Long Love Spike - an ode by Adrian Mitchell

(The great Spike Milligan will be 80-years-old this Thursday)

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Walnut panelling, gilded lions and cobras,

Flunkies in cloud-wigs and the greeny light

Of the Boardroom of the Death Star Line.

The Board - ensconced behind their horseshoe desk

Wearing straw bowlers, Old Estonian ties,

Pith suits and floral clock frocks,

Yes, Admirals of the BBC and Third World War Generals,

All the great and good octopuses of our time -

Stared down at him -

Spike, astride his golden bike.

They intravenously interviewed him,

Gave him the nth degree,

Extracted his heart and booted it round the room,

Took pot-shots at his brain with their 12-bored shit-guns,

Located the gentle jungle of his imagination

And zapped it with vintage napalm.

Spike simply clicked the heels of his Irish boots

And suffered and smiled and saluted

And when they said: You're Spike Milligan!

Answered: I know I am.

Now go and find out who you are.

Finally they gave him the job he wanted -

One-man band on Deck Z of TITANIC TWO -

Deck Z where the hopeless cases go,

Too poor to be peasants, too crazy to be insane,

The underbelly of the underclass

(Few of them claiming to be human beings).

Then Spike fitted cymbals to his inner knees,

Wired up a thumper of a drumkit to his heart,

A Piaf-tragic accordion to his lungs.

He welded a black trumpet to his gob,

Strung a Steinway across his shoulders,

Hung church bells on his ballocks and strapped to his bum

A Michaelangelo whoopee cushion.

Titanic Two was launched, as everyone knows,

And flaunted her way half-way across the ocean.

Way down on the rusty floor of Deck Z

Spike danced to his own wheezy, wonderful music

And the delinquent denizens of Z

Began to dance the Gorilla Gavotte,

The Billy-Goat Bump and the Zebra Zonk.

O then the bowels of Titanic Two began to shake

In the powerful grip of such musical Vindaloo ...

And there was a pop of a million rivets

And the steel walls flopped apart

And the waters came down

Like the wolf on the foldable ocean liner.

And yea, the inhabitants of Deck A,

Even the King of the World, James Cameron

And the Emperor of the Ether, John Birt

And all the other passengers and Oscars,

On A and every other deck from B to Y,

They went down gurgling to the green

And very photogenic bottom of the sea.

So how did Spike and the Deck Z creatures escape?

Instead of going down to Davy Jones

Playing Nearer My Dog To Thee,

Spike stripped off the bands of his one-man bandinage,

He brake that grand piano into planks,

Lashed them across the drums

And made a Giant Raft for his Deck Z friends.

They sailed away, powered by the whoopee cushion,

To land upon a penguin-happy iceberg,

Very well-stocked with Italian food, French wine

And copies of the Beano.

That crew shall sail the eighty seas

Until Spike cracks a joke so hot

That his iceberg guffaws and melts away

While all of us who love him sing in happy harmony:

O Milligan, sweet Milligan,

Our dentures feel that thrill again

As round the world we watch you fly

Like an immortal custard pie.

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