21 SEPTEMBER 1991, Page 52





Banjo dreams


In Competition No. 1694 you were in- vited to add three fantastic, boastful sestets to one of mine, written in the spirit of 'Banjo' Patterson, 'the Bard of the Bush'.

Very vigorous and wildly amusing, as the actress said to the bishop. Thank you all, especially the inmate of Pentonville who found time within time to send an entry, trusting that 'my temporary domicile does not place me beyond the pale'. No, sir, it certainly doesn't. From caddish pranks worthy of Beachcomber's Captain Foul- enough to the wildest dreams of Walter Mitty, you ranged. The most bizarre sestet was the work of Michael Gregory:

I've persuaded Black Rod to follow a Yard behind me and wait While I finished a foil a sword-swallower Had left on the side of his plate; I've transmitted in space from Apollo a Selection from Gregory the Great.

The prizewinners, printed below, get £16 each, and the bonus bottle of Chivas Regal de luxe blended whisky goes to G. N. Crockford.

I've played tight-head prop for Llanelli And danced 'Lac des Cygnes' with Fonteyn, At my semi-detached in Dolgellau I gave lessons to Cynthia Payne, Commuter-filled hush of a train.

It was me with the rifle in Dallas, Perched up on that cute grassy knoll, I stood in at La Scala for Callas, Although Tosca's not really my role; And when Liverpool beat Crystal Palace I scored twenty — each one an own goal.

I've walked (and been proud of the blisters) From Nantwich to North Paraguay; I murdered and ate seven sisters

In response to commands from on high;

And I've won twenty quid from Jaspistos (Though this last is perhaps a white lie).

(G. N. Crockford) My Reader in Nude Semiotics

Is a feast of polemical fun; I've perfected new antibiotics —

Invented a spermicide gun; I cultivate Arctic exotics And am known as 'The Hang-Gliding Nun'.

My single, 'I'm Queen of the Bikers', Soon sped to the No. 1 slot; For my 4-D camera, Leica's Offered billions right on the spot. My 'Concerto for Massed Balalaikas' Was encored three times on the trot.

I've finished translations of Nana Into Urdu and Linear B; Was told I'd 'a luminous mana'

By a shaman called Father Machree;

And ate a whole shoal of piranha Before they'd a chance to eat me.

(Molly Fitton)

I've sung Figaro at the Garden,

Had them queuing at Carnegie Hall;

I've walked on the waters of Baden And gate-crashed a Freemasons' Ball,

Swapped stamps with Elizabeth Arden, Played ping-pong with Lauren Bacall.

I taught Gracie Fields how to whistle And George Bernard Shaw how to smoke; presented Pope John with a missal And he told me a good Polish joke; I was then made a Knight of the Thistle In Alfred, Lord Tennyson's cloak. I've lived in a wigwam in Surrey, Toured Holland with Gypsy Rose Lee, Put syrup of figs in the curry When Legs Diamond came for high tea, He left in a terrible hurry (His boys are still searching for me).

(D. B. Jenkinson) I've drunk toddies, tequila and Tizer In the taproom at Clacton-on-Sea; I'm the bastard of Wilhelm the Kaiser By Rosie O'Neill of Tralee, And I've called Rupert Murdoch a miser In the middle of afternoon tea.

I've lost count of the rhinos I've ridden On the banks of the Oxus by night; I discovered where Lucan was hidden (He was parked in a barque in a bight), And I found fifty quid in a midden After painting the Marble Arch white.

I was triple-jump champion of Turkey In a fez that I filched from a Greek; In a hospice in old Albuquerque I was clinically dead for a week, And I introduced Pinky to Perky While I practised the art of batik. (Em L. Wellbilge) I've written a 400-pager That's tipped for the Booker next year, I've beaten the Pope in a wager On who could knock back the most beer, Swapped quotes from John Donne with John Major, And proved JFK was a queer.

I've rapped with a Tottenham supporter And had him admit he was wrong, Snapped Gorbachev walking on water,

And found a straight cop in Hong Kong, I've taught all I know to Cole Porter

On writing a popular song.

I've bought half of Wales and paid cash down, I've laid out the gardens at Kew, I've travelled from lift-off to splash-down, Had tea with the chimps at the Zoo, I've been asked to replace Paddy Ashdown, But I can't get started with you.

(Roger Woddis)