Friday, 1 January 2016

2016 The Year of the Monkey Bench

Goodbye 2015. Thanks for the coconut water, beards, BB8, That Dress, and pastel hair. Thanks for athleisurewear, Prosecco, and the comeback of Adele. 

Now it's 2016 and on February 8th the Chinese Year of the Monkey Bench begins. 

In cities all over the world people will celebrate this ninth animal of the zodiac. For people born in the Year of the Monkey, the writing is on the wall.

Of course we have already had some brilliant monkey benches here on Benchsite. Here's Macaco Gordo, the Fat Monkey made from 10,000 pairs of Brazilian flipflops.

But this time I am letting Eddie, my Inner Editor, have his say. After all, he's a monkey. 

Has been ever since he was a baby.

Eddie: I want my picture at the top of this post. And I'm embarrassed to have this baby picture here. 

Too bad, Eddie, it's already done. What we need now is to stand on a bench and look ahead into the new year.

Eddie:  I disagree. I think we need a frank discussion about people who are born in The Year of the Monkey.

Who is this?

Eddie: My Uncle Frank. He's an Earth Monkey: frank, optimistic and fearless.

He's gorgeous. But now I'd like you to get on and show the great benches we have to celebrate The Year of the Monkey. There is plenty to say.

For example, did you know that great unexpected fortune will find its way to Monkeys in 2016?

Eddie: I hope this is true. I have never found money growing on benches.

You're a bit of a card shark, aren't you, Eddie?

Eddie: No comment. But this is my cousin Alex. He's in Vegas, waiting for the roulette wheel to spin his lucky numbers. 

In the Year of the Monkey that's four and nine.

He has a right to look worried. Monkeys should avoid gambling, speculating, and collecting illegal gains due to greed. In this Year of the Monkey they could lose everything.

Eddie: Alex could end up living on a park bench.  

No monkeying around now, Eddie, and no showcasing your relatives. Just get on with the benches. I'm sure you've read up on this.

Eddie: The Year of the Monkey has different kinds of monkeys you know: wood, fire, water, earth, gold. 

To be precise, it's the Year of the Red Fire Monkey. 

Fine. Here's a Red Fire Monkey bench for you.

Eddie: Two problems. This is snow, not fire. And this is a gorilla, not a monkey.

It'll have to do because now we need to know something about the characteristics of people born in the Year of the Monkey. What kind of creatures are they? 

Eddie: Like me, people born in a year of the Monkey are witty, intelligent, and have a magnetic personality. You can see this in my portrait.

Yes, but this is not about you. This blog has just got started and already there are three pictures of your relatives and four pictures of you.

Eddie: I guess you want benches?

Yes, Benchsite is no monkey puzzle. We just want to see some really great monkey benches, like this one at Perth Zoo. 

Eddie: Two problems. One, I don't care for zoos. And Two, this is not a monkey. It's a gorilla.

Alright then, what about this little guy who is monkeying around on a red bench?

Eddie: Monkey People like me are clever, curious, and just a little bit mischievous. 

You seem to find bananas very appealing.

Eddie: And we are masters of practical jokes.

But sometimes you go too far with your pranks. Remember when you ruined my Dragon blog with your monkey business? You rode cooked your goose with that one.

Eddie: Don't blame me if I'm a crafty opportunist: I'm a Monkey!

Sometimes you behave like a baboon.

Eddie: Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

That's easy for you to say.

Eddie: We Monkeys are very hard working. Good career choices for monkeys are accounting and banking, science, engineering, stock market trading, air traffic control, film directing, jewelry, and salesmanship.

I notice Editing is not in this list.

Eddie: You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Well, you have other choices for employment.

Losing your job on Benchsite wouldn't be too much of a monkey wrench; I thought you might like the circus, Eddie. You're always showing off and you like to be in the limelight.

Eddie: No, I never want to end up on the wrong side of the bars. 

Though I'm no stranger to having strangers admire me in galleries. 

Eddie: This is a particularly appealing pose. 

Can you do the Hanumasana Monkey Pose?  

Eddie: Nothing to do with me.

To move this story on I'm going to show you a gorgeous gorilla bench.

Eddie: Call me short-sighted but I don't see a bench here.

