1920 remembered

A galoot is dancing with a flapper at the luxurious Corona Ballroom in New York — music by Sid Stomp and his Orchestra.

Suddenly the music stops: galoot flies one way, flapper the other, at very high speed.

During the heyday of the Charleston, the Shimmy, and the Fox Trot, this was just one of many strategies for cooling ardour, dampening lust, and controlling the birth rate.

Neither the galoot (fractured skull) nor the flapper (internal bleeding) survived the incident. So you see — it worked.

Today we call it social distancing.


Big ol’ dream

In a broad slouch hat and dungerees
I made my way from Tennessee
to the red and throbbing heart of Big Ol’ World.

I’ve seen the cities and the sights
seen some good folks (and some shights),
but most of all I’ve seen my own reflection.

I should’ve stayed at home in bed,
with Shakespeare, and the rest I’ve read,
who tell me that it’s just a Big Ol’ Dream.



From early childhood, Melvyn Trib suffered from a negative self-image, until by pure chance he met Nyvlem Birt in the Hall of Mirrors, Daytona Beach, on 24 November 1935. The two became fast friends on the instant, and from that day forward, Melvyn and Nyvlem were inseparable. They married on the same day, had a son and daughter each, and both drove a Cadillac. Both enjoyed golf and movies, and agreed that Greta Garbo was over-rated.

Every year on 24 November, Melvyn and Nyvlem got together for dinner at the Peaspod Cafe, just by the Palindrome in Miami. After each annual dinner, they seemed to be energised, re-charged, and for weeks afterwards they regaled their respective wives with stories of amazing coincidences:

— You’ll never guess, Anna, but Mel bites his nails too!.

— You remember that tie you bought me last summer, the green one? Well, Ny’s got a tie too!’

That is, until their wives, acting independently, brought the affair crashing to a halt. Mel’s wife Anna threatened to sue for divorce on the grounds that her husband was ‘self-absorbed’. Ny’s wife Anna was more direct: she questioned their virility, and used some very derogatory terms. In a coda, she impugned the temperature of hell for being inadequate to deal with them.

So Mel and Ny moved in together, and never looked back, though they spent the rest of their lives reflecting.


Love in a time of virus

Oh Iris! I’m desirous
of your heaving pert bozoom!
I’ll swab your nether twemlow
with Dettol and a broom.

No more self-isolation!
I’m starting to go blind!
Come to me, my Iris,
let’s try it from behind.

Those dimpled cheeks beneath your mask,
bestir my heart to race!
though if I’m not mistaken,
you should wear it on your face.


Out to tea

‘Goodbye, cruel world!’,
said Twemlow, overwrought.’
‘It’s just my private cup of tea
— never thought that I’d get caught!’

Twemlow stood upon the bridge
and bared his manly chest,
then plunged his dagger in the cop
who tried to make arrest.

Twemlow leaped into the foam
— the sea was wild and swollen!
But all the while he tightly held
the panties he had stolen.

He crossed the sea with his cup of tea,
to the Land of Reconcillo,
where none would ever ridicule
his little peccadillo.


H. D.

I was fixin’ some eggs when the phone rang:

— Hello?

— If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

— What?

— Old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Leave those eggs alone!

— How can I fix em if I don’t break em?

— They don’t need fixin’ if they ain’t broke. Outcome of the old adage mentioned earlier.

— If they was broke, I wouldn’t fix em.

— Like I say, they ain’t broke, so don’t fix em.

— But I wanna fix em, so I broke em.

— You fix lunch without breakin’ it, don’tcha? You fix a sandwich without breakin’ it, don’tcha? Got something against eggs?

— I got nothing against eggs! In fact, I love eggs. That’s why I’m fixin’ em.

— I suppose you beat em too.

— Sometimes.

— Funny way to show you love em. Trust me, you can’t fix eggs.

— Can if you break em first. That’s why it’s called breakfast.

— Real smartass, ain’t ya?

— Who is this anyway?

— You wouldn’t believe me.

— Try me.

— Let’s just say I’m anthropomorphic, but with eggular features. And I go way back.

— Narrows it right down, thanks!

— And a morbid fear of high walls.

— You crack me up.

— I knew you’d say that, eventually.


Stable relationship

Yestere’en Marlene was keen
to wed her gallant beau,
but yesternight she saw a sight
that made her ’spise Twemlow:

Twemlow in the stable,
a beldam on each knee,
corsets strewn about the floor
— a lurid company!

Twixt the twain of damasked dames,
an ardent pikestaff grew,
it stood aloft vibrato,
and like a cockerel crew:

‘One last fling is just the thing
I need before I wed.
As my old pater told me,
‘Better dead than wed’.’

‘Marlene’s a pretty beldam,
and I love her — yes of course!
She’s a handsome hussy,
though I much prefer my horse.’

’So come, ye frisky beldams,
once more around the green!
One last ride before I’m tied
forever to Marlene.’

The switcheroo

My baby done gone and left me,
drove to the county line.
My baby done gone and left me,
she ain’t no friend of mine.

She done took my pickup truck,
and left me in the lurch.
She done took my pickup truck,
soon as we left the church.

