13 October 2018

9:00 AM

13 October 2018

9:00 AM

In Competition No. 3069 you were invited to provide a spoof version of the song ‘My Favourite Things’ for the constituency/demographic of your choice. I decided to set this comp after stumbling across the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic recast as it might have been sung by an elderly Julie Andrews (‘Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,/ Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings…’).
It seemed to go down well, drawing an entry that ranged far and wide, from Basil Ransome-Davies’s fetishists (‘Dildoes and butt plugs that tirelessly tingle,/ Electrical probes and Ben Wa balls that jingle…’) to Max Gutmann’s Fox News viewers (‘Gawking at lovely harassable females,/ Daily reminders of Hillary’s emails’) via Chris O’Carroll’s potheads (‘Underground comix and indie musicians,/ Sentences full of oh-wows and omissions…’) I was impressed by Douglas G. Brown’s evenhandedness in these polarised times. He submitted entries for both Trump-detractors: ‘Grabbing the women I like by the pussy,/ Letting Vlad Putin know I’m not a wussy…’; and Hillary-haters: ‘Millions and millions for Slick Willy’s speeches/ Paid in my coffers by corporate leeches…’ The winners are rewarded with £30 each. Brian Murdoch takes the extra fiver.

Fitbits and Snapchat and tall skinny lattes,
Making them tear down imperialist statues,
I’m straight but identify LGBT —
These are some things that exhilarate me.
Hashtags, emojis, feeling bruised and tender,
Being the victim, never the offender,
Insisting on toilets which are gender-free —
Those are some more things that do it for me.
Finance from father, easy degree passes,
Safe spaces and trigger warnings in all classes,
No platforms for folks with whom I disagree —
These things make me bubble over with glee.
When I’m getting no attention,
And need sympathy,
I simply recall my most favourite thing —
It’s me, it’s me, it’s me!
Brian Murdoch (snowflakes)
League tables glinting, the pride of all HE
Witty staff emails (think G. Lytton Strachey)
Executive perks and a chauffeur (ker-ching!)
These are a few of my favourite things
Suits of vicuna and desks made of cedar
Budgets cuts hot from the management reader
Flow-charts as ruthless and brisk as Beijing
These are a few of my favourite things
Bonus and bunce from my pals in committee
CBE waiting in government kitty
No one who’s heard about Admiral Byng
These are a few of my favourite things
Paint my portrait! — when an axe swings,
Once my pension’s paid
I head some Inquiries (my favourite things)
And I never fee-eel afraid!
Bill Greenwell (vice chancellors)
Curses on couples and lurid romancing,
Off-the-screen action in Strictly Come Dancing,
Big Brother brothels that boast about shit,
These are the telly delights of the Brit.
Druggies on Corrie with murder most foul,
Britain’s Got Talent and Simon loves Cowell,
X-Factor freaks who appear on display,
These are the favourites of watchers today.
Minor celebrities, boring and brainless,
Coming to quizzes and going off gainless,
Others performing in Oz for a fee
Swallowing beetles and bugs for their tea.
When the jokes jar and the songs suck
And the world feels mad,
Switch off the telly and go for a walk
And things may not seem so bad.
Frank McDonald (telly addicts)
Bicycle kicks in a Cup Final showdown,
Winning by making the enemy go down,
Watching a shot as it swerves and it stings:
These are a few of my favourite things.
Making the boss thrill with nostrils a-steaming,
Buying some WAG-bling from Cartier, gleaming,
Threading a through ball from out on the wing,
These are a few of my favourite things.
A turn on a sixpence, and nutmegging Rooney,
Cruciate ligaments that don’t need a new knee,
Super-injunctions when having a fling,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Nearing forty, when I’m caught in
Nature’s offside trap,
I think of my income (a favourite thing)
And then I don’t fee-eel so crap.
Will Bellenger (Premier League footballers)

Massaged statistics and gold-plated pensions,
Flexible hours and honours list mentions,
Diversity targets where privilege clings:
These are a few of our favourite things.
Meetings on briefings and late IT projects,
Tautologous memos concocted from Roget’s,
Banker lamps, date stamps and phones left to ring:
These are a few of our favourite things.
Latin tags swapped at backslapping appraisals,
Outside consultants that gaze at our navels,
Ineptly run systems, expertly pulled strings:
These are a few of our favourite things.
When the press carp, when the cuts swinge,
When forecasts are off,
We just take stock of our favourite things
And oh so politely cough.
Adrian Fry (civil servants)


No. 3072: brief lives

You are invited to write a short biography of a famous figure, past or present, in verse of up to 16 lines. Please email (wherever possible) entries to by midday on 24 October.

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