Helpline

I was searching for a word to rhyme with candour when the phone rang.

Hello. Who’s this?

Alexander.

Who?

We met at the Goose & Gander.

Sorry, I don’t…

You must remember me! I was dressed as a salamander.

Sorry, I can’t…

The New Year Ball? You were dressed as a Space Commander.

That’s right, I was. But I don’t…

And you offered me a back-hander.

I what?

You offered me a back-hander so you could philander with Leander.

But that’s slander!

There you go. Bye.


 

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Breakfast at Dauphigny’s

—  Have you voltaired, Lionel?

— No, but I’ve twemlowed like billy-o!

— Don’t be crude, Lionel, especially at the breakfast table!

— Twemlow tells a cracking story. Le Salon de Mme Anueil…

— Stop it at once! Tosh and flim-flam! What about you, Jocasta? What are you reading?

— I’m reading Robespierre on the duties of government, Mama.

— Oh how exciting! Are you enjoying it?

— Well yes, up to a point.

— Oh dear! Is there some obstacle, some entrave, to your reading pleasure?

— There’s just too much Montesquieu in his thinking, Mama. It rankles.

— That’s certainly true, Jocasta. Well observed! He was steeped in Montesquieu, and lacked the largesse to admit it.

— You agree with her about everything!

— That’s not true, Lionel, and you know it. We differ sharply on the Council of Trent, for instance, and on the centrality of la tendresse in human affaires.

— We don’t disagree on that, Mama. Only our paths diverge…

— Well put, Jocasta! More chocolat?

— I hate that chocolate. Makes me puke.

— Stop it, Lionel, at once! You’re just like your father!

— Where is Father, by the way? Why does he never come home?


 

Looking out

I’d be better off in China,
where at least they make good tea,
or maybe Valparaiso,
where at least you’re near the sea.

I’ve heard good reports of Murmansk,
see the sun up there, at least.
Baghdad’s another option,
Jewel of the Middle East.

Pakistan is worth a look:
they’ve got that Khyber Pass.
Better than this concrete hell
— Cell Block C, my ass.


The line of duty

I was spotted recently at the royal wedding, and ever since then my phone hasn’t stopped ringing:

— Was that you with the 7th Earl of Melmontshire?

— Was that you with Demerara De Courcy-Devereux? Is she as delightful as they say?

— Was that you with Prince Percival Poggenpohl von Schoenberg-Schlesvig-Holstein?

— Was that you shagging a horse behind the privet hedge?

Of course, one doesn’t confirm or deny anything, but I refer the interested reader to the next editions of Town & Country and Horse & Garter, and to my forthcoming Compendium of Upper-class Nancy-boys & Tarts (C-NTS).

All in the line of duty.


 

Going low

See the lowly earthworm
as he crawls along the ground.
Now there’s a lesson for us all
— wisdom most profound.

The earthworm’s not ambitious,
for money or for fame,
he pays no heed to politics,
doesn’t know the leader’s name,

He doesn’t have a passport,
so he can never lose it,
and even if he had a phone
I’m sure he’d never use it.

He has no fear of terrorists,
or planes that get mislaid,
though he frets a little sometimes
about the gardener’s spade.

Oh to be an earthworm,
the lowest of the low!
If I keep writing crap like this,
I won’t have far to go.


 

House of love

Love and Folly bought a house
filled with gold and treasure,
a place where they could be themselves,
and live their lives at leisure.

Then Time came knocking at their door
and told them ‘By the way,
did I mention that the lease is up?
You’re out on first of May.’

Love and Folly left their house,
one to west and one to east.
Now other lovebirds own their house,
for a while at least.


 

Oliveriddle

Oliver Oliphant oils the elephants
at the Parkway Zoo.
Now if Oliver Oliphant oils the elephants
at the Parkway Zoo,
what do you think that Tigger Taboo
could possibly do at the Zoo?

Anyone?

That’s it! Correct!

Lawksamussy!

My readers are such a clever chattering of choughs!

Take an extra helping of pine nuts, and enjoy.


 

Finalism

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.


 

Dreams

How can I achieve my dreams
when all about me this world seems
as mad as summer nights in Tanganyika?

Can I ever be, as I so wish to be,
the man who put the chic in chicken tikka?

Will I ever sail my twemlow across the Bering Sea?
Will the beldams ever drop their drawers as soon as look at me?

Will I win the Nobel Prize, or bask in Belle’s adoring eyes?
Will I ever tell myself the truth, instead of telling lies?


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.


 

Ap-palling

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
requisites.

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.