Look again.

My friend Miggy sat on it at Longleat Safari Park.

Eddie: I don't approve of safari parks. I prefer gorilla benches in the wild.

Add caption

Me too, Eddie, but you can't always find one.

Eddie: There's a new book about gorillas out that I haven't read yet.

Why not?

Eddie: I'm waiting for it to come out in silverback.

Very funny. 

Eddie: See, we agree on some things. Monkeys are not hard to get on with. We are talkative and very sociable. 

Then maybe you'll fall in love on a bench in this Year of the Monkey?

Eddie:  I doubt it. We monkeys are restless and easily bored.

But eventually you make strong relationships. Wood monkeys are strong, compassionate and always ready to help others. 

Eddie: We monkeys communicate well, which is why I am an excellent Inner Editor.

Yes, sometimes. But other times you are a real pig.

Eddie: We monkeys don't get on with Pigs. We prefer relationships with people born in the Year of the Rabbit Bench.

This might explain our difficulties. I'm no fluffy bunny.

Eddie: That's true. Remember when you called me Zoo Breath? 

Remember when you sacked me?

How could I forget? They were outside my house for weeks.

Eddie: Monkeys don't get on with other monkeys either.

I guess they just don't have the right chemistry? 

Eddie: This is the kind of pun I try to edit out.

But as co-editors we're supposed to work together, each of us carrying one end of the story.

Yet whatever we do, you always find a way to get monkeys into it. 

I scream for ice cream benches and I get a primate.

Eddie: Your ice cream example leaves me cold.

See what I mean? You're stubborn as a sock monkey.

You behave like a not-fully bipedal knuckle-walker. 

Eddie:  WHAT????

photographer unknown

Eddie: My sister Eleanor can't believe you're saying this.

Eleanor is very cute but I thought we'd agreed to keep your relatives out of this story.

Eddie: I need my family around me. I feel like I'm on trial here.  

Sorry, Eddie. I didn't mean to upset you. I know Monkey people are prone to a nervous disposition.

Eddie: Tell me about it. I nearly had a breakdown when I saw the spelling of Cheekie Monkies on this shop.

I've just noticed that the shop next door to Cheeky Monkeys is a Chinese takeaway called Good Fortune. This might be a good place for Chinese New Year. 

Eddie: My brother Walt is gazing into the future and thinking about the new year.

I hope he sees romance in your future, Eddie.

Eddie: I hope he sees a nice hot summer.

Well, I wish Good Fortune to all our readers in The Year of the Monkey. Do you know how to say Happy New Year in Chinese?  

You're so clever, Eddie, I'll bet you knew this one already.

Eddie: I wouldn't be able to come up with that if I sat at a keyboard for two million Chinese Years. 

Happy New Year and all good wishes for health and happiness in the Year of the Red Fire Monkey Bench! 


In England January 1st became the first day of the new year in 1752, replacing 25th March. January 1st has been new year in Scotland since 1600. In England it was believed to be bad luck to sweep dust out of the house, or to take fire from a neighbour, or to do the washing: Pray, don't thee wash on New Year's day, or you'll wash one of the family away

Chinese New Year is an annual thing here on Benchsite. In 2017 it's the Year of the Rooster and there's quite a bit about Chinese beer. Back in 2015 it was Goats and/or possibly Sheep Benches. 2014? That was Horse Benches

The Year of the Monkey begins on February 8, 2016 and lasts until 27 January 2017. Within the 12 year cycle of the Chinese zodiac you are a Monkey if you were born in the following years: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, and 2028. Your lucky colours are white, blue and gold;  you should avoid red and pink. If you are a gambler you might want to avoid the numbers 2 and 7, choosing instead the lucky numbers 4 and 9. If you were born in other years, you might be a Goat or a Horse. If so, we have plenty of Goat Benches and Horse Benches to celebrate those years. 

The green stuffed ape on a bench is apparently an urban primate, photographed in Melbourne in 2010 by Jes Mugley. Mugley's first rule of photography (which should be ignored when you want to take a decent picture) is Find something stupid, and if you can't find something stupid, try to find something beautiful. 

