Pub quiz

1. What famous actor won gold at the Fox Tossing in Ulan Bator in June 1987?

2. Who said ‘Not now, Sylvia — the scallops aren’t fresh’?

3. In Palaeobathymetry, what is meant by the term ‘now and then’?

4. Who had a Number 1 hit in 1976 with ‘Always the Bridegroom, Never the Bride’?

5. If I have five stoves and two dishes, how many has Rev. Horace Carter of 13 Hanford St, London SE3?

6. Who was Head Chef at the Waldorf Hotel in Zurich during the Great Sandwich Boom of 1911?

7. Why is water so wet?

8. How many sides has an umbrella?

9. According to ‘The Ballad of Stillwater County’, how many goats did Chesapeake Nolan meet at Ottomanopotomac Bridge on his way to the courthouse in Smallweed?

10. Who was the first postman to deliver a baby?


Me Too

My innards are quite ill today,
my outards not much better:
I rolled back home at 4am,
I tried not to upset her.

But she was lurking by the door
a saucepan in her hand:
early morning practise
for her Me Too Ladies Band.

Christmas giving

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. 

What a delightful jingle! Don’t you agree?

And in keeping with its theme of increase or gain, I’d be grateful if you’d augment the old man’s hat to the tune of a penny.

Feel free to correlate the ‘old man’s hat’ with the ‘goose’ in the jingle, specifically in terms of ‘getting fat’ (remember the theme of increase, gain, etc).

Of course, if you’re unable to comply with that request on a strictly quid pro quo basis, please be assured that a halfpenny would do, in lieu.

And if you haven’t got a halfpenny, f—k you.


An examined life

I gave my love a sublethal dose
— that was my first mistake.
My second was using tributinol
past its sell-by date.

But I do enjoy a challenge
and I’ve learned from all my loves.
Next time I will be more prepared
(memo: rubber gloves).

I’ve always been too timid,
especially in romance,
so yes,  my love, I’m grateful
for this second, final chance.

Afternoon a-swoon


Let’s see if Captain Manson
has the sense to keep his pants on
when the ladies come for tea and macaroons:

Oh there he goes again!
Captain Manson! when oh when
will you learn to stir the teapot with a spoon?

— It’s how we did it in the war,
no fancy silverware,
and it helped to galvanize the whole platoon.

The ladies aren’t impressed
by your military prowess,
now please reinstate your khaki pantaloons.

— O very well, Mein Führer,
I bow to your command
— but you didn’t say that on our honeymoon.


To a barman

Oh leave your door ajar for me,
I so adore your jars!
Oh won’t you pour a jar for me
in this, your jarry bar?

You’re barred!

But we’re so alike, you and me:
we both like me and I like both,
so won’t you bide a while with me?
I can’t abide your jarring note.

You’re BARRED!

Why come across so cross tonight,
and why be so aloof?
Why not cross the bar-room floor
and pour me a vermouth?


— I won’t leave my door ajar for you,
you’re barred from this day out!
It jars with me to look upon
your jargonizing snout.

How say you ‘jargonizing’,
my barry jarry man?
I’ve seen you bargainizing
with drug dealers and their clan.

— We have a quite extensive range
of beers and fine elixirs:
please take your time to choose one,
and I won’t charge for the mixer.

You’re such a jarry barry man,
as jarry as the rest.
And now it’s time to name the game:
a writ for your arrest.


Love songs

‘Love is all around us,
it’s all you’ll ever need.’
If anyone believes that,
I think I’m gonna heave.

Tell that to the preacher
who’s been peddling it for years;
he shouts it from the pulpit
to drown out children’s tears.

Tell that to the beldam
who’s been battered and abused.
Yes, love is all around us
— it’s a heartless, cruel excuse.


Chester Field is very old,
as old as Otto Man,
dust beshrouds old Chest O’Drawers
and Con Sole leans on old Di Van.

Patti O’Table’s looking gaunt,
as gaunt as E.Z. Chair.
Davin Port is bowed with age,
but Sy D’Board props him up with care.

There’s camaraderie in old age,
as the heartwood turns to dust.
Arm-in-armoire, on we go:
sofa, so good — but only just.


I used to dream that we would walk together
hand in hand — just once —
around the streets of my home town,
where people who knew me could see us together
and say: ‘Look who’s back! He used to be so quiet!’

I’d just carry on walking, holding your hand,
showing you the places that meant a lot to me:
my old school, the single pine tree on Cullen’s Hill,
the abandoned mill where I used to hide, to read.
It never happened, of course,
and maybe it was selfish of me.

Tourists welcome!

Imbibe the blissful eglantine
that doth bedeck the walls
of country cots and beauty spots
from Inse to Anascaul.

Then get back on your bus again
with other pleasure seekers,
who see the world through cameras
and smell of year-old sneakers.

Don’t feel you have to hurry
Oh no! The reverse!
But if you hang about too long
we’ll kick you in the erse.

