Thursday, 26 May 2011

Isle Of Wight Fishmonger Fined For Displaying Naked Bream

Fishmonger, Ted Nugent, was fined £10 by Shanklin magistrates today for displaying a nude sea bream in the window of his High Street shop - writes chief crime reporter Juanita Juan.

Nugent pleaded guilty to improperly displaying a naked fish - and asked for five hundred similar offences to be taken into consideration.

"This apology for a human being - this odious philanderer - this loathsome stain upon the good name of the Isle of Wight -  this nauseating dealer in seagoing pornography, is nothing more than a serial fish molester", growled Chairman of the Bench, ex Field Marshall Sir Vernon Blatchcock-Barnowl.

"Not only has he subjected this innocent bream to the vile gaze of visiting perverts from overseas, he also admits to having similarly besmirched haddock, whiting, lemon sole, gurnard, sprats and a line-caught dog fish."

"I have decided to leave on record further grave offences involving molluscs, crustaceans and sundry under-age whitebait", declared Sir Vernon.

Defending the accused, Herbert Digweed-Dambuster QC explained that his client had gone to great lengths to provide adequate cover for the naked fish.  Which only served to make the magistrates even more angry than they were already.

"If he thinks the odd sprig of parsley is sufficient to spare the blushes of a stripped sea bream he's got another thought coming", shouted Sir Vernon.

"He will go to prison for fifty years."

The sentenced was reduced on appeal.

In a similar case, Ventnor magistrates decided that frozen fish fingers were not subject to the same decency laws as sea bream.

Miner Strikes Gold Under Bank Of England

A lucky gold miner from Bethnal Green laid claim to the top end of Threadneedle Street today after striking gold fifty feet below the surface. 

Within an hour, city police reported thousands of men with shovels gathering outside Mansion House tube station.

"I had a feelin' there was tons of gold down there", laughed Ron Varley as he triumphantly showed a group of prospectors a large ingot, clearly stamped Property of the Bank of England.

Varley explained he had started his mine six months ago, from a disused back yard just around the corner in Throgmorton Street. 

"To an experienced miner like me, this whole area stinks of pure gold", he declared.

He revealed he had dug his shaft straight down for 50 feet before branching left in the direction of Threadneedle Street.

"Once I was under the Bank of England, my electronic gold detector flew right off the scale", he said.

"After locating the seam, it was a simple case of getting out the gelignite, blasting a hole through a solid steel wall and then winching the gold straight up to the surface".

Varley then headed off to celebrate with a slap-up meal at London's Savoy Hotel.  Together with explosives expert Roy 'Banger' Bullman and 60 year old Reg Platt who drove the getaway van.

"We reckon there's diamonds and all sorts of priceless jewels somewhere under the Tower of London", he said as he tucked into a plate of red mullet with fries and onions.

"Maybe we'll pay them a visit next Tuesday".

Maestro Varley To Play Albert Hall Prom Concerto For Washboard & Spoons

Islington's Ted Varley has agreed to give his washboard & spoons version of Beethoven Piano Concerto No 5 during this season's Albert Hall Promenade Festival.

Varley will play the 'Emperor' in E-flat Major at a special concert to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the King James'  bible.  It will be held on Friday September 13th - with Daniel Barenboim conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

"Varley plays the spoons like nobody on earth", said Barenboim. 

"He's the Pavarotti of the Percussion Section". 

"Aged 96, stone deaf and unable to read music, this man's a credit to the cultural values of saloon bars throughout North London", he added.

"Everyone that counts from the world of classical music will gather in the Albert Hall that night", declared illustrious pianist and conductor, Vladimir Ashkenazy.  

"I shall be sitting with  Lang Lang and the incomparable Martha Argerich, wondering post-Varley if any of us will ever dare revisit Beethoven's original keyboard version of this concerto.

"Had he lived, Ludwig Van Beethoven would surely have written for Spoons & Washboard", declared pioneering Venezuelan genius, Gustavo Dudamel. 

Kick off at 8.15. 

Sold Out!

Live on BBC 2

Man Entered For Crufts Declared Barking

Bob Pomeroy, who entered this year's Crufts as a wolfhound, has been declared barking mad under the 1864 Mad Dog Act.

Dorking Magistrates heard today how Pomeroy, a 56 year old supermarket manager from Leatherhead, entered Crufts as 7 year old wolfhound 'Beau Bob' in the Working Gundog section of this year's competition. 

"I immediately suspected Beau Bob was not a wolfhound", explained legendary 68 year old judge, Dora Cattermole.

"For a start, he didn't appear comfortable on all fours". 

"Then, when I asked his handler, Mr Mundy, why Beau Bob's tail had been removed, he simply told me I'd have to ask the dog".

"Finally, when I had my customary feel between Beau Bob's back legs, he got far more excited than any wolfhound I've come across in 30 years as a circuit judge".

Eye witnesses revealed it took six male judges to drag Beau Bob off Dora Cattermole and into a ringside cage.

"The dog had a paw up Dora's tartan skirt and was foaming at the mouth", declared ironmonger and poodle connoisseur Vernon Moult. 

Passing sentence, Chairman of the Bench Roy Figgis growled, "This tailless wolfhound, Beau Bob, is a disgrace to Crufts name and reputation".

Seconds later, muzzled Bob Pomeroy, wearing a smart two-piece suit and red tie, was led away for further training at Her Majesty's pleasure.

84 year old chihuahua, Vic Noblet from Kettering, won Best in Show.

Dorking Man Walking Pet Snake Causes World's Worst Traffic Jam

Bernard Barnowl caused the world's longest traffic jam today when he put a lead on his pet Python, Monty, and took him for a walk down the A24 near Dorking.

