A midsummer day's ring interrupts the idyll of the king

`Yea, even the cunning pasta in its myriad shapes Cannot suffice to fight against my duty'
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FROM TIME to time I have brought you extracts from that fabulous lost Shakespeare play The History of King Tony, or New Love's Labour Lost, detailing the bumpy rise and rise of King Tony of Britain, and I am often asked if there is more where that came from. There certainly is, as follows...

The scene is somewhere in Tuscany. Enter King Tony, wearing a broad smile and broad pair of shorts, together with his Queen and men-at-arms.

Tony: Come Queen, and find your ease upon this


This is a lovely stretch of sward, where we

May stretch our tired limbs and take our rest.

A busy life it is upon the throne,

But now and then a king must be alone.

Cherie: Alone? Call this alone? Then who are these

Five silent men accompanying us,

Built like gorillas from the Afric jungle?

T: They are my bodyguards, as well you know.

C: To guard your body from what pressing danger?

What enemy creeps upon us through the grass? Are you afraid of rivals here in Italy?

Thinkst thou Duke Gordon-Brown will find you here

And strike you down, or that Lord Prescott might

Initiate some plot to have you slain

And mount the throne he dearly wished was his?

T: No, no, my love, I fear them not at all!

C: Then tell your hulking men to keep away.

Let us have at least one private day!

T: It is not my own wish, dear heart, that we

Should have this level of security.

From earliest times it has been the thing

To be close guarded, when one is a king,

By men with walkie-talkies, ID passes,

Badly hidden guns and dark, dark glasses.

A ringing noise is heard. Several of the men-at-arms leap to their feet, whip out guns and shoot wildly. King Tony produces a mobile phone.

T: Nay, stay, sweet gentles, do not be alarmed!

It is my mobile phone! We are not harmed !

C: Out, out, damned telephone! For it has ways

To drag us early from our holidays!

King Tony listens intently to the phone, then rises. T: Alas, my Queen, the sun that bids us laze,

The red, red wine that warms our English blood,

Yea, even the cunning pasta in its myriad shapes,

Cannot suffice to fight against my duty.

C: And that is what?

T: To go straight back to England,

Where Fenian rebels have caused unearthly


Upon the streets of Omagh, up in Ulster.

At least, I think it's Omagh. The line was bad.

C: But will it help? How can you be of aid

Merely by striding through the Irish crowd

And shaking hands with everyone you meet?

I have seen you seen smile, and nod, and weep,

Until the cameramen did have their fill

Of swooning shots of you, in grief, full face;

And very well you do it too, right BAFTA-style,

Yet must I ask again, how can it help?

Stay here, my lord, in Tuscany, right here!

And bring your family, not the Irish, cheer!

T: I wish I could, sweet one, I wish I could.

But I am told by Alastair on the line

That Bill, the King of the Americas,

Is winging his royal way even now

To Ireland, to appear a man of peace

And steal my thunder while I sunbathe here.

I hate him!

C: Hate King Bill, your older brother?

Hate the man whom you do oft embrace?

T: I am a friend to him as the sun to the moon.

I hardly know him. Oh, yes, side by side,

We often stand for portrait opportunities

And smile and wink and nod. But after that

He forgets my face, my name, my everything.

I love him not. I hate him very much.

And now he flies to Belfast in my absence

To reap the praise that should be mine by right.

C: For this you'd sacrifice a fortnight in the sun?

T: To be the Irish man of peace? I would!

I'd give the earth to be called King Tony the Good. They exeunt slowly, on their way back to England. From behind a tree, whence he has been watching them, comes the Duke of Livingstone.

Ken: When I am voted Mayor of London Town,

I'll bring this puffed up fellow crashing down!

But no one must know that I was ever here!

A bodyguard returns to retrieve a walkie-talkie and sees the Duke of Livingstone.

Bodyguard: Fancy seeing you, red Ken! What cheer! Exeunt severally.

More of this cultural milestone soon.