Competition

Tutti-bam! Frutti-boom! Musical double dactyls

22 August 2020

9:00 AM

22 August 2020

9:00 AM

In Competition No. 3162 you were invited to submit double dactyls on stars of popular or classical music. Fans of ‘higgledy-piggledies’, as they are also known, should check out Jiggery Pokery, the terrific 1967 compendium of the form, edited by Anthony Hecht and John Hollander, who, in case anyone is wondering exactly what a double dactyl is, spells it out below:

Starting with nonsense words:

(‘Higgledy-piggledy’),
Then comes a name
(Making line number two);
 
Somewhere along in the
Terminal quatrain, a
Didaktyliaios
Word, and we’re through.


This crowd-pleasing challenge drew a whopping entry. Honourable mentions go to Simon Balderson, Helen Zax, Jill Sharp, Iain Morley, Alex Steelsmith and Fabian Carstairs. The winners earn £15 each.

Tutti-bam! Frutti-boom!
Richard Wayne Penniman
Hollered it ribald and
Banged it out blue,
 
Rocking America’s
Youth to new rhythms of
Erotogenical
Wop-bop-a-loo!
Chris O’Carroll

Rumblebee-bumblebee
N. Rimsky-Korsakov,
Greatly inspired by a
Beehive he’d seen,
 
Gave us a paean to
Hyperactivity,
Perfect for string sections
High on caffeine.
Max Gutmann

Fiscally, discally,
Herbert von Karajan’s
Fortune was forged with the
Berliner Phil.
 
Countless recordings, all
Ultra-phenomenal,
Made ‘Cash-and-Karajan’
Wealthier still.
Sylvia Fairley

Opera popera
Handel, George Frideric
Buried in Westminster,
Never did wed.
 
Sick of his music played
Uninterruptedly
At every bridal, stayed
Single instead.
Janine Beacham

Crotchetty-blotchetty
Robert A. Zimmerman,
Zeitgeist-apologist
Son of Duluth;
 
Edgy, mercurial,
Counter-intuitive,
Dylan emphatically
Redefined youth.
Mike Morrison

Ooh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka:
Gilbert O’Sullivan!
Cap and short trousers, he
Had much to say.
 
Quirkily, perkily,
Uncontroversially,
Not uncommercially:
Doo-Wakka-Day!
David Silverman

Abbaly Dabbaly
Agnetha Andersson
haltingly told us the
winner takes all.
 
Forty years later her
vulnerability
still keeps her listeners in
Agnetha’s thrall.
Nick MacKinnon

Opera popera
Gilbert and Sullivan
Furnished the frolics on
Pinafore’s decks.
 
How to define them though,
Musicologically?
Rather like Offenbach,
Minus the sex.
George Simmers

Homeward bound, lone-ward bound,
Simon & Garfunkel
Sounded of silence and
Parsley and sage.
 
Harmonies couldn’t breed
Amicability.
Waters were troubled both
On and off stage.
Ossie Jay

Do-re-mi, So-re-mi,
Rodgers and Hammerstein
Wrote of Maria and
Baron von Trapp.
 
If you can pardon my
Idiosyncrasy:
World’s greatest musical?
I think it’s crap.
Nicholas Hodgson

No. 3165: between the lines

You are invited to supply a job reference for a well-known public figure, past or present (please specify), that while seemingly positive reveals the failings of the candidate in question. Please email entries of up to 150 words to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 2 September.

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