Forty two foot reticulated python, Monty, is used to being taken for a constitutional along the lamp posts and woodland pathways on the verges of the A24. 

"Daily walkies are a vital part of Monty's lifestyle", explained 48 year old milkman Barnowl. 

"He gets to stretch himself out, eat the odd lamb or hedgehog, have a sniff round the undergrowth and crucially mark-out his territory.  Pythons are very much like dogs you know".

Things went wrong this morning when Barnowl decided to escort Monty across the road.

"I waited for a long gap in the traffic, then led him across the A24", explained Barnowl.

"I'd just reached the other side, when the stupid snake decided he wanted the loo". 

"So I shouted at him.  I told him straight.  I said look here Monty, your head is one side of the A24 and your tail's on the other.  This is neither the time nor place to go poo poo".

"Would he listen.  No way.  He just looked up like I was a complete idiot - and began the lengthy process of doing his number twos. 

Pythons are like that you know, obstinate buggers".

Thankfully the first vehicles to approach the scene were paying attention. 

"As I looked ahead I immediately noticed there was a big python stretched across the road having a crap", revealed 53 year old delivery driver Ron Huggett.  "So I pulled up and waited for it to finish".

District nurse, Minnie Hardacre, did exactly the same from the opposite direction. 

"I know global warming's a problem.  But I didn't expect pythons in Surrey quite so soon", she said.

Within an hour traffic was at a standstill all the way down to Worthing. 

Whilst the nearby M25 was at a halt from Heathrow right across Surrey and Kent as far as the Dartford tunnel.

"It's the worst traffic jam in history", declared Chief Inspector Bob Ballard of Surrey police. 

"Sixty five miles of cars and lorries all bumper to bumper".

Bloody pythons!

Birdman Of Dorking Dies On Maiden Flight

Human bird Bob Pomfroy is dead!  

He took-off from the summit of Box Hill at 8.15a.m today.  But his body was discovered an hour later.  In light undergrowth beside the A25, midway between Dorking and Guildford. 

Locally born and bred, 56 year old  Pomfroy made headlines in January, when he had 10,000 bird feathers implanted into his skin. 

"At Bob's request, I turned him into the world's first flying ostrich", explained consultant surgeon Professor Arthur Mouton-Birdbath.

Pomfroy, a local ferret breeder and authority on suburban pigeons, believed humans would be capable of sustained flight, if only they had feathers. 

"He spent fifteen years studying dead starlings at our dining-room table", wept his distraught wife Marlene.  

"Calculating what he called 'the precise mechanics of flight'.    In the end he claimed he knew exactly how many feathers per square inch he would need".

"By Christmas there was nothing Bob didn't know about being a bird", she said.

"So we decided to go ahead with the operation.  

"As I told Professor Birdbath.  To most people my husband is a boring ferret breeder.  Now make him the kind of man everyone will look up to".

Thousands turned out to see Bob Pomfroy take to the sky.

"We were standing two hundred feet below.  Ready to rush him straight to hospital", said elderly paramedic Ted Warnock.

"The moment the band started playing the Dam Busters march, we started the motor in the ambulance.  As Mr Pomfroy prepared for take-off, we had six of us waiting with an outstretched blanket.   And a stretcher in case we missed him."

The great moment had arrived. 

Pomfroy slowly squatted down, bending his knees.  Eyes wide open and looking straight ahead, he took a deep breath. 

Then with both arms flapping wildly, he leapt off the edge and out  into the freedom of the open sky.

To the amazement of everyone, ghoulishly gathered to witness a twerp plunge to his certain death, the local ambulance service turned out to be surplus to requirements.

"He went off like a startled crow", said disappointed bystander Reg Pillock.   "Straight as an arrow and higher and higher in the sky.   Until he vanished into a passing cloud".

"Nobody clapped.  We just stood there with our mouths wide open.  Struck dumb.  Gobsmacked by the sight of a middle aged man flying  into the distance. With a smile on his face  Like he was some kind of  bird without a care in the entire bloody world".

Forty five minutes later, pig-breeder Len Normington was carefully driving his massive 68 ton lorry along the A25, midway between Dorking and Guildford.

"I was heading to market.  Peacefully finishing me ham and cheddar sandwich with mustard and pickle".  

"When suddenly I saw this crazy ostrich heading in my direction", explained shocked Normington ten minutes later.

"I ask you!  A bloody great ostrich". 

"Diving straight down towards me".

"Slap into me windscreen".

"Stupid bloody bird". 

"Never stood a chance".

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Spoof Tribute To Peter Cook

Peter Cook (1935-1995) was one of the greatest British wits of all time.

Comedy is rooted in the history of British theatre. But the second half of the 20th century saw television join the wireless as an alternative mainstream outlet for high culture.

Peter Cook, whilst not a pioneer, set the bar for most of the highest and the lowest standards we have today. Alongside Tommy Cooper, Spike Milligan and one or two others

He was a glorious man. Unambitious, carefree, born to make people laugh. The son of a colonial civil servant, Cook was public school and Cambridge. A traditional Englishman to his boots. Think Harold MacMillan meets Alfred Doolittle. Or Lord Boothby meets Brian Clough.

Naturally, Cook began in the theatre. But he was a sketch writer and a performer, not a playwright. Actually he was many things: satirist; publisher; comedian; club owner; film actor; TV guest - to name but a few.

Beyond his writing, every aspiring satirist should watch for Cook's imaginative and quick witted improvisations in performance. Creating lines off the cuff and on the hoof. Alongside his talent for memorable characterisation. Usually High Life pedants or Low Life nincompoops.

My favourites are Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling, nitwit Norman House with his metal detector, Scunthorpe FC manager Alan Latchley, rock legend Eric Daley, High Court Judge Sir James Beauchamp and of course Pete opposite Dudley Moore from the Pete & Dud stage and TV sketches.

