like cooking so
A: Cooking is universal.
From making a cup of tea to whipping up a batch of classic
cheese on crackers, everyone can relate to preparing something
exactly the way they like it and having the satisfaction of
savouring it. It's creative, it's self-expression and itís
comforting. It's like any art form. You start with raw
materials and transform them into a thing of beauty. A thing
of beauty that's delicious! You don't get that with a macramť
plant hanger or a paint-by-number-painting now, do you?
Q: What's your favourite recipe on the site and
A: That's difficult to say.
They are all recipes that I enjoy. The newcomer, apple
crumble, holds a special place in my heart. My friend Craig
gave me his granís recipe. Itís delicious and so easy that I
was soon up to a five-crumble-a-week habit. After I got my
crumble addiction under control, I posted the recipe on my
site and people immediately began to write to say how it stirs
memories of their gran and happy times.
Q: How long does it take to shoot one story for the
site? Is there a human who helps you
A: My culinary adventures
are shot all in 'real timeí, so however long it takes to make
a recipe is how long it takes to shoot. Other adventures could
take a couple of days, or in the case of visiting my Tibetan
monk friends, almost a week. Letís face it, I'm a photogenic
primate, so capturing the images is not a problem. It's
choosing the photos, processing them and putting pen to paper
that takes the most time. Luckily, I do have a capable human
assisting behind the scenes.
Q: How do you come up with new ideas for the
A: I'd say that 50 per cent
of my ideas are spontaneous. I'll be out doing something and
an adventure will just sneak up on me! The rest of the time, I
jot down ideas as they occur to me in a lovely notebook.
Everything from costume designs and adventure ideas, to
recipes and haikus get written down for later use. Once those
thoughts are out of my head, there is so much more room for
new, fresh ideas to sprout.
Q: What's the reaction to the site been like so
far?A: I've got a lot of positive
reaction to my little slice of the web and, to my delight,
it's from a broad range of visitors, who each relate to a
different aspect of me. You can imagine how flattered I am
when people speculate that I am really the alter ego of a
popular comedian, the new project of an innovative director,
or a well-known chef testing the water for a childrenís
programme. What is even more flattering is that people take
the time to write and share their lives with me or send
snapshots of me with them on holiday or having some adventure
with them. Itís brilliant the way people have embraced the
playfulness of printing out my photo and going out to take
snapshots of me in various locations. The digital manipulation
of images to include me in them are also truly inspired. My
growing collection of fabulous photos will eventually all get
on to the site.
Q: How has your life changed since you launched hi!
A: Despite the fact that
I am recognised in public now, my celebrity status has not
changed me. I am a tad more worn, but I'm still as absorbent
as I always have been. I've had solo shows in art galleries.
The opportunity to interact with people all over the world is
the most remarkable change that I could ramble on about for
Q: What's your favourite section on the site and
A: It sounds a bit clichť,
but, whatever I am working on at the moment is my favourite
section of my site.
Q: How did you meet your Tibetan monk
friends?A: I just walked up to them
and said 'hello!í Monks are very friendly, you know. A smile
and a cheerful 'tashi delegí (thatís your standard Tibetan
greeting) goes a long way with a monk. Of course, my
resemblance to the Dalai Lama helps a lot, too.
Q: What's lined up
A: I have a wealth of
stories that are longing to be written, more recipes, of
course, a travel adventure or two, and my experience as a
junior planetologist in training. Iíve been toying with the
idea of an advice column and the possibility of unveiling my
first piece of fiction, 'The Rancid Little Butter Pat.í Of
course, on a really grand scale, I like to think that my
memoirs will be on the bestseller list and Iíll embark on a
world tour spreading world peace with other respected
humanitarians. I wonít be able to turn down a multi-movie deal
or choreographing an award winning Broadway musical based on
my life. You know, the usual stuff that terry cloth primates