Don’t feel that you’re not welcome
Oh no! Au contraire!
Just don’t annoy the locals
or you’ll fly home Coffin Air.

When doctors have kids

‘Come along, children — we’re leaving now. Malaria! Stop teasing Hepatitis and get in the car. Melanoma, gather up your things, dear. You can sit in the front with me, Polyp. You’re a big boy now, aren’t you?

Now fasten your seat belts, everyone — we don’t want cerebral haemorrhages, do we?’

— Are we there yet?

— Are we there yet?

— Are we there yet?

‘No, not yet. That would be a misdiagnosis of what may turn out to be a fairly protracted gestation period.’

— I want the toilet!

‘But I told you to go before we left Grandma’s!’

— Yes, but I’m detecting strong afferent signals in my sacral preganglionic neurons. Does that not indicate that micturition is imminent?

‘Oh alright! Polyp, hand your sister the pisspot.’


Light averse

Heavenly bodies up above,
please attend and hark:
I like your sense of duty,
but I also like the dark.

So thank you, Sun, for rising
— your timing’s really ace —
but if you don’t go back to bed
I’ll slap your stupid face.

And thank you, Moon, for rising
— your timing is top-notch —
but if you don’t put out the light,
I’ll kick you in the crotch.

Hackney prick

I’ve loved you from afar,
for your sub-cutaneous scars,
and the pustules that adorn your

Dermatology is my game,
clear complexions is my aim.
My love for you will always be

I’d love to prick your acne
on a late-night bus to Hackney;
we’d stay on board until we reach the

Then we’d get off the bus
— just the two of us —
and guzzle down a skinful
at the Olde Pig and Pimple.

Nasty people

They didn’t have exactly what I wanted in Linklater’s, so I travelled all the way to Pickering’s in Snaresbrook. I’d never been there before, but I’d heard good reports of Pickering’s from old Arthur Twilb, who said to me once: ‘If Linklater’s don’t have it, try Pickering’s’. Well, I never trusted Arthur very much, but what choice did I have?

So I ended up taking three trains and two buses to get to Snaresbrook, a journey of nearly two hours. And not a pleasant journey either: there were two teenagers opposite me on the train from Adlington, playing their pop music at full volume, and they had their muddy boots on the seat in front of them. Absolutely no respect for other passengers! Luckily, they got off at Dalston North. Luckily for them.

Anyway, I made it to Snaresbrook, but not in the jauntiest mood, as you can imagine. So now imagine how I felt when I finally found Pickering’s and saw this on their door: CLOSED Aug 26 -Sept 9.

Can you really imagine how I felt? Really?

Just then an old gent approached me, about seventy. He seemed friendly enough, though I’m suspicious of anyone who wears tan shoes with green socks. He said: ‘They’re on holiday the next two weeks. Have you tried Linklater’s?’.

I was very calm, very composed.

‘Yes’, I said, ‘but they only have them in burgundy.’

‘Oh, but burgundy is a beautiful colour. My wife loves burgundy’, said he.

I was still very calm.

I found his carotid artery quite easily, and opened it neatly with my pocket knife. His convulsions were a bit theatrical, so I left him to it, and walked down a side street to the river. I sat there for about an hour, watching the swans. It was very peaceful.

And that was it, really. Not much of a story, I admit, and yet I know that some nasty people will condemn me. The same kind of people who play loud music on public transport, or wear burgundy socks.



The Doc asked me if I’d had any contact with frogs recently.

— What you mean?

— You know, frogs.

— Frogs.

— Yes, frogs. Ribbit, ribbit!


— Green chaps. Slimy.

Then he starts jumping up and down, skinny legs flexing like an Olympian. Across the floor —ribbit, ribbit! — onto a filing cabinet — ribbit, ribbit! — back to his desk — ribbit, ribbit!

— See? Frogs.

— No, I mean how recently is ‘recently’?



Blissful coma, be my homa,
keep me safe and warm.
Shield me from that beldam
whose face is like a storm.

Her voice is like a foghorn
that blasts me from a coma,
and I must confess, without duress,
that I prefer the coma.

Wrap me in your pitch-black wings,
I never more will roma.
Just keep that hag away from me,
till I end this silly poma.

Cold call

Let’s see if Nell Tardelli
has the gall to call again,
after calling Kelly’s Deli
fifty times since half past ten.

‘Must be our beetroot jelly
makes her call continu-elly’,
said the owner
of that busy deli store.

‘Or perhaps our vermicelli
— it sells velly velly welly.
Maybe that’s why Nell Tardelli
calls for more.’

‘Trace the call’, says PC Small,
‘and then we’ll nab Tardelli.
Wait until she calls again,
do nothing illeg-elly.’

And so they wait with ears agape,
patient-elly to sieze her.
The phone rang only once again:
‘I’m in the fff—ckin’ fffreezer!’