Peter Cook was often outrageous. Witness his famous Derek & Clive 'cunt' sketch with Dudley. But he was never even remotely crude. He just dared to tread where others never thought to step.

So forgive my pathetic attempt to capture just a hint of that surreal style. In this short sketch. With the ghosts of Peter Cook playing Sid and Dudley Moore as his colleague, Brian.

Sid & Brian Contemplate Lost Property At Dorking Station

Sydney Parslow, a 48 year old ticket-office clerk at Dorking Railway Station is having a lunchtime pint with Brian Maggot, 46, who helps runs the snack bar on Platform One:

SID: You seen what's been handed in to lost property Brian?

BRIAN: No I haven't Sid. What?

SID: You're never going to believe this.

BRIAN: Not a soddin' umbrella?

SID: Close.

BRIAN: A mobile phone?

SID: Getting warm..

BRIAN: I know. A pair of brown leather gloves?

SID: Getting very warm..

BRIAN: No good. I give up. You'll have to tell me.

SID: Another bloody vagina.

BRIAN: Oh No! Not another bloody vagina! Poor thing. How many's that since Sunday?

SID: Four. If you count the one that escaped.

BRIAN: Bloody hell. What condition's this one in?

SID: Fine. Considering the ordeal it must've been through.

I gave it a saucer of milk. Then it fell asleep with a smile on its face.

BRIAN: Ah. Bless its heart. I don't know. What is it about these modern women?

SID: Spoilt. That's what.

BRIAN: You're right there Sid. I blame all that Reality TV..

SID: You'd have thought they'd at least take proper care of their vagina. Given they've only got the one.

BRIAN: Too right. It's not as if a vagina's a fabulous breast. Or a little finger. I mean, they've got a spare breast. And loads of fingers. But fancy losing your one and only vagina. If I had a vagina I'd take bloody good care of it. Keep a very close eye out.

SID: I know Brian. As I've often heard you say. I wish I had a vagina. If only I had a vagina my entire life would be far less complicated. My vagina would be the most loved, the most closely observed vagina in the entire world. It would be a well-watched vagina.

BRIAN: Jealously guarded. Kept under lock and key.

SID: Constantly in chains if it were mine. Bolted to the floor.

BRIAN: So what have you done with it?

SID: Put it in the hutch with the others.

BRIAN: Poor bloody vaginas. What if nobody claims them?

SID: I'd rather not tell you that Brian.

BRIAN: Don't say they put them down?

SID: No. But suffice to say, what happens is not very nice. Certainly not the kind of end I'd wish for any vagina of mine.

BRIAN: Poor things. Someone should make an effort to repatriate them.
Here, do you think this new one might belong to Cheryl Cole?

SID: Cheryl Cole? What gives you that idea?

BRIAN: I don't know. But it could belong to Cheryl Cole couldn't it?

SID: How on earth do you suppose Cheryl Cole came to lose her vagina on Platform 1 of Dorking Station?

BRIAN: I don't bloody know. How does any woman lose her vagina? It could have been accidental. Whilst her mind was temporarily distracted.

SID: So what was a globe-trotting superstar like her doing in a state of distraction in Dorking?

BRIAN: What's wrong with Dorking?

SID: Nothing's wrong with Dorking. I mean you and me find Dorking a perfectly pleasant place in which to spend our entire life. We even find excitement within the confines of Dorking. But let's face it Brian. Dorking isn't exactly the throbbing heart of the metropolitan South East.

BRIAN: OK. Maybe she was passing through. En route between her yacht on the south coast and the flickering lights of London.

SID: Possibly Brian. Possibly.

BRIAN: So why don't you ring and ask her?

SID: What me? Pick up the phone and say 'Hello, is that Cheryl Cole. Oh good. Only it's Sydney Parslow here from British Rail Dorking. I was rummaging through our Lost & Found articles and wondered if you might have inadvertently mislaid your vagina on our Platform 1.

BRIAN: That's right. Then she could have a quick look below and give us an immediate answer.

SID: Don't be ridiculous. Suppose she isn't alone.

BRIAN: Maybe the person she's with could take a look. Either way we'd get a result. Clear up the mystery once and for all.

SID: That's true.

BRIAN: Settle our minds and that.

SID: Prove we've done everything possible to rescue a poor lost vagina.

OK Brian I'll do it.


Hello. Is that Cheryl Cole?


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Quentin Tarantino Directs Humphrey Bogart In Sauce Commercial

Hollywood rolled back the years today as the great Humphrey Bogart kicked the lid off his coffin, lit a cigarette and strolled along to Lot 1 in the MGM Studios to begin work. 

Quentin Tarantino was already slumped in his Director's Chair screaming at a terrified young actor.  
"This is a fucking sauce commercial you dick brained twerp of a one-legged halfwit moose", he screamed encouragingly.

"All you gotta do is look at the girl as if you're gonna fill her with sperm.  Put our client's food in yer useless mouth.  Bite on it .. let the juice run out .. and then whisper the line with  every ounce of meaningful passion you've got in you..

"Say Sister The Sauce On This Sausage Sandwich Is Simply Sensational"

"It's that FUCKING easy", he screeched.

Bogie leaned against the doorway, stifled a grin, lit another cigarette and watched.

"Rollin", called out the film cameraman.

"OK.  Action", shouted Tarantino.

Actor looks at girl with best meaningful look.  Then bites sandwich.
"Say Sister The Sauce On This Sausage Sandwich Is Simply Sensational"

Tarantino:  Cut.

Actor:  Was that better boss?