My baby done gone and left me
and now I feel so blue.
She done gone and left me,
soon as I said ‘I do’.

I said ‘I dooooo’, now I’m so blooooo.
She took my truck, not even a f—k,
ain’t that a switcheroo.

Y’all take my truck, sweet Beausoleil,
and take my heart as well.
I’m just a lonesome pilgrim,
and I’ll see your ass in Hell.

Chorus and fade out

The love song of R.M. Dunwoody

R.M. Dunwoody (as he likes to be called)
is almost fifty-seven, and frequently appalled:

‘Turn down that blasted music!
That’s not what I call dance!
They stare into their smarty-phones,
like zombies in a trance.’

‘I never went to college,
or flew about in planes,
a holiday in my day
was a wet weekend in Staines.’

‘We had no sex in my day,
but now it’s everywhere!
That slapper on the billboard
with her legs and purple hair!’

‘They ought to bring back hanging,
for music, sex, and fun.
I’d gladly pull the trap myself
— justice seen and done.’

R.M. Dunwoody (as he likes to be called)
is almost fifty-seven, and single, and bald.


Afternoon off

I must remind old Catflap
that I won’t be here for tea.
I’m meeting Captain Carver
at the Kat & Kedgeree.

Oh, by the way, Mudflap, I won’t be here for tea.

— M’Lud?

No tea this afternoon, Flipflop… take the afternoon off.

— M’Lud?

I’m going out, Slipknot, so no tea today. You can take the afternoon off.

— Afternoon off, M’Lud?

Oh for God’s sake! I won’t be here, Drainpipe. You can take the afternoon off!

— You want tea now, M’Lud?

No! I’m meeting Captain Carver, I won’t be…. oh forget it, Turnpike!

— Captain Ernest Carver, of the 13th Infantry Brigade, M’Lud?

Yes, old Irondrawers himself! We’re meeting at four at the Kat & Kedgeree, so I won’t…

— Beg pardon, M’Lud, but Captain Carver was killed on the twelfth of May 1915, two miles north of Verdun. Sniper on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, M’Lud.

Nonsense, Pikestaff! I got no such report!

— Possibly out of respect, M’Lud. Oh, and the Kat & Kedgeree closed in 1982, M’Lud. There’s a teashop there now.

Yes, in the drawing room. Thank you, Cornstarch.


Face it

In semblance of a toad
my beldam bears her load
with all the grace and dignity she can.

Her face is pocked and bulbous
and her skin is tough as stone:
sometimes I think I’m married to a man.

I buy her salves and lotions
and all kinds of pungent potions,
but her face is still the face of Desperate Dan.

My beldam withered on the vine
but now just look at me:
I’m still the handsome charmer
that I was at twenty-three.


The honest trade

I wandered lonely as a crone
who has nor friend nor telephone,
and made my way to a sylvan glade
where Nature’s sweets were all arrayed.

All about the curlews curled,
and twemlows piped To-whit!,
while just ahead in a bobbing bed
of bluebells sang a tit.

Jonquils jostled feverwort,
twined tendrils with St Joan,
and all above this verdant stage
a sunny sun sunshone.

You’d think that such a comely scene
would lighten my sad mood:
but you don’t know me, reader
— I’m not that kinda dude.

I blew that creepy sylvan gaff,
and ran to The Honest Trade:
— I’ll have a pint with you, Sir,
and call a spade a spade.

Fire down below

Seaman Tandy lit the fuse
when he peevishly refused
to endorse the edict
handed down by Twemlow.

Now the ship has run aground
near the stormy Western Sound,
and the crew are dancing two-steps
on the decks.

Twemlow’s in his cabin
with a cloth upon his head:
‘Dab my temples, Mudflap,
for I am nearly dead!’.

‘Oh Tandy, you have pained me,
I’ve loved you since a lad.
How could you betray me
— my sailor boy gone bad!

Tandy’s on the upper deck,
drinking rum and Coke.
All the seamen love him
(he even lets them smoke).

‘Just wait until the tide is up’,
says Tandy to the men.
‘Then Ganymede will be discharged,
and we’ll sail home again.’

In his cabin, Twemlow lies
on passion’s painful reefs:
‘I only asked dear Tandy
if he’d wear those spandex briefs.’

Missing Twemlow

Is that you, darling Twemlow,
gliding through the arboretum?
— Oh how thrilling, Leonora,
do let’s go and greet him!

There’s no one here, Jocasta,
the arboretum’s bare!
— I could’ve sworn our Twemlow
quite shimmered through the air!

You’re tired, Leonora,
and your mind is quite confused.
— You’re not exactly sane yourself,
you’re mad as two left shoes!

We both miss darling Twemlow,
the skipper of our craft.
Pity us, poor beldams,
though Twemlow would’ve laughed.

Travel plans

I’ll need twenty camels to carry my women, and make sure the kedgways are decently covered with scarlet cloth. Ensure the beasts are sturdy and well watered (the camels, not the women).

So saying, I went inside and placed an offering on the altar of Gadzoum al Buzzoom.

Then I called my astrologer and ordered him to name the most auspicious day for my departure.

