rue britannia

Liz? Rishi?
time for a quickie?
it’s your pay-per-view paparazzi
danke schon and mille grazie
try to look busy
we’ll be done in a jiffy
– LOVE what you’ve done to your cave in the city


corporate lawyers in power showers / soap themselves in the early hours / practising smiles and Bonnie Tyler ballads / dreaming of oligarchs and caesar salads

quick! johnson’s smiling so make your obeisance
he thanks you most affably for your patience
the money transferred without complications
so he’ll expedite your applications
actore non probante reus absolvitur
now DO fuck off and DON’T slam the door

holy shit n’guacamole!
where’s my cake so I can have it and eat it slowly?
in the favourite T I’ve had from new
the meek shall inherit the earth / if that’s alright with the rest of you

I’m new here
I just wanted to pass through here
I didn’t know you were supposed to queue here
isn’t this Dover?
the place where all the boats cross over?

whaddya mean, failure to launch?
more like a failure to lunch
sit the fuck down and blow the conch

But wait – here comes… MOGG
he’s written a frightfully elegant blog
the trick behind assets, bricks and mortar
is holding the stick and throwing the dog in the water

All rise:

Rue Britannia! Britannia rues the waves / Old Money never, never, never shall acknowledge the vast sums that were made from slavery / Hmm / almost there / the rhythm’s off but the meaning’s there / maybe the whole thing needs rewriting / it’s too downbeat, unexciting / we need something happy with a snappy refrain / we can sing together as we circle the drain

status update XX

I’m Mr Old Testament / adjusting my robes, questioning the experiment / out of touch, out of my element / high in the sky in my hipster beard and shit / finally admitting it / this is one unholy mess and I’m quitting it / having a messy, messianic fit / that’s me in the corner, losing my religion / the Cook’s gone crazy in the heavenly kitchen / losing His purpose / losing His focus / wondering what’s left to serve – plagues or locusts

I’m a butcher in Gucci, a gangster in spats / I’m Mikhail Mouse in Armani combats / fancy that? / no – not really / I mean that most sincerely / I’m tired of these unsolicited dictator pics / why are people still such gluttons / for autocrats posing with fingers on buttons? / bad boys in the media / political toxaemia / Putin the boot in to Wikipedia / rebranding Russian social media / Instagrim, TikCop, Erasebook, Twister / putting the bad in vlad and the misery in mister / the winters hard and cruel and slow / while Putin jigs like old Gepetto / flattening countries and torching ghettos / carving out his malign portfolio / Boris Johnson as Political Pinocchio / I’m a reeeeaalll boy / but who gets annoyed / when his nose grows so big he can’t avoid / everyone laughing when he waffles and rambles / his hair in a shambles / his Russian strings in such terrible tangles / he strangles / anyone so dim / to think of standing close to him

I’m an influencer pirate / swinging in for selfies at the latest riot / fifteen cops on a dead man’s chest / yo ho ho and a kevlar vest / access all areas with a pass marked press / in a skull & crossbones party dress / pouting in amazement / setting things up on the flaming pavement / for some molotov cocktail product placement

I’m the creature from the black lagoon / who believed the hype and rose too soon / now I’m lying like a love-lorn loon / in a witness-protection motel room / staring at the parking lot. howling at the moon / missing the swamp, the buzz of mosquitos / living on Love is Blind and microwave burritos

Because everything always comes with a price / don’t read the small print, don’t think twice / from hammers and sickles to stars and stripes / lighting up the sleepless city nights / with heavy duty explosive delights / Lucy in the sky with cluster bombs / medals of gold, silver and bronze / provisioned bunkers for neo cons / but in the end what’ll we have to show for it? / the collapse of civilisation as we know it / some tragic, patriotic pageant queen / taking one last selfie in a submarine / somewhere off the Philippines / as the ice cap melts / the statue of liberty tilts / and everyone runs around screaming on stilts / and there’s nothing left to say / except Oyeh! Oyeh! / welcome to the last great segue / humanity’s ultimate passing-out parade / where one day / it’s headlines and military displays / the next it’s wastelands and tardigrades

status update XIX

I’m Keir Carter / sponsored by royal museum charter / cramming down breakfast keen to get started / the workers superstitious & half-hearted / as he shakily breaks the seal on the tomb / and casts his torch about the gloom / wow! a Lyttle decorated room / chintzy as a dusty Blackpool ballroom / and lying in the centre / the focus of Keir’s desert adventure / the mummy of the Pharaoh Johnson / bougie as a straw topped Tutankhamen / and then some / lovingly bandaged in golden / wallpaper / stuffed with shredded red-top newspaper / snug in a matryoshka-style sarcophagus / ceremonial tweets backed-up in his oesophagus / which read like some kind of demented curse / but Keir’s read worse / he’s media savvy and well-rehearsed / he knows the hashtag to get the magic reversed