Tarantino:  Out you fuckwit!  Get out of my fuckin studio before I fuckin get a loaded pistol and blow the fuckin air out yer fuckin empty brain and up through yer fuckin arsehole.

The actor leaves in tears.  Never to work again.

After a pause, a vaguely familiar voice from the doorway

Bogart:   Mind if I have a go?

Tarantino:  Who the fuck d'yer think you are?  Humphrey fuckin Bogart?

Bogart:  Maybe.

Tarantino:  Bright guy eh?    Done any acting?

Bogart:   Bit.  Not a lot.  Few movies.

Tarantino:  Such as?

Bogart:  I don't know.  African Queen.

Tarantino:  What's that?  Gay porn with black dick movie?

Bogart:  Maltese Falcon.

Tarantino:  Natural history crap don't count.

Bogart:  The Big Sleep.

Tarantino:  Yeah dickhead.  That's what yer doin to me.  Makin my eyes feel heavy.

Bogart:  OK!   How about Casablanca?

Tarantino:  Of all the fuckin' gin joints in all the towns in all the world, he walks into mine.

Bogart:  What?

Tarantino:  Don't come the crap with me dickhead!  Next thing you'll be askin' me to play it again.

Bogart:  Why not?

Tarantino:  I'll tell yer why not.  Cos I don't remember the lines.  That's why not!

Bogart:  You did it fer her you can do it fer me!

Tarantino:  OK Wise guy!   Get yer arse down here and read the commercial.

Bogie strolls down onto the set.  Lights a cigarette.  Looks hard into the girls eyes.  Her lips begin to part.  Tiny beads of sensuous moisture appear as she slowly licks her bottom lip.  
She smiles tantalisingly back at the great star standing before her.  Already they could be in bed and she could be sucking something else.  
He smiles back.  Grinds out the cigarette on the floor.  Then takes a bite of the sandwich.  The scene is rich with levels of sexual tension not seen on screen since 1941. 
Brown juice trickles out of Bogie's mouth and down onto his chin.

Bogart:   Shay Shishter The Shaush On Thish Shaushage Shandwich Ish Shimply Shenshashional.



Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Dorking Post Modern Triangulists Gather At Felcher's Bottom

Followers of Dorking's thriving Post-Modernist Art Society travelled to the Isle of Wight yesterday for their annual weekend get-together, writes JPR Laidlaw, Dorking Review's Deputy Chief Rugby Football Correspondent.

"Here we are once again on the dunes at Felchers Bottom", announced  limestone sculptor and legendary Surrey Triangulist,  Professor Roderick Chump-Parsnip, standing outside his own private tent.

"Greetings to all Dorking-based lovers of fine art, as we gather again to celebrate a weekend of the most innovative talent to be found anywhere throughout the Home Counties", he declared.

"Since my discovery of Dorking Triangulism in the 1970's,  our Society continues to stand alone  against the tidal wave of post-war neo-romanticism", he explained.   

"Resisting those same forces of philistine artistic globalisation that have destroyed the soul of every British artist from William Hogarth to Damien Hurst".  

"All art beyond Dorking is moribund.  From Paris to Barcelona - from New York to Florence and from Shrewsbury to Leamington Spa", he declared.

"Remember that and you won't go far wrong".

"Children of Dorking.   Immerse your brushes in the flow of divine inspiration.  I hereby declare  our 36th Annual Festival officially open!"

Several hours later, as the glorious sun began to dip below the horizon, I met up with Professor Chump-Parsnip for a gentle pre dinner wander amongst the artists, clustered in small groups around the surrounding dunes.

"Felchers Bottom is where it's at",  he whispered as we began our stroll.

"Look about, if you wish to savour the intoxicating aroma of the English Channel.  Blending with the rapier-like thrust of Dorking paint brushes wielded by the children of Apollo."

"Have you seen Vernon Harding's "Virgin & Child Of Godalming", he asked.

"Which one is Vernon Harding", I enquired.

"Surely you've heard of Vernon Harding", he replied sharply. "Runs the Kismet Oriental Grill in Mickleham.  Couple of miles due north of Dorking town centre".

When I admitted I hadn't, the Professor launched into an interesting account that compared Pablo Picasso unfavourably to Harding.

"Harding's work is everything that Pablo's isn't", he revealed. 
For one thing, Harding never uses blue". 

"For another, Harding depicts the female breast, not as a geometric symbol but as a sacred farmyard animal.  A fundamental breakthrough that would never have occurred to Picasso, a mere peasant from Malaga".

I then asked the Professor to explain the artistic significance behind his own decision to sculpture rock only whilst completely naked.

"What is naked", he replied.  "What is the human form?  Other than a stroke of the brush.  Or the strike of a sharp chisel."

Lady Catherine Versey-Palmiston then approached, clutching a newly completed canvas.

"What do you think Professor"?

"Ah!   Nude Nymph With Dragon & Child", he replied.  "It has form.  Yes.  And it has shape.  Depicting the triumphant beast at rest over the fecund damsel.  With the child, a subtle symbol of lost virginity.  I particularly like your Dadaist montage of Dorking town square in the background.   And your sensuous portrayal of a roaring River Mole in full flood, harking back to the Industrial Revolution".

"It is a triumph", he declared. 

"Thanks only to you", quivered Lady Catherine.  Who seemed not the least aware that she too was stark naked.

Later we walked across the dunes to pay courtesy visits on other leading artists.

Gabriella Fonsdyke and Brigitta Knatchbull from Brocketts Farm on the A246 near Polesden Lacey were roasting a brace of mallard by moonlight.    Simultaneously, they were dropping ripe apples onto a pool of brilliant white emulsion.

"We are the niece of Henri Matisse", they chanted in unison.

