Friday 31 December 1999
Perfect as the name may seem
For something flakey, cold and mixed
This poem is not about ice-cream
But now the wine is duly poured
Before the vintage changes name
Come charge your glass in equal portions
Fear and wonder, dashed with shame.
In January, cold and damp
Beside a nibbled Norfolk coast
A henge of gnarled trees appeared
A four-millennia ancient ghost
In spite of pleas to leave it be
And let the sea reclaim its own
The diggers and the hard-hats came
To take it to some safety zone.
And thus began a muddled year
Of trying to fix what wasn't broke
While obdurately leaving be
Those things which bother normal folk.
Like transport. Buses, cars and trains
The nuts and bolts of A to B
Which stall more spanners in their way
Than trying to shift an ancient tree
And Prescott, like a boy who'd got
A train-set and Scalextric kit
All jumbled up in one big box
Could never make the pieces fit.
Before we knew it, Spring charged in
A roll of drums, a tally-ho!
The Lion was woken by the row
And blundered into Kosovo
Confused and groggy from his kip
And only half-prepared to fight
He watched the human lava slip
Down mountain passes day and night
And when the cost was reckoned up
And fragile peace secured the day
The words of Brecht still rang as true:
"Like love, War always finds a way."
Awards: A "Duke" for royal tact
Hmm... wonder who that's going to?
The "Widdecombe" for showbiz nous
And how to work a passport queue
The prizes for the next three boys
Detention, housepoint loss, disgrace
To Aitken, Archer, Hamilton
For first-rate fiction in each case.
The "William Hague" to William Hague
For such bad luck it wasn't fair
The "What's This Global Warming John?"
To Mrs Prescott and her hair
The "Murdstone" Education Prize
For propagating pre-school gloom
To Mr Woodhead and the team
For Learning Targets In The Womb
Nostradamus blew it big style
With his Armageddon tips
Overshadowed late in summer
Literally, by the eclipse.
In the end, the year surrendered
To the Net and mobile phone
Ninety Nine. Mwah! Gonna miss U.
Melted. Like the ice-cream cone.
TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies
Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Kate Moss: Previously unpublished nude photo revealed by Mert and Marcus
- 3 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 4 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 5 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
The 9 rules every Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon had to follow are wonderfully pedantic
Toy Story 4: Pixar promises a romcom storyline 'separate' from the much-loved trilogy
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'