People born in the Year of the Monkey tend to be urban rather than rural. No surprise then that this brown-eyed monkey is smiling behind his urban graffitied bench. Haya Gold from Tel Aviv explains that there is a small neighbourhood where every month new graffiti art is painted on walls, fences, doors and everywhere possible. Haya's etsy shop does fine art photography, fine art prints, and home decor. When Haya's friends asks her What's new? they know there will always be something new; her shop is constantly getting exciting new stuff. Most photographs displayed in the shop are on fine art heavyweight paper at the convenient size of 8" x 10", however all the photographs can be enlarged to almost every size and on any kind of material.

The Macaco Gordo Fat Monkey is by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, who goes for humour, sensation and maximum impact by making HUGE sculptures from ordinary objects which value the reactions of passers-by.  My sculptures cause an uproar, astonishment and put a smile on your face. They give people a break from their daily routines. Passers-by stop in front of them, get off their bicycle and enter into conversation with other spectators. People are making contact with each other again. That is the effect of my sculptures in the public domaine.  Fat Monkey was in Sao Paulo in Brazil.   Here is a brilliant short video about the making of the monkey:  

Eddie is my Inner Editor, very popular with Benchsite readers but a real pain to work with. The photograph of Eddie working at his desk is his favourite picture. He's a great editor but he tries to slip primate pictures into Benchsite posts whenever he can, sometimes ruining my stories. For some monkey business with cheeky monkey benches see

Simon James took the bench photo looking over a wall for Bench Monday in January 2011. Simon lives in Gateshead UK with his lovely wife Claire and his dog Alfie. He mostly works from home (research and consultancy) which means he can listen to  music all day long and also make forays out to photograph benches.

The ape on a bench is probably not Eddie's Uncle Frank but he is certainly a splendid creature. And so is Mike Coghlan, the photographer. Mike has a King Kong sized collection of benches which have been used widely in Benchsite stories.

Rob Mercier is a content and social marketing manager, a new photo junkie, technology geek, musician, and social media addict. He also takes pictures sometimes, including the much-photographed monkey he saw in Chinatown, San Francisco.

Kim Smith owns a dramatic web design company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She photographed the money bench in 2007.  Her photo sets contains lots of friends and family and her landscapes  make Michigan look like a beautiful place. In fact, Mackinac Island doesn't look so different from my own Paradise Island . . .

The swaggering chimp looks like he's just come out of a backroom game of Craps with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. I saw this and thought The Sting, best film of 1973.  And of course I thought of Eddie, my poker-playing Inner Editor. The Chimp is a Geekery art poster, an original drawing by Spiderman Jonah Jameson, provided here by the wonderful uNatural etsy shop    If you've seen The Chimp before you've no doubt been reading about National Insect Week benches, presented by Eddie, who was not at his best due to a morbid fear of ladybugs, grasshoppers and other harmless insects. 

The capuchin monkey with a quizzical face is not really Eddie's cousin Alex. You knew that, didn't you? He was photographed in Zoo Hellbrunn  in Salzburg by  Michael Ransburg, who lives in Klagenfurt and has a passion for technology and wildlife photography. His splendid albums are full of birds, mammals and reptiles of every kind. 

The little stuffed monkey on a park bench was photographed in 2013 by KG Nixer, a web developer from Chicago.  

Books About Town book benches appeared all around London in the summer of 2014 The gorilla librarian is a character who first appears in the debut novel, The Colour of Magic by author Terry Pratchett. His Discworld books have sold over 80 million in 37 languages. Artist Paul Kidby designed both the book bench and many of the Discworld book covers. The bench photographer is James Cullen, who lives in Washington DC

PW Baker lives in Philadelphia, where he photographs a lot of street life, such as the red gorilla bench covered in snow way back in 2007.  For more snowy and frozen benches see

A stuffed animal called Damina posed for Sandra Chung when she photographed a statue of a gorilla at Perth Zoo. Sandra has a special place in her heart for black and white photography, though this gorilla happens to be in glorious colour. 