"An erotic masterpiece on a theme of Sapphic resurrection", whispered Professor Chump-Parsnip as the two ladies continued their work.  Oblivious to the gold oil paint smeared across their naked breasts.

"It's going to be "Venus & Diana In Paradise Beside Camilla's Organic Grocery shop in Leatherhead", he revealed as we crept away.

Tarquin Bickersdyke from Cathcart Road, West Horsley in Surrey is a distant cousin of Paul Gauguin. 

"I've been following the Dorking School since I fell out with the Pre-Modiglianis", he said as he mixed us a Pimms. 

"You won't find another Movement like this anywhere".

 "It's as if Leonardo da Vinci had met Banksy in Epsom and they'd moved into a Guildford squat with Velazquez and Tracey Emin".

"Right now, Dorking is the epicentre of World Art", he declared.

And on that bombshell I left for a quiet pint at the Mason's Arms.

Hip-Hop Glitterati Explore 'Valley Rap' In Rhondda

The sun had gone down over the Rhondda Valley.  It was Sunday evening and the world of Hip-Hop was gathered in the lounge bar of the Miner's Arms in Ebbw Vale, South Wales. 

They were waiting for Kanye West to come and explain the origins for his new creation 'Valley Rap' which has taken the charts by storm. 

Rap can be many things.  It can come from many places.  Particularly the cold pavements of New York and South London.

So what was it doing here in South Wales?   Amongst these pretty cottages and their front gardens and the green hills that rise yonder to the north looking up towards Snowdonia? 

With Jay-Z, Eminem, Common, Dizzee Rascal, Dr Dre, Nas, Snoop, Lil Wayne and a room of other top artists, all seeking an answer, The Miner's Arms was the place to be as the beer began to flow and the spirits of Welsh forefathers began to gather round to listen.

Then the room went dark. 

A giant screen was lowered from the ceiling.  A projector flickered into life.  This had to be South Wales.  People were smoking everywhere.  Clouds of cigarette tobacco mixed with ganja and marijuana danced in front of the screen.

We were looking at a coal mine.  A giant wheel on the surface.  Everywhere black steel ropes,  darkness and misery.  Shots of men with black faces.  Sweat.  Tin boxes.  Lamps.  Those who did things.  Men who worked. 

We thought for a moment.  How could they ever have sung so beautifully.

Then Kanye West came to the microphone.  

And the music began.

"You come here today and  you pay and I say
where that road took me next from satanical mills
where they don't write no text for these valleys and hills
You say
Cos you know to connect to the bad how I feels
Is to stay in the street where the beat is suspect
And the man with the drugs has his own dialect
for his plight
Right here in the fields in a land with no shields
And the stink of the coal from the man in a hole
Is all gone for good like I told you it would
Like today
On the hill with the school and the black daffodil
and the scream in the wind calling Aberfan ow
as the sill hears the drill and the will dies
It's so still and the gold turning black as the cold
and the wail in the dale turns the wheel I am told
as a lung like a dirge is spoke never sung
Grime has its time like quicklime sometime
diggin' deep in the soul like a mole in the soil
when the coil of the wire takes him higher and higher
Never out
of the pit and the shit and the clay with his shout
not a doubt every sum comes to nowt
at the end of the day with his take home pay
is still far away
Turns his face to the wheel and the feel of the dust
in the eye and the sigh as he sinks down to die
and they cry to the sky as the man whispers why
is it me
Can't you see perfectly that's a lung full of soot
that you put out the fire of men in the choir
that sang in the hills in the land of their fathers
As others
have done when the sun does no favours to bathers
on sands groaning shift as I budge to the trudge of the miners
who crawl through the sludge to the lift that has come
to take him
away from this hell and the burn and the smell as you turn
for the sanctity of a moment's alacrity from deep in the stern
to the front of the queue and a view for the few of the city
in London
That's far from the station a distant relation who's making the money
this nation's ovation our town hall's creation this really ain't funny
when deaf are half blind Lord Nelson's not kind and neither has time
for our pity
full words as the wind blows again and again and again as it washes
the stain in buckets of rain and again with the pain of the past
that can't never last in our brain to explain when he came at the last
To die"

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Dorking Review Meets Sir Brent Burton-Trench On His 100th Birthday

Today we are honoured to be granted an interview with Dorking's foremost celebrity.

Born up the road in Leatherhead (within the Borough of Dorking) Sir Brent Burton-Trench remained until, aged eleven, he was sent away to boarding school. Alas he was never to return.

Now living on the Isle of Wight - actor, matinee idol, diarist, raconteur - Sir Brent invites Dorking's own Trainee Gossip Correspondent, Timothy Langton, to chat about his famous home and his celebrated life in the arts:-

TIM: Sir Brent. May I start by wishing you a happy birthday. And thanking you on behalf of Dorking for inviting me into your beautiful home.

SIR BRENT: Dear boy! The pleasure is mine.

TIM: You've heard from the Queen?

SIR BRENT: Ha! Yes! Very witty. Dear child.

TIM: You came to the Isle of Wight in the 1940s?

SIR BRENT: That's right. It was 1948. During the run of Coward's Private Lives at the Vaudeville. I remember us catching the late train to Portsmouth. After the Saturday night show. Then popping on the ferry straight after Sunday morning kippers and brown toast. It was love at first sight.

TIM: You imply "we".

SIR BRENT: Oh. Yes. My Assistant. Anthony.

TIM: Ah. Did you know Coward?

SIR BRENT: Know him! We were like brothers. I did all his plays you know. Blithe Spirit. Hay Fever. The Complete Works. Charming man Noel. Supported the Arsenal. I remember him taking me to the 1950 Cup Final. The Gunners. I'm sure that's what he called them. They won 2-0. Do you know what we did to celebrate?

TIM: No.

