Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3577 Set by Harry Cohen MP

We asked for verses supporting your candidature for the post of Millennium Poet. (Sadly, the poet was announced before your poems could be seen.)

Report by Ms de Meaner

Now, now. The instructions were to write something supporting your candidature for this highly sought-after post. Those who sent in pieces about the millennium were condemned out of hand. Those who sent in doggerel a la Pam Ayres got pretty short shrift. I liked John O'Byrne's title ("Ozymandelson"), although the poem underneath was a bit slight. Hon menshes to Will Bellenger, Mary Holtby, Eric Swainson, Gerard Benson, Ian Birchall, Chas F Garvey, Frank Dunnill and D A Prince. £15 to the winners. The bottle goes to Basil Ransome-Davies.

We have received a letter from a regular, Susan Therkelsen, who has noticed that the moment Tesco started sponsoring the comp, her branch in Weybridge, Surrey, stopped selling the New Statesman and started selling Another Magazine instead. Immediately she leapt into action, writing to the manager with her complaint. She received the following: "I have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of your suggestion - that we supply the New Statesman - to our buyer at Head Office. Your idea will be taken into consideration, along with any others we have received at our next review." Many thanks, Susan.

The elms of Surrey nobly stand

In England's royal, historic land.

ensign keep diadem

lanyard arctic roll throne

castle rod panoply

In April arrives

The real birthday, and in June

The official one.

(You want pentameters, and verse that rhymes?

No prob: a poet laureate serves the times.)

When the bastards get me down

with their great hairy knobs and

their farting

and their addictions to beer and football

I think of Xena

or the Queen Mother and

it heals me.

Of course a pinch of satire may contrive

Heroically to keep my wit alive

And, while I play the courtly public role,

Help save my proley, honest, northern soul.

Cattle in emerald fields

raise fibreglass horns in salute.

I and I not fraid fi work

give us da job, bitch

Basil Ransome-Davies

I see New Labour, New Britain. New Millennium.

New Deal. New Vision. New inclusiveness.

I foresee a new keeper for United next season.

I anticipate new series beginning in the autumn,

new websites, new channels, new news, newness eternal.

I imagine new ways to use a truffle, new recipes for polenta.

On the side, I read the New Statesman.

I accept the necessity for new rules for refugees and immigrants.

I wonder at the new, bigger bar, extra peanuts!

I await the new single by Geri Halliwell, she's lovely.

New to the neighbourhood? Get switched on

to new products, new leisure styles.

New traditions? I'm the first to revere them.

I admire our new non-regal monarchy, it's so new.

And the Dome? you can't get newer than that.

It's really new, so new it's yet to be,

like the new laureate.

G M Davis

I am the very model of a new millennial poetess;

I've written ladette limericks and poems praising coitus;

My lines in celebration of the Beckham-Posh Spice nuptials

Were printed in the Sunday Sport in stanzas of two syllables;

I've scribbled loads of facile odes on Internet pornography,

Colonic irrigation and my intimate geography,

On silicone implanting and the management of cellulite,

(The couplet on the chemistry of collagen was hell to write).

In Channel 5 productions of my racier material

To pass as underclass I feign an accent estuarial;

At readings of my poetry I set my Wonderbra alight,

(It gets a lot of coverage on Rupert Murdoch's satellite).

I've published trendy triolets in rhyming slang and gangsta-rap,

(My agent's sold translation rights for Urdu, Iroquois and Lapp);

I'm sponsored by Monsanto to endorse their GM soyabread;

My Limehouse loft has featured in a five-page Hello! photospread.

I'm currently employed composing jingles for the Femidom;

My verse on giving birth to octuplets appears on CD-Rom.

In short, in matters trivial, postmodern or gratuitous,

I am the very model of a new millennial poetess.

Nick MacKinnon

No 3580 Set by George Cowley

Comp winner David Silverman (pretending to be Ms de Meaner) wrote: "We have started to compile a Comper's Profile of most of you." We'd like a profile of a typical comper (not necessarily of anyone in particular, unless you feel inspired). Max 200 words and in by 27 May.


This article first appeared in the 17 May 1999 issue of the New Statesman, The NS Essay - A culture of pretence