— Thursday looks good.

Why pronounce you thus, Purveyor of Ancient Wisdom?

— 10% off at Booking.com. Must end Friday.

Book review

Chapter One was very good,
our hero starting out.

Chapter Two dragged on a bit,
our hero wracked with doubt.

Chapter Three, not for me,
too much dialog.

Chapter Four I did enjoy,
the vampire in the fog.

Chapter Five, the brothel scene,
(they don’t teach that in school).

Chapter Six, OMG!
— she really was a ghoul!

Chapter Seven, at the morgue,
the zombie and the creep.

Chapter Eight, I can’t relate,
cos then I fell asleep.


Swing low

It’s appealing or appalling
— I really can’t decide —
the way my buxom beldam
swings her butt from side to side.

Tidal waves can strike the shore,
causing devastation,
a butt-induced tsunami
that could sink an island nation.

Swinging like a lantern
on the good ship Pendulum
there’s something quite hypnotic
about my beldam’s bum.


Assisted flight

Zip me up, Morwena,
I’m ready for my flight.
Crank the gears, Dalhousie,
I’ll soon be out of sight.

Make sure you feed Beelzebub
— that cat was my best friend.
If some of you were more like her,
this wouldn’t be the end.

Just time to write a heartfelt note
to my old sparring bitch:
‘If I hadn’t married you,
I would still be rich.’

So zip me up, Morwena,
I’m ready for my flight.
Leave the gun beside me,
and turn out the light.



What a ballyhoo this is
and how I crave the grave!
The cold earth all around me,
and no more need to shave.

I tire of life’s imperatives,
like having to get up,
and mooch around the streets all day,
a tired abandoned pup.

The sky above depresses me,
— all those stupid clouds!
And who needs so much sunlight?
All I need’s a shroud.

I’ll be happy then, I know,
like a pig in clover.
Just leave me at the Cheshire Cat
until this thing is over.


Nature’s end

See the waves beguile the shore
with their loving lapping,
and see the empty cartons,
and the cans, and plastic wrapping.

‘We really must address this’,
says activist Todd Tapping.
‘We must protect Dame Nature,
or anything could happing.’

‘It’s ok, Mr Tapping’,
yawned Dame Nature from her couch.
‘All the world has gone to hell
and I’m a total slouch.’

‘So what if there’s some muck about,
and all my springs are stuck?
I’ve been around so very long
I couldn’t give a —.’


At The Odeum

Gilbert Twill is sure to thrill
with his new production,
coming to the West End soon,
The Vagabond’s Seduction.

The scene is set in Guzzler’s Gulch,
somewhere in Tasmania,
it tells the tale of Twemlow
and his morbid dipsomania.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll puke a lot
as Twemlow raises Cain,
then you’ll storm out of the playhouse
and never come again.



The recent outbreak of Appalling Punning (AP) has reached ceramic proportions:

— Our hotel offers ceramic views across the lake.

— Just add a dash of ceramic vinegar, and toss.

— Is IS developing a ceramic bomb?

A leading ceramic at Harvard University commented: ‘We’ve noticed that outbreaks of AP tend to occur during times of ceramic downturn. People are bored and depressed, and will do anything for ceramic effect. AP can be spread through ceramic syringes, and can cause ceramic upheaval to the ceramic nerve.

If you’re infected with AP, take ceramic acid immediately, and call the Ceramic Duo.

And if that doesn’t work, you can always blame the Ceramic State.’


The onset

Like most people, I stopped buying from Rolls Royce in 2002, following the ‘faux mahogany’ scandal.  I can still remember when that story broke, just as I was shimmering down the Boulevard Raspail in a Silver Shadow II  (the two-door version, by Mulliner Park Ward). I stopped at the nearest Concessionnaire and traded it in for an Aston Martin DB7 Zagato.

But now, almost two decades later, I’m beginning to re-assess my thinking on that memorable day. Is it age, perhaps, and with it, the onset of wisdom? Or is it that indefinable quality that only Rolls Royce can offer the true devotee?

No, it’s just that some bastard stole my car, and I’ve got to get home. Nanny’s made a special cake for my birthday.


Cook’s Corner

Try Twemlow’s ‘Country Chicken’
if you think you might be missin’
out on protein or some other

Fry it up with delmars
and pilbeams from a can,
then serve it hot, and like as not,
you’ll feel a whole new man.

Try Smeeton’s ‘Pungent Pickle’
if your tastebuds need a tickle,
or your palate is as pallid as a corpse.

Try Smeeton’s with Thai sausage
or with leek and onion potage:
you’ll be laughing like a horse with no remorse.


Foot soldiers


Breakthroughs in podiatry
don’t often make the news,
but all those instep insights
mean you do get the proper shoes.

Take Elmer Twilb, Podiatrist,
as our first example:
without his pioneering work
I’d neither stomp nor trample.

Let’s not forget good Dr Scholl,
the Hero of the Callous.
To wear his comfy toe-pads
is to glide about a palace.

Podiatrist, chiropodist,
call them what you will,
I praise them at the shoe store
every time I foot the bill.