The Weekly Muse
Saturday 24 April 1999
To warn that summer's coming
And rattles on the skylights
A syncopated drumming
As glistening in the gutters
The hailstones fuse together
The Devil's own confetti
At the marriage of the weather.
The sixth of May approaches
And the politicians wait
While the dog of devolution
Gnaws the ancient bones of state
As a ghostly Roman soldier
Who is haunting Hadrian's Wall
On a wet and windy evening
Hears a Pictish warrior call:
"So Gordon Brown has done it
Stemmed SNP advances
But six Scots in the Cabinet?
He couldn't take the chances
Though miracles allowing
If Labour seats should fall
The way the mood's been lately
We might rebuild yon wall."
"A good idea," the Roman said
"With rising tax no doubt
You'd need to keep your people in
More than to keep us out."
With dentists on the NHS
More rare than dung of rocking-horse
Britannia's teeth are in a mess
No prize for guessing why of course
Or when it was the rot set in
Or who was in the driver's seat
And sacrificed free dental care
To boast a better balance sheet.
But nice to hear Rab Butler's thoughts
Endorsed, if not exhumed, of late
As Peter Lilley praised in speech
The virtues of the welfare state
And pledge of funds to keep it safe
For people of the poorer sort.
Let's have a clack of blackened teeth
And demonstrate our full support:
So fiddle on, Dave Swarbrick
Though poorly, not deceased
Who found his own obituary
Was premature at least.
But most musicians know this
Although it goes unsaid:
Miss two nights in the taproom
Your mates all think you're dead.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant