THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Oct 13) Cautionary Tales

Cautionary Tales for Children: Designed for the Admonition of Children between the ages of eight and fourteen years is a 1907 children’s book written by Hilaire Belloc. There is a long tradition of ‘Naughty Children’ verses designed to terrify youngsters, the grand-daddy of them being the rather too frightening German collection Struwwelpeter. Belloc’s are far more…

Details

Fiddling about

I’m generally a fairly sanguine chap but occasionally I read something that makes my blood boil. The excellent BBC Music Magazine has just published another of its Greatest of All Time polls. These polls always cause controversy and passion – it’s their raison d’etre – but they do provide a bit of harmless fun and…

Details

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Sept 13) Jabberwocky

  JABBERWOCKY Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-98) is known to the whole world by his pen name Lewis Carroll. This poem is read by Alice in the early part of his novel Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871), the successor to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The first verse was actually written years earlier in…

Details

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Aug 13) My Favourite Things

MY FAVOURITE THINGS from The Sound of Music  Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens, Brown paper packages tied up with strings, These are a few of my favourite things. Cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels, Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles, Wild geese that…

Details

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (July 13) ‘How they Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix’

How they Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix Robert Browning (1838)  Browning wrote this in 1838 while on a sea voyage from London to Trieste. The incident it describes is fictional but refers to the (real) Pacification of Ghent in 1576, an historical treaty of such political complexity that I can’t be bothered…

Details

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (June) Men of Harlech

MEN OF HARLECH Music c.1794, Words: various versions.   Some say the words refer to the siege of Harlech Castle which lasted from 1461 to 1486 – the longest in British history; others say it refers to an earlier shorter siege of the Castle in 1408. Anyway, lyrics were added some four decades after the…

Details

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (May) How to get on in society by Sir John Betjeman

How To Get On In Society by Sir John Betjeman (1958) This delicious mockery of the nouveau-riche British middle-class is spot on. Betjeman has, it seems, made a note of all the pretentious vocabulary he has ever heard used by the likes of Mrs Bouquet and put them into the mouth of a (presumably) female…

Details