The first time I went to a zoo I think I was about 8 years old. That’s probably a really old age to visit a zoo for the first time but the nearest one to me was Bristol as I live in a place that hasn’t got much apart from chewing-gum spattered pavements, E. Coli infested takeaways and gutters cluttered with flagons of White Ace and split greyed condoms. In short, I live in a place where people spend their lives waiting to die and don’t do much else apart from rinse the British economy and spit out babies into the world like flies spewing on our food. We had a shit car at the time and it used to cough and gasp if we did more than a few miles so I never got the chance to go anywhere worthwhile apart from the swimming pool where I’d perv on the girls under the water, but one day my father must have sorted the car out or something because he took me to Bristol Zoo on a Saturday. I was pretty gutted because I was looking forward to going swimming – it was the highlight of my week – but when we got to the zoo, the pool was just a fuzzy shimmering mirage that grew fainter and duller as the day wore on and was replaced by the shiny reinforced glass and sweet-smelling wafts of shit at the zoo.
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The zoo showed me a new way of life. Monkeys picking their arses and licking their fingers, birds tweeting (no, not that kind) their own macabre choir-song, llamas spitting at everyone, the pygmy hippos looking like huge, brown, fat beans and chilling out in the sun and the seals sliding in and out of the water like whiskered slugs. When I went there was also a weird amount of obese kids, it was as if fat school had organised a weekend away or something and it was really funny watching these kids drag themselves around the zoo because it didn’t take me long to realise they weren’t there to catch as many cool animals as they could but they were there so they could catch as many of the various hot dog/popcorn/ice cream vendors as they could before their time at the zoo was up. No wonder parents of fat kids are either really rich or super skint.
Even though all the animals I saw at the zoo were awesome – even the iguana who didn’t move at all – there was one animal in particular that my mind kept rewinding and pausing at. The lion. There was something about the lion that I found completely mesmerising. I dunno whether it was because it was one of the best-looking animals I’ve ever seen or because it just commanded attention as it lay down on its favourite rock and watched the people prod their fingers at it and let their stupid mouths hang open while staring at it or because the lion had one of the scariest, loudest, fearless roars I’d ever heard. It was sort of like a demi-god to me and I think, now, that I must have been Egyptian in a past life as I still can’t shift the awesomeness of a lion away from my mind.
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Another thing a lion is good at it, is purring. If you ever hear a lion purr, you’ll be looking around for a boy racer’s crappy car with an exhaust bigger than the car itself because a lion’s purr is really loud and obnoxious and it just seizes your attention. They purr at 100 decibels which is as loud as a tractor, a pneumatic drill and a car horn from 25 feet away which, as you can imagine, is pretty loud. So, imagine a cat with a purr as loud as a lion. Would be really weird, right? Yeah. It is. Because there’s an actual living cat with a purr as loud as a lion and his name is Merlin. He’s even made the dog who he lives with deaf, and his owner even reckons Merlin can reach 105 decibels. I would not want to wake up with a hangover to find Merlin purring away. It would be enough to make a man even more miserable. I mean, imagine spending all day with a pneumatic drill? No, thanks. I’d rather let my eardrums pop. Oh, yeah, here’s a picture of Merlin. Is his owner a drag queen?
Anyway, here’s a video of Merlin in action. The owner of the loudest purr is a cat called Smokey from Pitsford (where?). Merlin smashes his record so his owner should probably enter him into the Guinness World Records or something. Could you spend a day, let alone years, with a cat as loud as this? If I wanted to be deaf I probably could but I kinda like hearing properly so I’d have to give this one a miss, as much as I love cats. Sorry buddy.
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