SIR BRENT: Went backstage to the team bathroom. Then Noel sang to the boys for a complete half an hour. Whilst they splashed about washing the mud off! All his famous songs. Entirely for free. They all loved him. Even footballers. He was like that Noel. Generous to a fault. Beautiful man. Yes.

TIM: Did Mr Coward ever come to the Isle of Wight.

SIR BRENT: Actually no. At least not to stay at Pitchers Bottom. But there's a reason for that. Coward hated the water you know.

TIM: Really?

SIR BRENT: Oh yes. Scared stiff of the sea. Sailed to America in '21 and was sick as a dog. Hated boats. Once the war ended, flew everywhere did Noel. Like a bird.


We had Novello to stay.

TIM: Ivor Novello?

SIR BRENT: Yes. Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart. They've all been in this room. At that same grand piano.

TIM: Didn't Ivor Novello write "We'll Gather Lilacs"?

SIR BRENT: Well yes. I believe he did.

TIM: My favourite song. "We'll walk together down an English Lane - Until our hearts have learned to sing again - When you come home once more".
Are you alright sir?

SIR BRENT: Fine! Don't mind me.

TIM: Have I said anything to upset you?

SIR BRENT: No dear boy. No. Sorry.

TIM: What was he like?


TIM: Ivor Novello?


TIM: Great song writer. Genius. Didn't he also write "Keep The Home Fires Burning"?

SIR BRENT: Yes, I believe he did.


If you must know, Novello was a bastard.

TIM: I have upset you haven't I?


TIM: It was you who brought him up.

SIR BRENT: Quite. I really am most terribly sorry.
The song. We'll gather lilacs.
That English Lane. It's right there.
Outside the back door. Takes you down to Swanley's Folly. Pretty little lane. We'll gather lilacs.
That was the last I saw of Anthony.

TIM: Sorry?

SIR BRENT: Novello. Stole my Assistant. Just like that. Left high and dry. After thirteen bloody years. Had to start signing my own photographs. Darn my own socks. Make the bed.

TIM: You never married?

SIR BRENT: Yes. What? Marriage? No. Thought about it of course. One always thinks about these things. Never seemed to come across the right girl. Never at the right moment. Ships passing in the night I suppose.

TIM: So you moved to the Isle of Wight.

SIR BRENT: Yes. Summer of 49. Seven thousand pounds this house cost me. Do you know what it's worth now?

TIM: Gosh I don't know. A fortune.

SIR BRENT: Go on. Take a guess.

TIM: A million pounds.

SIR BRENT. Treble it.

TIM: Three million.

SIR BRENT: And the rest.

TIM: Wow. Must be the finest house on the Island.

SIR BRENT: We did things to it naturally. Bathrooms. The pool. That rose garden. Yes.
Novello died suddenly you know. '51 that would have been. Bastard. Coronary thrombosis.

TIM: So your Assistant came back?

SIR BRENT: You mean Anthony? No. Anthony went to America. Drifted around I'm told. Usual stuff.
Started working for Rock Hudson apparently.

TIM: You keep in touch.

SIR BRENT: Mmm? Oh no. He died. I think. Yes.
That would have been the 80's.
Lots died around that time.
Back in those days.

TIM: You played Romeo on seven occasions.

SIR BRENT: That's right. The first was 1932. For the opening of the new theatre in Stratford. With Hermione Langrage as Juliet. And dearest Vernon Peacock as my Mercutio.
Yes. The last was at the Theatre Royal Windsor. Shortly after my sixtieth birthday. I remember the Duke of Edinburgh coming back after I'd taken seventeen curtain calls.
With Benjamin Britten as I remember.

TIM: You knew Britten.

SIR BRENT: But of course. Everyone did. Although it was Peter who was my closest friend.

TIM: The tenor Peter Pears.

SIR BRENT: Yes. They had the Red House in Aldeburgh and I had the Pink House in Pitchers Bottom. They came to stay for a fortnight every summer. Then I'd go back to theirs. Benjamin used to tease Peter that he and I were two shades of the same colour.

TIM: Some critics used to compare you to Sir John Gielgud.

SIR BRENT: Gosh, you have been doing your homework. Yes. That's true enough. Johnny and me were always going up for the same things.


What I mean is, we often went up for the same part. In a play. Or film.

TIM: Did you ever share the same stage?

SIR BRENT: Oh no. That would have been quite wrong. We both knew. We were far too similar you see. If one was giving his Hamlet the other would do his Henry. Of course we would always meet up afterwards. Lamb chops in the Savoy. Sparkling wine with spotted dick. The whole gang. Swap notes. Sign autographs. That sort of stuff.

TIM: Gielgud stayed here didn't he. At the Pink House?

SIR BRENT: How do you know that?

TIM: It's in Sir John's autobiography. Page 438.

SIR BRENT: Ah. You are referring to my Silver Jubilee Weekend Party in 1977. Yes, Johnny came. Along with half of London. As I recall he arrived on the Friday and left before breakfast on the Saturday. Tuppy Brimstone said something about Binkie Beaumont. Can't tell you what. Even now. Anyway, Johnny told Toad to organise an immediate departure. So yes. Johnny did stay. But only for one night.

TIM: Do you mind if I ask. Who was Toad? There's no reference to him in the Gielgud book.

SIR BRENT: Neither should there be. Toad was Johnny's Personal Assistant. He had nothing whatsoever to do with his public life.
Any gentleman must surely be allowed to draw the line somewhere.
Draw the distinction. Yes?

TIM: I see.

SIR BRENT: Yes. There's public and there's private. Ne'er the twain should meet.

He was a splendid chap Toad. Loyal to a fault. Did everything for Johnny. Right to the end.

TIM: Of course.
You love this Island don't you sir.