The excellent portrait of Eddie looking studious is from Fringepop, an etsy shop in Atlanta, Georgia. It's full of  8x10 art prints including hipster, pin ups, zombies, steampunk, mermaids, witches, Edgar Allan Poe, Abraham Lincoln, cabinet cards, owls, taxidermy, flappers, octopus, fine art, lowbrow art, and surreal art. Fringepop also has a large selection of roller derby, horror goth, retro kitsch, and circus sideshow. They also love art deco, flapper, and art nouveau pinups and gorgeous deco mermaid art. They specialize in Victorian, medical, sideshow, and other oddity art along with many whimsical animals including squirrels, owls, deer, and ravens. As if this weren't enough, Fringepop loves macabre gothic themessuch as skulls and anatomical art. Favorites also include funny designs with retro sayings and a kitsch quality. 

Jason Ellsworth-Aults currently lives in Santiago, Chile. He took the lovely picture of the baby monkey playing on a red bench in Kyoto, Japan.  We have all colours of benches here on Benchsite but red benches are clearly Eddie's favourite. 

Pascal, aka Pasukaru, has kept me amused with his Bench Monday Lego photos, such as the monkey and the banana, which was Day 6 of 365 on September 6, 2010.  As Pascal says, if your tricks involve fruit, it's not wise to have a monkey as your mascot. This particularly applies to Eddie. 

The Zjedzony banana chair looks good enough to eat and indeed Zjedzony means eaten in Polish. I won't tell Eddie this though. The Zjedzony chair comes from Wamhouse in Poland   Wamhouse was established in 2005 by two people - a graphic designer/photographer and a civil engineer. The company is in Chojnice, a small town in northern Poland which is near the inspirational natural setting of the Bory Tucholskie National Park. Wamhouse creates both interiors and furniture, promoting not only the design and the products, but the region they come from.

Kevin Lucius is a graphic designer who runs Lucius Art from a tiny apartment in Chicago. He loves working with old textures, animals, and vintage design elements to produce vintage-inspired animal art and city art. I love his work and am pleased to use it here. Monkey riding a Duck is an original illustration from a vintage art print. I think it's a goose rather than a duck but I have a vested interest here, otherwise I can't make the pun about Eddie cooking his goose.

In 2014 Steven Crane, a programmer from Cape Town, took a walk along the Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk in Stellenbosch on South Africa's Western Cape.The baboon on a bench was one of the many benches he saw there.

Three Wise Monkey benches are easy to find in bronze, plastic and just about any material you desire but I liked these life-size Three Wise Monkeys On A Bench from

The man in the cage being carried by a gorilla appears most years at the  Old Gaffers Festival in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight.

Las Vegas is a very special place. It's where my husband Mungo and I met. For the whole story about gambling on love in Las Vegas (and a lot of great Las Vegas benches) see 

As you can see by her amazing fitness in the Monkey Position, Sarah Siblik is an enthusiastic yoga practitioner & instructor, an optimist by conviction and an energy healer. She lives in Etobicoke, Canada.  

There is a Polish idiom that has become very popular:  Nie mój cyrk, nie moje malpy. Yes, it's not my circus, not my monkey,  in other words, not my problem. This has become very popular on etsy and is beautifully presented on a bench by The Native State at The Native State is a small business with a big heart, based in St Andrews, Scotland. They create inspirational prints using bold typography for walls or greeting cards.

Like Eddie, I don't care for zoos and I don't much like safari parks either but I do love to see animals so sometimes I go there. My best imaginary friend Miggy and I went to Longleat Safari Park where we saw a gorilla bench at the entrance to the park. Miggy reckoned his hand was there for the sitting, so there you have it - an instant gorilla bench. 

In the summer of 2014 Miggy and Mungo and I found ourselves in Switzerland where we got high on alpine benches. In the mountains of the Lower Engadine is a national park, founded in 1914, which is the oldest in the Alps. There we saw some gigantic Swiss ants in a sculpture park and a gorilla coming out of the tall grass. We followed the tracks through the forest for hours, enjoying strange and wonderful creations amongst the trees. People, animals, airplanes, computers - everything was made of wood, including the gorilla.

Eddie's joke about the silverback book is by Zoe Lyons from the Best of Edinburgh Fringe one-liners in 2016. 

The postcard of two loving monkeys on a green bench is called A green bench romance at Florida wild animal ranch, St. Petersburg, Florida, the sunshine city. The date is sometime between 1930 and 1945 and the picture is in the archives of the ever-generous Boston Public Library, who makes its stuff available on Creative Commons.  