 

Twemlow’s Herbarium

Acacia Hermetica, good for snakebite.
Arsesmart, a balm for all manner of evil.
Aqua Salva, can revive a dead cow.
Aqua Vita, can quell a noisy beldam.
Belmain, prevents scrofulus in lawyers and infants.
Bishop’s Crowbar, disperses wicked thoughts.
Blinny, blent with cowslips, is good for sickly porkers.
Derbyshire Kale, induces night-sweats and fevers.
Chickwort, a salve for knotted pilbeams; also good against earthquakes.
Duckweed, cures all manner of pustules, black kelbs, and botches.
Fumaria, eases the bilious flux in geese and clergy.
Horse Tar, applied to the nether lips, can cure the scummox.
Ibex Cincinnatus, cools the brainpan and relieves guilt.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, good for pregnant beldams.
Lemanwort, good against hypocrites.
Sorrel, taken at night, a caustic for pungency.
Tincture of Bezel, good against calamity.
Trumpwort, good for a laugh.
Verba Ludica, good for a lively brainpan.


Society column

Mantled in Murmansk mink, Leonora Cazenove stepped gracefully from a cab in Drury Lane, amid a throng of well-wishers. She looked radiant in a Chloe Deluce evening dress and sequined shoes by Patrice. Her escort for the evening, Honeyfritz Belmondo, was effervescent in a velvet ensemble and a crimson Oscar Wilde hat.  He smiled and waved flamboyantly to the crowd, while Leonora, more reserved, glided quickly into the brilliantly-lit foyer. The fabulous pair had arrived for the opening night of Give Us a Dab o’ That, a light-hearted farce from the pen of Lionel Smooch.

This is the third time the celebrity duo have been spotted together, so rumours are swirling about in the beau-monde. Has Leonora found love again, following her very public split from Joachim Cumbersnatch? Can playboy Honeyfritz finally put an end to those sordid rumours about his personal life? I, for one, have never believed the catty innuendae of the gutter press (though the hat doesn’t help, Honeyfritz, dear), and I wish the couple several weeks of happiness together.


An Easter poem

Wilmer Twilb came knocking,
knocking on the old church door:
‘Let me in, you bastards,
I want to save my soul.’

’Too late for you’, said Pastor Good,
‘you’re going straight to hell.
Now leave us godly folk in peace
and cease your sinful yell.’

So Wilmer takes some kerosene
and sets the church on fire,
sending all the folks within
to the great celestial choir.

‘Don’t worry, godly bastards,
it’s just a crucifixion.
Wait three days, as the Good Book says,
and find out if it’s fiction.’

Well, it turns out Pastor Good was right,
and Wilmer went to hell.
He’s there now with the bastards,
and with Pastor Good, as well.


 

The professor & the protons

Professor Twilb, the physicist,
was weary night and day,
cos all his little protons
would not line up and say:

‘I’m a happy little proton
and I’m easy to predict.
Just listen to Professor Twilb,
he’s got the whole thing licked.’

Instead of which, those protons
dance in arcs and arabesques,
cavorting like delinquents,
their trajectories just a guess.

‘How I hate those little bastards!’,
said the weary physicist.
‘I’ll never understand them,
or predict their turns and twists.’

Just then a senior proton
(older than the rest)
stood up and cleared his tiny throat
and puffed his tiny chest.

He said: ‘Don’t fret, Professor,
you’re not the first or last
to be puzzled by us protons
as we skip and caper past’.

‘We’ve been around a long time,
(since time began, at least)
and we’ll still be here long after
your physics is deceased.

By then, of course, you’ll be with us,
dancing pastourelles.
So why not turn your microscope
and analyse yourself?


 

Godawful

An Arctic blast came rasping
through my squalid little home,
carving gelid pathways
through my brittle little bones.

It tore the sheeting from my roof,
and scalped me as it raged:
now I sit here naked-pated
in my empty little cage.

Overhead, I see the stars
— they seem frozen just like me:
just how squalid does it get
in God’s awful axletree?


The poet & his neighbours

He sits around at home all day,
staring into space,
wearing silk pyjamas
and a scowl upon his face.

— It’s true I don’t go out much,
I stay in my own place,
but I don’t wear silk pyjamas
on my face.

The little kids are scared of him,
they call him ‘Bugaboo’,
and of course he lives alone,
odd as a boot and a shoe.

— I used to have a beldam
who shared my hearth and home,
but you won’t know what odd is
until you’ve met that crone.

He doesn’t have a TV,
doesn’t use the internet.
I’ve heard he reads a lot of books,
so what would you expect?

— Most people’s lives are not like mine;
I sometimes wish they were.
Then they might start to understand
why I just do not care.