Background article for the escape of 'The Stories of George the Hamster'


I was born in 1960 although I remember nothing about my birth. It was probably a stressful time and my mind's blocked the memory out, but I think my mother was there and she can provide you with details if required. Hamsters, of course, remember their birth graphically and it's the reason why they love and adore sunflower seeds - but that's another story and one that's superfluous to this article.

I grew up normally (although some would dispute that statement) going through nursery, junior and secondary schools but never went to university, preferring to find a job shortly after my GCE exams in which I did very well.

My most vivid childhood memory is of saving a dog from being run over by a number 53 bus when I was 4 years old, the onlookers carrying me on their shoulders round the street where I lived and shouting 'Behold! A champion!'

However, my mother assures me that this never happened.

I kept a hamster as a pet before I was ten, calling it Custer after the film about the Battle of the Little Big Horn that my mother and I had just seen at the cinema. The hamster often got called Custard even though he wasn't yellow and didn't like the stuff.

He was disposed of twice as 'dead' in his life but both times was revived with brandy as he'd simply gone into hibernation, being so old. I think it was this that prompted me to want another hamster when I was about thirty years of age - or perhaps it was the medication I was on at the time?

My employment history was a bit checkered and a list will suffice.

I left school to become a Betting Office Manager which I did til the autumn of 1984 when I left to travel round England for a year helping out the church wherever I was sent (not much difference between the two, huh?). I then worked for about a year in a London Borough's offices before getting married and moving to Worksop.

Eventually I was employed by a welfare organisation in 1989 and have continued with them until now, although neither they nor I am exactly sure what I do. Occasionally, I take a look at the Contracted Duties but still can't make much sense of them.

My literary background is shadowy at best and I have no formal qualifications. I used to write abstract comedy for my friends at secondary school and then went in for poetry. I gave up writing for a number of years but, eventually, returned to compiling sets of teaching notes for the Church.

When George the hamster came to us, I recorded as faithfully as I could the stories that he related to me and served as his editorial advisor when he learned Hamscript to compose his own works (although George never gave me the recognition I deserved. I trust that any Film Producer will correct this wrong if a film is made out of his writings).

Since George died, I've helped other resident hamsters get their stories together and was the editor of the 'Rodent Weekly' for two years. This was a series of weekly articles written by our hamsters on the run up to the Presidential Elections of 2000 and it followed the 'Hamster for President Campaign' that fared very well.

I've been reviewed and approved by USA Today - and a handful of other publications, mainly of minor significance and reputation but, if you mispronounce their names, you can make them sound very important.

There are numerous other hamster stories - and some by cats - that would be suitable for a second publication, a third, a fourth and even a fifth.

I should also mention that I have no criminal convictions but, if it would help sell the book or promote a film, I may be able to arrange some.

Lee H Smith 
7 April 2008
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The translators can be contacted here