The lovely carved wood Japanese monkey couple are from   They were brought to us from Japan, along with lots of other brilliant Japanese benches

The pig bench was outside the Healdsburg Charcuterie in Healdsburg, California in 2010. It was photographed by Niall Kennedy, a software engineer who likes hiking, dogs, food, travel and scenes around his home and work in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

We've had a whole story about sunny bunny rabbit benches here on Benchsite. Georgia Gerber sculpted the beautiful bronze rabbit bench. Georgia creates bronze sculpture primarily working with life size animal and human figures, often incorporating architectural or abstract elements with an emphasis on creating accessible public art which encourages viewer interaction. She has an amazing studio and garden at Whidbey Island, Washington.

Mexican artist Mario Lopez Torres made mid-century furniture, often with a monkey theme. Monkey coffee tables, lamps and chandeliers are made from rattan, such as the two Mario Lopez Torres Monkey Bench tables.  They are a rare pair and were recently selling for $2,600 at in Dallas Texas.

In 2003, two students, Nazila Alimohammadi and Anna Clark, built a picnic table in the shape of the periodic table of elements. It was created as a sculpture for a public art course and is accurate in every detail, right down to the auxiliary lanthanides and actinides tables that constitute the table's bench. The table is located, er, right by the Chemistry building at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. It was photographed in 2007 by Larry, who lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  As of December 30, 2015, four new elements have been added to the seventh row of the periodic table. They are temporarily named as ununtrium, (Uut or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, element 115), ununseptium (Uus, element 117), and ununoctium (Uuo, element 118). Just so you know. 

The two serene minimalist monkeys holding up a bench are in the Singapore Japanese Gardens, photographed by the Everyday Minimalist on her extensive, minimalist travels. This is a girl who knows how to live out of one suitcase. She has a fascinating website with excellent minimalist advice at

The monkey and ice cream bench is from Asian Replicas in the Philippines  This photo featured in the Edible Benches back in March 2013. Asian Replicas make all kinds of funky fibreglass food furniture, including benches that look like pizza, chicken and cake. Miggy says she'd definitely go for the cake. But if ice cream benches don't leave you cold, we've got some lovely ones at

There is quite a thing about sock monkeys and about monkeys generally. Indeed I found 485 etsy shops with the word Monkey in their title. The blue sock monkey is by Heather Doon in Ontario, Canada at

Eddie claims that the excellent monkey in the green shirt is his sister Eleanor. I'm pretty sure this isn't true. For a start, I have seen Eleanor in all sorts of Flickr photostreams and on various places on the web. Try as I might, I can't work out whose photograph this is but if you know, do get in touch and I'll credit it properly.

Back in the summer of 2009 Bristol Museum & Art Gallery was taken over by well-known Bristol artist Banksy.The Banksy versus Bristol Museum exhibition featured many works including Monkey Government, photographed by Josh Blair  Banksy has done primates before, e.g. Monkey Thinker, the Gorilla Artist (Shave Kong), Gorilla with Pink Mask, and the Laugh now but one day we'll be in Charge monkey. That last one is pretty scary. 

Oh dear. We've had some perfectly punctuated benches here on Benchsite recently but although it has a thriving literary scene and many writers, the Isle of White Wight is the home of Cheekie Monkies. You can see the sign writer meant well. He or she understood that some words are made plural with the letters i, e, and s. Unfortunately, cheeky and monkey do not follow this rule. Cheeky monkeys are needed. Goes to show that when in doubt, check your dictionary or your spellcheck. But even that won't save you from pre-loved babies. 

No, the last picture is not Eddie's brother Walt. Peter Miller, from Brooklyn, photographed the pensive black and white colobus monkey at Philadelphia Zoo in 2013.  His albums are full of streetlife, animals, landscapes, and lots of surprises.

The following is a list of  the Benchsite blogs edited or co-edited by Eddie. But be warned, due to his nervous disposition and/or being sacked, he doesn't make it through all of them. 


  1. Great story! Great blog!
    Thank you and Happy New Year ♥

  2. Many thanks, Haya. It's great to have your graffiti photo here. Happy New Year and have an excellent Monkey year!