According to highly unreliable sources, large-breasted US songstress Mariah Carey suffered a bizarre mental breakdown during which she hallucinated that she was a great ape. “She was on the African leg of a promotional tour when she flipped,“ explains a music industry insider. “She was under incredible stress – her most recent album had just flopped and her movie debut had been trashed by the critics. Suddenly she just cracked and fled, naked and grunting, knuckles dragging on the ground, into the Kenyan jungle.” Carey’s management immediately launched a rescue expedition and, after three weeks, she was found living with a family of lowland gorillas. “They had to move fast to capture her,” reveals the insider. “Her relationship with the gorillas had reached a crucial stage – she was being regularly fondled by the dominant male. The next step would have been the mating ritual involving an overripe banana – there would have been no way back for her after that.” Consequently, with the aid of big game hunters, record company executives succeeded in capturing Carey in a large net, before sedating her and having her carried back to Nairobi by native bearers. From Nairobi, she was secretly flown back to New York and confined to a luxury hotel suite where she was treated by top psychiatrists. All seemed to be going well until the sight of a banana in the complimentary fruit bowl triggered a relapse. “She just went berserk,” says one witness. “She tore off her clothes and started bellowing and thumping her ample chest – she was beating those beauties black and blue!” Tossing security guards aside as if they were rag dolls, Carey fled the hotel and climbed the nearby Chrysler Building, where police cornered her on the observation deck. “She was screaming and tearing up the handrails, before hurling them at the circling police helicopters,” recalls the industry insider. “Eventually snipers on the choppers were able to bring her down with tranquilliser darts.” Thankfully, Carey responded well to subsequent psychiatric treatment and medication and was quickly back in the studio recording a new album. “When stars loose their marbles and go stark staring bonkers they cannot settle for the mundane forms of madness that afflict ordinary mortals – staggering unkempt around public places shouting abuse at passers-by, for instance,” opines top celebrity psychologist Dr Omar Humphest, one of the experts who helped treat Carey. “As befits their outsize egos, their insanity must be spectacular and larger-than-life.” Humphest believes that ‘going ape’ is becoming increasingly common amongst celebrities.

“Whilst the syndrome isn’t new – there was that business in the fifties when Errol Flynn climbed up the water tower on the Warner Brothers lot and hurled his own shit at passing studio executives – there’s no doubt that it is fast replacing the Messiah complex as the celebrity mental derangement of choice,” muses the psychologist. “Clearly, they identify with the gorilla. Like the gorilla, celebrities are essentially non-violent, just wanting to mind their own business and enjoy their peaceful lifestyle. However, like the great ape they find themselves continually hounded by intrusive camera crews and hunted by evil poachers.” Humphest also believes that the recent remake of King Kong might have something to do with the increased popularity of the ape delusion amongst celebrities. “Like Kong, they see themselves as being free spirits, captured by ruthless capitalists and forced to perform, with only the empty material remuneration of millions of dollars, which can’t buy them what they most desire – artistic freedom,” he says. “By ‘going ape’ they are symbolically breaking free from their artistic shackles and going on a creative rampage.” The psychologist is keen to emphasise that not all sufferers of the syndrome engage in public rampages. “Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, for instance, simply resorted to simian-style grooming rituals for comfort during their recent troubles,” he says. “They spent hours going over each other catching bugs and eating them.” At least one Hollywood star has learned to harness the syndrome to work off his frustrations. “It is little known that Sean Penn regularly dresses up in a gorilla suit and runs around his house and grounds beating his chest, bellowing and climbing trees,” reveals Humphest. “It is a novel, yet highly effective form of anger management. Whereas a bad review or hostile question at a press conference might once have lead to Mr Penn violently attacking reporters, now he just goes home, dresses as an ape, and wrestles with a giant rubber snake.” According to Humphest the volatile actor often takes his ‘therapy’ a stage further, attacking and wrecking intricate scale models of US cities. “I remember that he was so incensed by Team America and its mocking of his Hollywood liberal values, he went home and tore down a fifteen foot tall model of the Empire State Building he’d had erected in his back lot,” he explains. “He frequently vents his frustrations at the Bush Administration and the impotence of Congress by going home, tearing the dome off of the capital building and crushing miniature effigies of the Senate with his hairy fists, before tearing up the Washington Monument and using it as a club to destroy the White House.”

There are fears that the ‘going ape’ celebrity syndrome might be crossing the Atlantic. Already self-styled musical genius Pete Doherty has been acquitted by Hemel Hempstead Magistrates Court after claiming that he had believed that he was an orang-utan when he wrecked a hotel room. However, top law-enforcement figures remain dismissive of the syndrome, questioning its authenticity. “Oh come on, isn’t this just another ploy by out of control celebrities and their masters in the entertainment industry to try and excuse their debauched antics?” asks Mariana Clamplock, Assistant Chief Constable of Suffolk. “By claiming that they are somehow mentally ill, they’re trying simultaneously to absolve themselves of responsibility for their own behaviour and gain public sympathy.” She believes that Doherty’s defence only succeeded because of the gullibility of the Magistrates he was facing. “Those old biddies and retired bank managers they have sitting as magistrates are suckers for that sort of sob story – especially when it is backed up with ‘expert’ testimony from the likes of Dr Humphest,” she snorts. “They don’t want to believe that a nice middle class boy like Doherty might be running amok in a three star hotel, scratching his genitals, urinating off of the balcony and knocking policemen’s helmets off, because he was off his face on booze and drugs. Obviously, he must be ill!” Clamplock is convinced that if a working class youth up on similar charges would have had such a defence summarily dismissed by the same magistrates. “They’d just label them a drunken lout and send them down for six months,” says the police officer, who fears that Doherty’s acquittal will open the floodgates for British celebrities to play the ‘ape’ card in similar cases. “I have no doubt that the next time the likes of Shaun Ryder appears in court on public indecency charges, their lawyer will claim that they thought he was a baboon when they flashed their blue-painted arse at a group of nuns.” Clamplock believes she has the perfect response to the ‘going ape’ defence. “If they think they’re animals, then treat them like animals – lock ‘em up in the zoo,” she declares. “Let’s see how long they think they’re an ape when some huge silver-backed mountain gorilla is trying to give them a good rogering!”