I’m a horror flick: The Spuds Have Eyes! / special effects derisory / parental advisory / explicit scenes with a vegetable peeler / realistic gardening procedures / DVD with special features / a blooper reel / with a surreal / clash / where Jason Statham goes to mash / the evil spud king / and the mash gets splashed across everything / the camera lens, the ceiling / Jason’s shoulders heaving / still not believing / he told his agent he’d do this shit / but still it’s a hit / sells quite a bit / so all things being equal / he thinks he’ll probably sign for the sequel

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch / considering my options, looking for scratch / swiping right on a primrose, natch / it’s a match / ten years later the bulbs are in bloom / and we’re finalising visiting rights on zoom

I’m a swingers’ party for internet trolls / fol-de-rol / memory sticks and keys in the bowl / man! / it’s my jam! / a junk free jamboree / I’m positively skipping through security / totally in my element! / everything VR and decadent / the cheetos and doritos universally excellent / mouthwash and baby wipes prevalent / once in a while it’s nice to be human / but when the reviews come out I’m fumin’ / they don’t like pleather onesies, I’m assumin’

I’m Captain Kirk / busting out my pants and shirt / ancient but just about credibly alert / phasers on stun, phones on divert / ready to boldly go and be cool / on a flaming dump of aviation fuel / singing the song he learned back at Star School / hey diddle diddle / Jeff B’s on the fiddle / his cock whazzed over the moon / the little dog laughed to see such fun / and the dish needed a year or two out to work on themselves

I’m a caesar salad, stabbed in the croutons by a breadstick / how prophetic / it’s so pathetic / you don’t know what to say / you awkwardly ad lib et tu souffle

(studio laughter)

okay that’s it – I’m written out, shot / poetry’s just typing and finding what you’ve got / sometimes it works and sometimes not / but hey – at least I upload a lot / the twisted poet that Twitter forgot / so, please do not adjust your glasses / everything changes, everything passes / city empires to weeds and grasses / the arctic melts and the ocean advances / meanwhile I’m done with all of that / not a literary lion but a wordle gnat / trapped in a glob of tree resin / fossilising over the next millennium / into a piece of lambent amber / gazing out of my yellow glazed chamber / trying to remember / whether my birthday was June or December / as a security guard yawns in the Geology centre

it’s twenty, btw

I don’t think there’s anything particularly sinister
that Eton has produced so many prime ministers
it’s not a factory with a neon sign
workers don’t file in respectfully at nine
to stand at a great big assembly line
picking from boxes of eyebrows and toeses
bags of hats, containers of noses
the finished product rolling off in a skip
ready to box-up, pallet wrap and ship

and as far as I’m currently aware
they don’t have a design department there
artists hunched over gleaming desks
sketching out the next grotesques
tall or short, in either sex
with managers arguing in the oaky boardroom
about excess stock in the old school storeroom
and having lots of heated quarrels
about wasting money on giving them morals

No. I think it’s simpler than that
and down to one depressing fact
the pupils are bred to be nonchalant
about taking whatever the hell they want
from public money to a butter croissant
Eton’s just the perfect environment
for growing kids with a sense of entitlement
who see the world as a peach for the taking
and ignoring all the mess they’re making

never mind how the country suffers
from this endless succession of Eton duffers
stomping and stinking up the place
wagging their fancy white fingers in your face
retiring to the Lords while we pay for their mistakes
the old school motto? May Eton flourish!
(which is why the country’s so malnourished)
Britain! A country of venerable institutions
(but very few Eton prosecutions)

round & round

Jacob Rees-Mogg is now Minister for Haughty Guffawing, Braying and Hooraying
Nadine Dorries is Secretary for Suspicious Swaying
Priti Patel has gone to Hell
with special responsibility for the Styx as well
Rishi Sunak is Minister for Tricks
Hancock – Minister for Pricks
Michael Gove has moved to Mordor
Liz Truss is Minister for Striding Down a Corridor
Dominic Raab is Lord Chancer and Secretary in a State
Sajid Javid is Minister for Stand in a Line Keep Quiet and Wait
Kwasi Kwarteng crossed himself and knelt down
to be Minister for Business, Energy & Industrial Meltdown
Nadhim Zahawi is Minister for Lunches with at Least Four Courses
half the budget for the heating of horses
but still at the head of this dreadful government
Clown in Chief of Sleaze & Befuddlement
The Right Dishonourable Boris Johnson
(and if he’s a Prime Minister I’m Gloria Swanson)

it’s not the building it’s the people in it

Boris has called for a Number Ten reset
like it’s the Churchill patterned tea set
that’s stinking up the cabinet
sorry but I’m not having it
it wasn’t the conference table or the parquet floor
that wheeled suitcases of wine through the big black door
cynically dismissing and ignoring
all the lockdown rules they’d been imploring
the rest of the country to follow
and if that wasn’t hard enough to swallow
stood up and lied about it to parliament
and it certainly wasn’t the cute glass ornament
that prorogued the joint and lied to the Queen
and it wasn’t that laser operated TV screen
that zoomed in to protect its old friend Owen
by cancelling the rules he’d so patently broken
and not one of the roses in the rose garden
stood up and gave a televised pardon
to Cummings when he drove to Barnard Castle
and I’m pretty certain it wasn’t the gravel
and it wasn’t the elegant grandfather clock
that got all handsy with Hancock
or the antique front door bell
that ignored all the bullying and kept Patel
it wasn’t the armchair or the walnut settee
that slipped millions to friends for PPE
or the portraits on the wall going up the stairs
who lobbied for companies in which they had shares
it wasn’t the salt and pepper shaker
that blew £840 on some gold wallpaper
or the fine white coving on the ceiling
that missed half a dozen COBRA meetings
it’s not the building or furnishings
that’ve been constantly squirming and skirmishing
or that presentation silver-tiled box of Scrabble
that slandered Starmer with a word about Saville

