20 OCTOBER 1984, Page 42

No. 1340: The winners

Jaspistos reports: Competitors were asked to translate a passage of Shakespearian poetry into a barbarous form of contem- porary English. On 22 May 1950 there appeared in Punch, anonymously, a potted version of the plot of Hamlet in Cockney heroic couplets:

'Amlet they called 'im. Crikey! What a name!

Come from a land of eggs and bacon fame, Lived in a carstle name of Elsinore . . .

It ended with the memorable lines:

'Amlet's last words were true as true, because

'E said 'The rest is silence' . . . So it was.

If anyone knows who wrote it, do me a favour and tell me. But to our -muttons. The word 'translate' was interpreted by you very variously: some versions were painstakingly literal, others so free that it was often hard to relate them to the text. 'Ongoing actuality or its negation?' 'To croak or not to croak — that is the crunch . . .' The famous soliloquy was the favourite choice, 'but nobody quite pulled off a winner with it. Among the many meritorious losers this week, Gerry Hamill, J.B. Long, Peter Norman and Deborah Lye stand out. The prize money is shared (i8 apiece) among the six com- petitors below, who demonstrate an enter- tainingly wide range of approaches. As Prospero said, 'This . . . business/I must uneasy make, lest too light winning/Make the prize light', or, in other words, CM going to think up a really hard one soon!

The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1

Show's over, folks. Like I said, these zombies were just putting on an act, like, pretending You might say, and now they've scarpered, gone wit': the wind, done an elephant's trunk — yeah, rea spooky. Same as -them tower-blocks and the ritzy pads and the God-sheds, yeah, even this grotty old planet — they're all for the chop, and what we'll be stuck with in the end is sod-all. It 5 all a dream, right? When you come right down to it, what does it all add up to? I'll tell you straight — the Big Kip.

(Roger Woddis)

King Lear, Act 2, Scene 4

Dismiss any consideration of necessity. Eve" mendicants of the least affluent category are in credit as regards the area in which they are most

ill-provided. In awarding individuals an alloca- tion surplus one can equate the levels of human and feral existence. You are a well-connected female. Granted the proposition that avoidance of hypothermia is a fine objective, the physical requirement falls short of the quality of your clothing, which achieves the aforesaid objective by the narrowest margin. Regarding genuine requirements, however, you celestial powers, grant me self-control, self-control being my requirement. I am in this location, within range of your perception, an old-age pensioner (male) Subject as acutely to affliction as to seniority and in either particular associated with misfortune. If my daughters are motivated by you to oppose their progenitor, do not deceive me into imbe- cile acceptance thereof.

(D.L.L. Clarke)

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 13 Greatest of guys, are you about to kick The bucket? Give a thought to little me. Gee whiz — if on my lonesome I am left, The world, a place of porkers, sure will stink. Girls, take a gander. My Fort Knox is robbed. My President! The Purple Star's just metal; The flag is ripped to pieces in the mud; The kid grown sassy buddies his old man. Much of a muchness in a smoggy grey, All's flat as hell with no more Rockies seen bt The crummy landscape till the end of time.

(George Moor)

Sonnet XCI

Some elitists are snobs, some are meritocrats, some boast about their pursuit of the profit Motive, some are fitness freaks and exploit their own bodies, some take part in acts of conspi- cuous consumption in regard to keeping up with trendy clothes and that, some blatantly flout animal rights. Everybody does their own par- ticular thing. But, speaking personally, I'm not into any of that, I mean like what's real Important to me is you and having a real caring relationship, higher than that snob stuff and worth more than all the bread in the world and even customised Levis and all that fascist animal-killing hunting bit. You make me feel real good. But I get uptight you may split.

(Charles Mosley)

Sonnet CXXX

Yoh doh 'ave ter shaed yoer eyes wen yoh look inter mah wench's, an' yoh cor saey 'er lips doh need a bit o' jynter's raddle. 'Er bowsoms ay White neither, they'm more sludgy-collud. I reckon 'er 'air's like twenty-gauge black- enamelled woiyr. Ay, an' wen I look at me roses ni me allotmegt, it ay the red and wite uns as reminds me of 'er cheeks. 'Er's awlwis sucking umbugs an' they do cum a bit strunger than vYelets. I caw 'elp likin"er natterin', but it's More loike a drop-'ommer than an 'aerdy- Perdy. 'Er walks splodge-footed, yoh cor mis- Ltaok 'er fer a pantomine fairy. But Ah'm

lot if Ah'll let on as 'er's enny wuss than a m1 of them wenches they'm awlwis crackin' up.

(Philip Lissimore)

Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5

T, ornorrah, always bloody tomorrah creeps up behind ya, like a bus conductor — gets on ya nerves a bit, know what I mean? Gawd, it goes on for ever . . . And look at all those nerds who've mucked up their lives in the past. What a waste, eh? Oh well, there goes my last cigarette ;. • • heh, heh symbolic, really. You know, life's 'Ike one of them crummy actors on the box, one Moment he's babbling out 'is lines lookin' a right

Charlie. then zap! You've turned it off. It's all a load of rubbish anyway, all that shoutin' and yellin', don't really mean nuffin'.

(Gavin Knight)