SIR BRENT: The Isle Of Wight. Oh yes. It's been more than a home. Or a haven. I suppose you could say it's been my mother. In a strange sort of way. Maybe my wife even. My sanctuary. It's...
People here are quiet. We keep ourselves to ourselves. The little things are far more important than the so-called big things. The stuff newspapers are interested in. The Tittle-tattle.

TIM: So you'll be staying here.

SIR BRENT: I shall die here. Hopefully in this chair. Chatting to someone pleasant such as yourself. Drinking a pink gin. If I'm lucky.

TIM: There's a reception this evening?


TIM: And a dinner.

SIR BRENT: I know. The Lord Mayor has been very kind.

TIM: You must be excited.

SIR BRENT: Excited! Ah yes. I remember.
No dear boy. Excited isn't the word. Content.
You do realise I don't know anybody any more.
They've all gone.

TIM: You're getting the Freedom Of The Island.
That makes you friends with everyone.

SIR BRENT: How terrifying.

TIM: Mmmm. You're not afraid of anybody are you?

SIR BRENT: No. Not any more.

TIM: Did you ever get stage fright?

SIR BRENT: Oh yes. Once upon a time.
I was always scared of what people might think.

TIM: But now you're not.

SIR BRENT: No. There's no point any more.
Time's moved on.
Those days are long gone..


You're coming tonight.

TIM: Me? You must be joking.
They always give two tickets to the Press.
One for the Editor and one for his wife.

SIR BRENT: I said you are coming.
I want you to come.
I want someone I can talk to.
I want you to be sitting there.
Beside me.

TIM: But..

SIR BRENT: No buts.
It's been decided.
Now be off with you.
Before I change my mind.


Can you drive?

TIM: Well yes as a matter of fact.

We'll take the Roller.
I take it you can drive a Phantom Rolls Royce?
Come back at seven.

TIM: But...

SIR BRENT: You've a date with a girl?

TIM: Oh no.
I haven't a girlfriend.

That's settled then.
Be here for seven.
Bring your toothbruth.


Friday, 1 April 2011

"Needle & Thread" - Letters From The Stoat Marriage

This is the story of a marriage. As revealed through the separate correspondence of a loving husband and wife.

Brenda Stoat has a ten-a-day letter writing habit and can usually be found sitting at her dining room table in 37 Acacia Drive Dorking complaining about something or other.

Meanwhile, upstairs in the back bedroom, her husband Ronald is doing exactly the same on his laptop:-


I am moved to complain most seriously about your vile monthly periodical 'The Complete Spanker' delivered to this household in error today via brown envelope. Imagine my shock to discover a private snap of myself, taken 30 years ago, included in the disgusting article you call 'Readers' Wives'. My only consolation is that I no longer resemble that innocent young woman in the bathtub. You should pray my dearest husband never finds out about this outrage.

Yours angrily
Brenda Stoat (Mrs)

Dear Lord Big Balls,

Let me congratulate you on your excellent ancient history feature 'Readers' Wives'. And thank you for including my modest contribution. I am in receipt of your cheque for £50.00 and look forward to next month's powerful modern history feature. I feel the 'Complete Spanker' provides a valuable service to our quiet suburban community.

Ron Stoat (62)

Dear Mrs Pomfroy

Please find enclosed our cheque for £25 as deposit for a two week stay on your caravan site in the isolated woodlands of Flenwynthllgollen in North Wales. This is the sort of holiday my husband and I look forward to. Total peace and quiet with just ourselves for company. Perfect bliss! We shall arrive on Tuesday fortnight.

Yours gratefully
Mrs Brenda Stoat

Dear Sir,

With reference to your advertisement for striptease artists in 'Totally Thai Tits'. I am a 62 year old retired decorator (references available) and active supporter of local wildlife. That said, I am currently seeking a new challenge and wonder if you have openings for experienced Wardrobe Staff in Bangkok. I am a single gentleman, prepared to relocate immediately.

Ron Stoat

Dear Sir,

May I draw your attention to the recent epidemic of sex offences in the Dorking area. I believe this has much to do with the so-called clothing commonly worn by young women locally. When will they realise that drawing attention to themselves with items such as lipstick, visible brassiere straps and the occasional showing of flimsy undergarments, merely converts them into targets for inappropriate advances. Despite leading an active life in every respect, I have never been bothered by perverts.

Yours ever
Brenda Stoat (Mrs)

Dear Madam

May I politely ask if there are any vacancies within your underwear department. As you are surely aware, many women select their underwear with a gentleman in mind. So perhaps some customers would welcome the honest opinion of an experienced Lingerie Selection Consultant such as myself.

Yours respectably

Ronald P Stoat

Dear Sir

I write to complain about your recent marketing campaign which I deem aggressive beyond belief. What on earth made you imagine my husband Ronald would be in the least interested in sampling three pairs of leather thongs from your new 'Naughty Lucy' range? I return them forthwith at your expense and trust you will learn your lesson.

Yours in exasperation

Brenda Stoat (Mrs)

Dear Sir

I wish to register a complaint about breast feeding facilities in the Dorking branch of your Supermarket chain. Why have you now confined these natural activities to your new Mother & Baby Suite? Frankly I miss the heartening sight of young mothers feeding their babies on the chairs on Aisle 9 (by the checkout tills). There's nothing rude about breast feeding in public.

Ron Stoat


I write to complain about your database. Why on earth do you presume to send your filthy periodical 'Totally Thai Tits' to number 37 Acacia Drive under cover of a plain brown envelope? Can't you understand there's nobody living here remotely interested in such vile pornography. Suppose my husband, Ronald, were to come across it! Kindly strike us off your list with immediate effect.