this isn’t Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
(although Gove’s a spit for Gaston at least)
no – it’s a public building – that’s it
you can’t blame the furniture one little bit
the only reset THAT place wants
is a much more direct and urgent response
a crew that are all hygienically equipped
to bag up ’em all up and toss ’em in a skip

the dancing johnson skipping rope song

Johnson, Johnson
lies and then some
he lies about this
he lies about that
he lies about the dancing
in his fancy flat

the coppers on the door
say ‘scuse our asking
mind that floor
don’t break with dancing

thanks says Johnson
that will do
here’s an invitation
just for you
so they dance all Easter
dance all Christmas
tell the papers
mind your business

isn’t that a party
Johnson says no
wasn’t there drinking
I don’t know
answer me truly
I cannot
Gray says coolly
this is what you got

you got

gin and tonic
wine and beer
vodka, prosecco
pizza from Dominos
rubbish says Johnson
that’s all fake
I only had a slice
of birthday cake

I told the country
that will do
dancing and drinking’s
not for you
do as I say
not as I do

so have a little vodka
shoot a little coke
knuckle down lockdown
don’t be woke
it won’t be long
before we’ve all gone broke
the people spoke
can’t you take a joke
give the Dick a knighthood
Starmer a poke

so bless our country
prank the queen
count how many scandals
there have been


the light is falling
the hour’s late
someone’s calling
with an update

I hope you like my skipping song
I won’t stop skipping till Johnson’s gone

keep your head down

keep your head down and do your bird
never mind what you think you heard
about who did what when and with who
it’s got absolutely nothing to do with you
so quit it
zip it tight
empty your mind, sleep better at night
because there’s nothing you can do about it
the truth’s subjective
you’ll be more effective
if you learn to live without it
and if it hurts your conscience hide it don’t flout it
or fuck off and join some hair shirt holy orders outfit
because who really gives a shit
you’re not from round here are you
button it and don’t argue
you do what you have to do
to get through it
keep shtum, don’t pursue it
it’s only you you’re hurting
hey – I’m not the one needs converting
I’m a fully paid-up member
of the yeah mate whatever
so act clever
even if you’re not
buckle up or you’ll lose the plot
no-one’s coming to offer you deliverance
nothing you do makes the least bit of difference
listen, I’m being genuine
knuckle down and settle in
it’s all about the endorphins not the adrenaline
save your dumps for the shitter
and don’t waste your time on twitter

Macboris  Act IV Scene I

The dark garden at Number 10. In the middle, by a table of wine and cheese, a boiling cauldron.
Enter the three Tories

First Tory
Thrice the brinded Gray hath mew’d.

Second Tory
Thrice and once the Murdoch whined.

Third Tory
Carrie cries “‘Tis time, ’tis time.”

First Tory
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d headlines throw
Cummings, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

Double, double, Tory trouble;
Starmer burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Tory
Fillet of a Sunak snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of Gove and toe of Mogg,
Wool of Schapps and tongue of Raab
Javid’s fork and Pritti’s sting,
Dorries’ leg and Kwarteng’s wing,
For a cabinet of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double, Tory trouble;
Starmer burn, and cauldron bubble.

Third Tory
Scale of Coffey, tooth of Truss
350 million from the side of a bus
And from the ravin’d Peppa Pig Park
The Crest of Eton digg’d i’ the dark,
WhatsApp texts from profiteers
Gall of Farage, Stratton’s tears
Silver’d in the media clips
Nose of Dowden, Arcuri’s lips
Brexit signed with fingers cross’d
Ditch-deliver’d by Lord Frost
Make the gruel at any cost
Add thereto add some red wall rebellion
And half a well-chopped Spanish onion.

Double, double, Tory trouble;
Starmer burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Tory
Cool it with a tycoon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

song from the animated classic Backbencchio

with apologies to Disney & everyone else…

A Tory’s life for me
A slap on the back from the old PM
Who’s calling in a favour again

A Tory’s life for me
A million bucks for a box of masks
That no one checks and no one asks

A Tory’s life is fun
A crate of wine and a plate of cheese
Wads of cash for consultancies

The Tory life’s okay
Offshore tax and expenses frauds
Executive seats on company boards
Fingers in things that no-one records
Enjoying our juicy and just rewards
Snug as a bug in the House of Lords

A Toooooory’s