Lord Camelot wins the lottery

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Today I am bringing you another extract from my new opera, The Phantom of the Lottery, which - being the first-ever opera about the National Lottery - is designed to convince lottery ticket purchasers that money spent on opera is not wasted.


The scene is the opulent headquarters of Camelot, whose gold-filigreed towers can be seen from many miles away, with the proud Camelot slogan flying on banners: "Buy a ticket, sucker!" In the great hall of Camelot Towers, Lord Camelot is striding up and down, dictating notes to his trusty assistant, Bunting.

Lord Camelot: Take a memo to the Prime Minister, Bunting: "Dear John, I have been thinking seriously about your suggestion that we at Camelot might improve the image of the National Lottery, and we have the subject constanty under review."

OK, Bunting, read back what I have said so far.

Bunting: Yes, your lordship. "Dear John Major, You gave us the franchise to run the National Lottery and there is nothing you can do about it now, so you can go and whistle in the wind for all I care."

Lord Camelot: Is that what I said just now, Bunting?

Bunting: No, but it is what you meant, your lordship.

Lord Camelot: Maybe you are right. You are a curious young fellow, Bunting. Tell me more about yourself and your background.

Bunting: I never knew who my parents were, Lord Camelot.

Lord Camelot: Didn't you ever think of asking them?

Bunting: I never had the chance. I grew up in an orphanage, my lord.

He sings:

Oh, you've heard of single parents

But I was a single boy,

No mother and no father

And precious little joy.

No uncles and no aunties

No sign of a family tree,

You don't get aunties and uncles

In a no-parent family.


In the lottery of life

I drew a blank card, Oh!

Marked "No mother or father

- Go to Dr Barnardo".

Lord Camelot: That will do, Bunting, that will do! It's bad enough having to give money to opera without having people stomping round my office breaking into song.

Bunting: Do you disapprove of opera, my lord?

Lord Camelot: I neither approve nor disapprove. It is a product like any other. You might as well ask me if I disapprove of ice-cream. I will say only this: if I ran Camelot along the same commercial lines as they run the Royal Opera House, we would be bankrupt by now.

Bunting: Odd, is it not, how many organisations beginning with "Royal" are in constant need of subsidy? The Royal Household, Royal Cavalry, the RSPCA, the RPO, the ...

Lord Camelot: That is very true, Bunting. And almost everything starting with "National" makes pots of money.

Incidentally, do you have a mole on your left buttock?

Bunting: No, sir. Why?

Lord Camelot: I just thought you might be my long-lost son, that's all.

Bunting: How extraordinary, sir. Do you have a long-lost son with a mole on his buttock?

Lord Camelot: I don't know. It's possible. Anything is possible in opera. But then anything is possible in the National Lottery as well.

Bunting: Spare me the sales talk, Lord Camelot. You and I know better than that.

Lord Camelot: Don't you believe in the lottery, Bunting?

Bunting: No, sir, and neither do you. If you did, you would buy a ticket. But you never do.

Lord Camelot: No need to, Bunting; as head of Camelot, I win every week!

He breaks into song:

Every Saturday of the year

All through Britain you can hear

Lottery tickets being binned

Scratchcards blowing in the wind,

The sound of wailing everywhere,

Grief and moaning in the air,

Punters saying: "Well, it's not me.

I wonder who on earth it can be?

Who has scooped the pot this week?

Who has hit a lucky streak?

Who's become a millionaire?

It isn't me and it isn't fair.

It's no fun. It's no joke.

I wonder who's the lucky bloke?"

Dear British punters, can't you guess?

Who wins every weekend? Yes!

It's me! Lord Camelot, that's who!

Raising two fingers, saying "Stuff you!"

Scooping in the whole jackpot,

Refunding some, but not a lot!

More of this disgusting opera some other time, perhaps.