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.
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Universities aren't working us hard enough, say undergraduates
- 2 Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Strictly Come Dancing 2014 results: Steve Backshall and Ola Jordan sent home
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
British culture 'flatlining' as funds dwindle, says academic
Tom DeLonge compares streaming music to killing elephants
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage from Lana Del Rey rape video
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services