Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3606 Set by Margaret Rogers

We asked for poems on the Internet.

Report by Ms de Meaner

A largish postbag and a satisfying number of never-before-seen names - perhaps due to the subject matter. Welcome Miranda Davies ("after years of reading: a first attempt"), Jayne Astley, Andy Wilcox, H M Hogan, John Whitworth and Ian Stirling. There were a few other names I thought I didn't recognise, but wasn't sure. You, too, are welcome.

I have had quite a few chatty letters this week, which included an e-mail from a comper, whose name I will never tell, who has written to warn me against a certain class of entrant: "I hope you are confining entries to those compers who do actually surf the net, unlike Ian Birchall, who still uses carrier pigeon." No, no, no. Not carrier pigeon. A nice postman brings it. And, very acceptably, it is at least typed. Unlike some.

The best this week were parodies, but hell, why not. Longfellow, Henry Reed and Burns are OK by me. And a double dactyl, too! What could be finer? £15 to the winners, hon menshes to Gordon Watson, Will Bellenger and El Basilio. The bottle goes to David Silverman. And get better soon Avigdor Cannon, who entered, he tells me, from his hospital bed. What dedication!

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday,

We had hourly e-mailings. And tomorrow morning,

We shall have what to do after logging. But today,

Today we have the World Wide Web. The Internet

Is a bag of tricks, a superhighway with great features,

Today we have naming of e-parts.

This is the V-modem plug-in. And this

Is the SuperView Browser, whose use you will see

When you pay an ISP. And this is the Encryption Key,

Which in this case you have not got. The upgrades

Cost more if you're running Windows, unless they're bundled,

Which in your sad case they are not.

This is the search engine, which scouts around the web

And comes up with really weird sites. And please do not let me

See anyone using Gophers. They are now quite redundant.

Let us now go to www dot parts dot comp.

John O'Byrne


Microsoft Network Com

Offers free e-mail to

Anyone: who,

Choosing a password quite


Finds that the post has got

Lost in the blue.

Andy Wilcox

Eric, many times a grandad,

Twice-divorced, alone in Pittsburg,

E-mailed Eva, stuck in Vilnius:

(She who met him in a chatroom;

She who shared his taste in websites

Dedicated to old movies,

News sites, bookstores with cut prices,

Sites with gossip on the royals)

He was coming out to see her!

Eva, buxom and ambitious

Scanned her photo, sent it to him;

Knew she'd never get a Green Card,

So she pinned her hopes on marriage.

Oh the romps in hotel bedrooms!

Yet another silver surfer

Hooked and landed while online.

Anne Du Croz

There are reams of dreary conspiracy theories,

Out-of-focus photos of Elvis alive,

Websites where geeks debate seventies sci-fi,

Sites where back-bedroom pornography thrives.

Every ism, every wasm, every snake-oil religion,

All churning out babble, building Babel anew,

There's ologies, osophies, alien abductees,

Fraternities of perverts typing deeds they daren't do.

Vast enough to pander to every obsession

From PCs to ETs, calling all points between,

The Internet dignifies our various insanities,

But insanities shared only seem less extreme.

Adrian Fry

Wee sleeket, click-it cannie beastie -

Oh, what power lies in thy breastie!

Of a' the schemes of mice and men,

There's nothing that tha' dinna ken.

A' the gossip, bickerin' brattle,

A' the news and a' the prattle,

From bank and brae and croft and glen -

There's nothing that tha' dinna ken.

Auld men, wee bairns and bonnie lassies,

At haem or school or evening classes,

Sod tha' haemwork, dinna fret -

Doonload a' o'er tha' Internet.

Should auld acquaintance ae forgot

Tha' canna brang to mind?

Nae dinna fret, nae troosers wet,

For the sak of gang on-lyne.

David Silverman

No 3609 Set by Leonora Casement

The performance artist Jordan McKenzie was dismissed from Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education after complaints were received about a film of him dancing naked round a pig's heart. Some students felt "a more gradual introduction to his work would have been better". Describe "a more gradual approach" suitable for these nervous students. Max 200 words by 17 December.


This article first appeared in the 06 December 1999 issue of the New Statesman, My night with Mad Frankie Fraser