Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3623 Set by Margaret Rogers and Leonora Casement

You were asked (as a result of a recent World Book Day poll of the nation's favourites in which Roald Dahl and William Shakespeare came top and bottom respectively) to send in a Roald Dahl short story rewritten by the bard himself or to do it the other way around.

Report by Ms de Meaner

Excellent. And I allowed you lots of latitude on how much fiddling with the plot you were allowed to do, especially those who sent in the Dahls. Hon menshes to D A Prince, Will Bellenger, Carla Silverman (aged 14), Fahmeda Choudury (year 10) and Nelma de la Rosa (year 10). As you can see, the young ones are nipping at your heels. £15 to the winners; the bottle of champers goes to David Silverman.

Compers' letters. First the good news: our regular comper Adrian Fry, it has been reported to me by John O'Byrne, has just won a nationwide competition on Radio 4's Broadcasting House on Sundays. (John himself came in 356th.) Now the bad, which also concerns the unlucky John O'Byrne. George Cowley has written in to point out that John's spelling in comp 3621 - acronyms of famous people's names - left a little to be desired. He spelt Des Lynam with an "h" and, which clearly added fuel to the fire, then won the champagne. And we didn't notice. Whoops.

Wonka by William Shakespeare

To sell or not to sell, - that is the question:-

Whether to maintain the saccharine ent'prise

With its retinue of Oompa-loompas blue

Or to invite the vulpine asset strippers

And by surrender lose them? To sell - to work

No more; and in roup to lose the Wonka plant

And choc'late flow - my very sinew and sap

My afflatus transmuted to bitter ash

Ay there's the rub. For without Willie Wonka,

What's left for the world's bantlings to enjoy?

This prompts me pause. King Tony's counsel points -

A Third Way for any dilemma can be found

A route to forego blue friends' contumely.

Unearth an heir to bear the Wonka burden,

I'll play a game of chance, let the stars decide

Five candidates for this office to be found

Each one tested to betray my sacred trust,

The true golden boy to take up the fardel

Of factory, artisans, sorcery and

Dream. Perchance a dream that will a boon out-turn

So now to the mechanics of this pregnant notion

We have a coxcomb of chancy to conspire

Take the Globe and here's a pin to stick it

One will win my gilded golden ticket. [Exit]

Robert Ireland

Romeo and Juliet by Roald Dahl

Juliet Catapult was thirteen, in Year 9, and not what grown-ups call a "good little girl". She sat on her balcony, pulling tongues at the American tourists. Ever since she had mixed superglue into Monty Mintyglue's toothpaste, the Mintyglues and the Catapults had been deadly enemies, as Thibbles the cat had tragically discovered. Now, Romeo Mintyglue was not a "good little boy" either, although Juliet rather liked him. She thought he was so good, she named him twice. One day, Juliet ran away to the Big Friendly Friar and told him if she couldn't be with Romeo Romeo then she'd rather marry an Oompa-loompa. The Friar said: "Don't worry, I have a secret plan and a clever trick!" Unfortunately the plan was not terribly clever and the marvellous medicine he gave her was not terribly marvellous either. In fact, it was awful! Juliet began to grow . . . and grow . . . and GROW until she was standing 2,000 feet above Verona. "Romeo Romeo," she cried! "Don't drink . . . !" But it was too late. "Mmmm, delicious," said Romeo Romeo as he turned green, then bright red, swelled up into a GIGANTIC squelchy tomato and finally exploded. BANG! That night, all Verona dined on pizza.

David Silverman

So when his wife said there would be no more bedtime treats until he killed the King, Macbeth marched off and stabbed Duncan to death. This made a terrible mess and produced an awful lot of blood - in fact, several buckets of the stuff. But Lady Macbeth said that was no problem. Three minutes with a squeegee and a miracle cleaner called Squish, which she'd seen advertised on television, and no one would be any the wiser. Except Duncan, but then he was dead. "Lucky chap," thought Macbeth. For, despite that very nasty experience, Duncan's troubles were all over, while Macbeth's were just beginning, what with the nightmares and strange hallucinations and having to murder his best friend - though admittedly that was arranged though an agency. Being King, he soon decided, was not all it was cracked up to be, especially when most of the nobility emigrated to England. The thane-drain annoyed Macbeth no end, and he threw a fit of the sulks. Then his wife was sent to a funny farm, and the nobles returned, disguised as a plantation of fir trees. Such lack of sportsmanship was enough to upset anyone.

Watson Weeks

No 3626 Set by Leonora Casement

I have been reminded of a comp we set in the early Eighties. Let's do it again. We want the first lines of a well-known novel that would destroy it: "Once upon a time there were four little rabbits - Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter - and very delicious they were too." As many goes as you like by 27 April.

E-mail: comp@newstatesman.co.uk

This article first appeared in The New Statesman Essay - The rise of the ergonarchy

2000-04-17