Brenda Stoat (Mrs)

Dear Sir,

I write to say how informative I found your article about Russian women seeking true love with men from the west. This is the sort of work our Ministry For Overseas Development should be doing. With reference to your list. May I draw your attention to 19 year old Oxana (blonde bombshell on page 96 column 5 second from the left). I believe we are ideally matched and would be obliged if you would forward her my full details, currently held on record.

Yours faithfully
Ron Stoat

Dear Doctor Mould

I write with bad news. Those pills you gave me have had little or no effect. My flushes have failed to subside. Even worse, the snakes I told you about are now appearing whenever I shut my eyes. Furthermore, I am starting to dream of telegraph poles and poplar trees. I can't take much more and am afraid I might eventually submit to the inevitable. Is it possible to increase the dose?

Yours gratefully
Mrs Brenda Stoat

Dear Sir,

What became of the leather thongs I ordered from your 'Naughty Lucy' range? Please forward them without further delay. On a separate issue, I too sympathise with the tribal people of the Andaman Islands. I found your article most informative. Particularly the photographs of naked females cleaning themselves in the river. The way extremely young girls mixed freely with older women was an astonishing revelation. Could we have lots more of this sort of thing.

Yours faithfully
Ron Stoat

Dear Father Brown

I'm sure my husband, Ronald, would be delighted to volunteer for bellringing lessons every Monday night until further notice. He'll be free to start next week.

Yours always
Mrs Brenda Stoat

Dear Mrs Lubbock

Please consider me for the vacant position of Female Shower Attendant at Dorking Swimming Baths. As an elderly married man of limited vision and no interest whatsoever in young ladies, I am an ideal candidate. I believe local girls would soon come to look upon me as a father figure. May I suggest I come for a trial session at 3.00 pm next Wednesday.

Yours sincerely
Ronald P Stoat Esq


I am not a complaining sort of person. But this time the Postage Department of your Company has gone too far. A junior clerk within your organisation still insists on sending a monthly copy of 'Private Wives' to this address. In spite of my 40 minute telephone conversation of 14-7-2011, when I assured the kind gentleman that my name was not Dora from Devon. Please now strike 37 Acacia Drive Dorking from the computer database of both Private Wives and 'Bosom Buddies'.

Brenda Stoat (Mrs)

Dear Headmistress

In respect of your advertisement for a Gym Instructor at St Mary's Convent School. I wonder if you would consider an all-rounder. I am an experienced Olympic Games coach who once prepared the Cambodian ladies indoor volleyball team. I also specialise in everything to do with the swimming pool. Particularly the breast stroke, in which my hands-on teaching methods have been recognised around the world. I'm confident your girls would soon appreciate having me around.

Yours faithfully

Ronald P Stoat

Dear Lord Big Balls

Following last month's outrage, why on earth have you sent me yet another edition of your vile periodical 'The Complete Spanker'? It is now on the fire together with your invoice. You are a despicable person and a disgrace to the House of Lords.

Yours etc

Brenda Stoat (Mrs)

Dear Big Don

Where is my copy of this month's issue of 'Private Wives'? My annual subscription of £52.99 was paid on June 1st as requested. Please check account of Dora From Devon and supply me ASAP with such back issues you neglected to send.

Yours in confidence
Ron Stoat

Dear Sir,

As Executive Producer of the Nine o'clock news, may I implore you to have a quiet word with every one of your female newscasters. Without exception nowadays, they find occasion to lean forward and expose the upper part of their chest. Whilst others have picked up the unseemly habit of continually crossing and uncrossing their legs, drawing attention to that most sensitive area of their anatomy. Things got so bad last night, I was forced to switch off and send my husband, Ronald, out to make tea!

Yours sincerely
Brenda Stoat (Mrs)

Dear TV Boss,

I wish to complain about newscaster Kate Silverton who does not answer my mail. As an employee of the BBC, I am prepared to accept she will never show me her breasts live on air. However, I have written to her privately on numerous occasions, enclosing a photograph of another woman's breasts which I believe to be similar in every respect. All I request is a simple yes or no answer that my theory is correct. Is that too much to ask?

Yours sincerely
Ron Stoat (62)

Dear Sir,

May I confirm that my husband, Ronald, and myself will be happy to attend your clinic next Wednesday at 11.00a.m to donate blood. Neither of us takes sugar with our tea and we are not fussy about biscuits. Two Shortbread or digestives will suffice.

Yours sincerely
Brenda Stoat (Mrs)

Dear Sir

Further to your advertisement in this week's Dorking Review, may I offer to donate sperm. I'll see you next Tuesday afternoon when you'll be welcome to as much as your nurse can get. Might I request Nurse Karen who I noticed when I checked you out. Or perhaps Sister Denise who looks to have a promising career within the local NHS.

Yours sincerely
Ron Stoat (62)

Dear Doctor Clackett,

I was planning to take my husband Ronald on a hill-walking holiday this autumn. Possibly in Yorkshire. Or maybe North Wales. However, he now tells me that you have strictly forbidden him to walk further than half a mile at a stretch. Furthermore, he now claims you have advised him to take a complete rest by himself on a beach somewhere in south east Asia. Might I ask you to arrange for a second opinion on all this.

Yours sincerely
Brenda Stoat (Mrs)

Dear Nature Lovers,

Further to your advertisement in this month's 'As Nature Intended', I wish to confirm that I'm keen to have a go. My wife and I haven't yet booked a holiday for this summer so we are definitely up for it. Brenda is an avid bird-watcher. Could you send her a list of what birds she might expect to see at your colony. In a separate brown envelope, could you send me photographic evidence of other sights I might expect to encounter. You know the sort of thing: pictures of your guests playing volleyball. Or leaning over a barbecue.

Yours sincerely
Ron Stoat (62)