Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3663 Set by Margaret Rogers

A hymn to the January sales.

Report by Ms de Meaner

A huge postbag and so many new names! Several announced, almost proudly I felt, that they had never entered before (huh!), and a Ross Elliffe added the footnote that he was "probably ineligible", as he was e-mailing from New Zealand. This echoes another e-mail I had recently from "ragarver22" (my reply came back marked "undeliverable"), who asked if residents of "the former colonies" were eligible. Anyone can enter, my doves. Anyone. £20 to winners; the vouchers go to Dobson & Wilcox.

Each medieval wall sconce,

Each set of poker dice,

Each quilted car seat cover

Is going at half-price.

Chorus: All things bright and beautiful

All cheap tat great and small:

Bargains knocked down crazily

To get shot of them all.

Boxed games called Midlife Crisis,

Alarms to fend off rape,

Leftover print editions

By Sue Macartney-Snape. (Chorus)

The piles of football diaries

With forewords by Geoff Hurst,

The Belgian chocolate chess sets

(Consume by Feb the first). (Chorus)

The chefs hats with your name on,

Red leatherette settee,

Wild Woman fake fur bed throws

With five-year guarantees. (Chorus)

Anne Du Croz

Adeste fideles, latte triumphantes,

Venite, venditio in emporium!

Carpe diem! Tempus edax rerum.

Chorus: Venite, celebramus!

Venite, congregamus!

Venite, aggeramus, debitum!

Experto, credite! Simpliciter signate!

Transacta non verba factum est,

Si monumentum requiris, circumspice!

(Venite)

Ecce! novus homo in pavemento fumat.

Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re.

Frigidus sed avidus, fenestram contemplat. (Venite)

Pashmina lurida, textilis luxuriosum.

Ergo de coloribus non est disputandum.

Vide, praeemptor, sine invidia! (Venite)

Natura abhorret vacuum exorbitum.

Reductio ad absurdum sine qua non.

Caveat emptor! Errare est humanum.

(Venite)

Adulescens, languidus et morosus,

Audit identitem in HMV.

Vade in pace! Satuis sic ad nauseam.

(Venite)

Virgo intacta, tristis sine mobile,

(Res ipsa loquitur, semper irritans)

Omnia, perpetuo, CCTV observat.

(Venite)

Marian Leslie

Amazing Sales! How sweet the sound

That saved me 50p.

I once had cash, but now I've found

A really cheap TV.

'Twas Sales that taught me how to spend

And Sales my purse relieved

Of every pound my mum would lend.

Yes she - poor wretch - believed!

In Sales I got a dozen pairs

Of half-price tartan socks

And trousers too - pink Crimplene flares

And thirty lovely frocks.

Through special offers, two for one,

I got my tenth guitar

And with an advantageous loan

I bought my nineteenth car.

The Lord has promised Sales to me.

My purchase power won't fail

When once again in January

They let me out the jail.

Helena Nelson

Park! I hear the cash-tills ring:

Knock-down tags on everything.

Quick before the urge is spent -

All down ninety-five per cent.

Credit cards in fingers pressed,

Put assistants to the test;

Feel the heel and press the hem:

"Christ! I must have one of them!"

Chorus: Park! I hear the cash-tills ring:

Knock-down tags on everything.

Priced by lunatics in-store -

Bargain buys and deals galore,

Lo! these discounts can't be true!

Fucksake, I'm first in the queue.

Here since six, and now it's noon -

Run from Virgin to Monsoon.

Everything, they say, Must Go:

Jesus Christ! the price is low! (Chorus)

Will Bellenger

And did those feet in ancient time

Pound across Harrod's marble floors?

And did the Holy Lamb of God

Get stuck in Gap's revolving doors?

And did the Countenance Divine

Use Switch to pay His bargain bills?

And was Jerusalem purchased here

At Selfridge's new online tills?

Bring me my Card of plastic gold:

Bring me my in-store Credit buyer:

Bring me my Purse: O notes unfold!

Bring me my Shopping Cart of fire.

I will not cease to push and shove

Each time the queuing system fails

Till I have bought Jerusalem

In England's January sales.

Dick Dobson & Andrew Wilcox

No 3666 Set by John Crick

How do you imagine Heaven to be? An exclusive club? Something like Center Parks? Does the old place need a revamp now the Pope has declared it open to non-Catholics? Try selling the attractions of the new millennium Heaven to the masses. Max 200 words and in by 8 February.

E-mail: comp@newstatesman.co.uk

This article first appeared in The fall of Mandelson

2001-01-29