Saturday, June 9, 2007

Greetings and Wecome

(What follows is the introduction to the original 'Postcards from Monkey Island' website):

Ever since I first printed business cards with the words "The Monkey Island Graphics Company, Ltd." on them, I have had people asking me just where
Monkey Island is. The truth of the matter is, I have no idea. I just liked the way the words sounded, like something out of a Road Runner cartoon. "A subsidiary of the Acme Printing Company", perhaps.

Of course, if you type 'Monkey Island' into a search engine, say, Google, for example, you will get back 830,600 hits. That is not a typo. 830,600 sites, most of them dealing with a trilogy of video games made by LucasArts (yes, THAT Lucas) called The Secret of ; The Curse of; and Escape from Monkey Island.

I understand it has something to do with pirates.

Monkey Island is also a curiously popular name for real estate developments, of all things. Oklahoma has a Monkey Island, as does Louisiana. The one in Louisiana also has a (federally subsidized) ferry. In England, just down the river from London, is Monkey Island. (Bray-on-Thames, Maidenhead. This one boasts a four star hotel.) Monkey Island is a children's book by Paula Fox. It was also the title song from the 1977 album by the J.Geils Band. (I hadn't even heard of J.Geils in 1977!)

And here I thought I was being so original.

I first began using the name in 1981, at least, that was the year the words were first printed on anything. As I wrote in the original introduction to the email versions of these cards:

"...It was in late November or early December of 1981 that I sat down with rapidograph in hand to create my first holiday card, a tradition that has endured and evolved through this day. (Some of you may have even been on that first list.) I lettered a poem by Shel Silverstein called 'The Peace Proposal', added a small drawing, and printed them up after hours at my job. I needed a name and a logo for the back of the card--I wanted them to look legit--so I drew a two and a half inch high figure wearing an apron. So much for the logo. Now for a name.

At the time I was reading a Kurt Vonnegut anthology called Welcome to the Monkey House. Well, "monkey" was nice, but "Monkey House Graphics" didn't sound right to me. Living as I do on Long Island, I realized that 'island' would go nicely. Thus, in a moment of rashness and stress, The Monkey Island Graphics Company, Ltd., was born."

This website evolved out of that weekly email which was sent to a group of friends. As with any mass emailing undertaken by a lone individual using Microsoft products, there were problems. Some people would get the message and the attachment, some would get nothing. Some would get the text, but not the picture. Some would receive everything, and still not get it. (I have no solution for them). Some would notice that they'd never got one or two from past weeks, could I forward it to them?

It was making me crazy. So when the opportunity to start a website came along, I was primed. Now I just have to send a simple text message containing a link to the page and I'm done! I update the page once a week or so. If I add any other goodies, I'll let you know in the weekly reminder. The best part, however, is that if YOU think someone else should see this, you don't have to forward an email. Just send a link.

Well, for now, that's all. Let me say, "Welcome to Monkey Island. Glad you could make it!"

Neil J Murphy
Long Beach, New York
August 4, 2001