Quis? Ego

~ on the anointing of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

So what if it was just a drunken dare
Quis? Ego! Made at Eton long ago
I dub thee Boris of the Golden Hair
Servus, servum, servi, servo, servo
So what if afterwards they went to town
and ordered tiny sparrows stuffed inside
six rare exotic birds and chased it down
with virgins’ tears in mouths so open wide
one could believe designed to fit the poor
in at such times there are no partridges
Amo! Amas! Deus! Deum! and more
Dom Perignon! To Boris! Boris is
The Chosen One! So long ago, the dare
At Eton, or more probably, elsewhere

© Gail Foster 24th July 2019

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Oh God, It’s The Conservatives

Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
Dear, must we have them round for tea?
They’re such a shifty bunch of spivs
Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
As slimy as and armed with shivs
For stabbing those who disagree
Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
Dear, must we have them round for tea?

Oh God, it’s Johnson and McVey
and Sayid Javid. He’s a cock
And Gove and Raab have come to play
Oh God, it’s Johnson and McVey
I’m frightened. Make them go away
Be quiet and ignore the knock
Oh God, it’s Johnson and McVey
and Sayid Javid. He’s a cock

Oh God, they’ve seen us. Gove is at
The window waving. Now we’re fucked
Coee! Says Sayid. Rat a tat!
Oh God they’ve seen us. Gove is at
The door with Andrea, and that
Is Johnson with his shirt untucked
Oh God, they’ve seen us. Gove is at
The window waving. Now we’re fucked

Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
Too late to stop them coming in
And cutting lines up with their shivs
Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
All bullshit and superlatives
Lock up your daughters and the gin
Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
Too late to stop them coming in

© Gail Foster 11th June 2019

 

Parliaments of the Absurd

Disappointment? Disbelief?
Dismay? Disgust? Is there a word
Like Weltzschmerz to describe the grief
The disappointment, disbelief –
As if a word would give relief
A’s for Arseholes and Absurd
Disappointment, disbelief
Dismay, disgust – is there a word?

The Emperor! How bright his crown
Is shining in the blinding light!
There’s unicorns upon his gown!
The Emperor! How bright his crown!
All hail! We follow him to town
(‘Dear God, he’s got his cock out!’ ‘Quite’)
The Emperor! How bright his crown
Is shining in the blinding light!

There are no words, it seems to me
Analogy will have to do –
A piss up in a brewery
An Emperor, who seems to me
To have his cock out – do you see
The tumbleweed and smell the poo?
There are no words, it seems to me
Analogy will have to do

Disappointment? Disbelief?
Dismay? Disgust? There is no word
Like Weltzschmerz to describe the grief
Distrust, disgust, and disbelief –
There are no words to give relief
In Parliaments of the Absurd
Disappointment, disbelief
Dismay, disgust – there is no word

© Gail Foster 30th January 2019

The MP for Devizes, Claire Perry

Written to mark the occasion of the Rt Hon Claire Perry MP’s recent appearance on Question Time…

*

The MP for Devizes, Claire Perry
Used to be fragrant and merry
Now she’s pointy and bitey
And not that politey
And bitter as bargain bin sherry

Our MP, the Honourable Claire
Has teeth that she quite likes to bare
In public debate
But her hair’s really great
And she did crack a blowjob joke. Yeah.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes
Is worthy of Parliament prizes
At home we handle
Our bell, book, and candle
Whenever her presence arises

*

© Gail Foster 17th November 2018

Our Jerusalem

– on Donald Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom

*

And in the heat of summer time

Walking by England’s fountains seen

A man who thought he was a God

And King of England’s pastures green

We did not countenance his crime

Drew lines upon our crowded hills

And sang Jerusalem, Trump is here

Among us – dark Satanic chills

Bring me balloons of tan and gold

Bring me cartoons and bold satire

Bring tea and beer; Oh, clowns untold!

Bring me the jokes that will not tire!

I will bring cheese to fuel the fight

Or something silly in my hand

This isn’t Trump’s Jerusalem

And we don’t want him in our land

*

© Gail Foster 12th July 2018

‘If Truth Be Told’; a book of poetry and autobiographical prose

For poetry fans and curious fellows; my book

Cover-1 - Copy

It’s available from Devizes Books (01380 725944), as well as through Amazon.  Herewith the blurb; there’s lots in here you won’t have read.

Everything in this book was written between November 2016 and November 2017.
It’s an odd mixture, really.

Serious sonnets and satirical silliness.
Randy pigeons and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Feisty stuff and flirtations with form.
Sainsburys and the Avebury Ring.
Grand themes and little ticklish things.
Sadness and spiritual joy.
….
This is my second anthology and yet again I have had to give thought to the diverse nature of my content.
I have decided to treat my readers like adults, and include all my material.  Everything.  Nearly.  Except for my haiku, senryu, and tanka, which belong in another book, and the private things I have written.  Everything including the sweet story about my god daughter, the mysterious case of the socks on the rocking chair, a poem in which I use the ‘c’ word for a fascist, songs of love for beautiful people, wild poems inspired by the muse, and the seedy tale of what happened to me back in the seventies and early eighties.

So here you go.
Take a deep breath.
Thank you so much for reading my work.
*
Gail Foster ~ Devizes, Wiltshire, November ‘17

 

Iolanthe; the White Horse Opera at Lavington School

a first night review…

*

I was delighted to be asked to review the White Horse Opera’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera, Iolanthe, at Lavington School this week.  Delighted, but slightly nervous.  Opera, or operetta, apart from a brief flirtation with The Yeoman of the Guard in my youth, isn’t my cup of tea.  But I’m up for a challenge, and it really was about time I popped my White Horse Opera cherry.

I looked it up online and what I read tickled me.  Fairies and the House of Lords.  Bit of magic and a bit of satire.  Interesting.

First performed in London in 1882, Iolanthe, also known as ‘The Peer And The Peri’, took a mischievous jab at the high society of the time in this bizarre tale of a Fairy who has been banished for wedding a mortal, Strephon her son, a half-man, half-fairy sort of bloke, Phyllis, the mortal object of his (and everyone else’s) affections, various vociferous Fairies; a conflicted Lord Chancellor;  and assorted beery leery Peers.

Phyllis reciprocates Strephon’s love, but the Lord Chancellor, even though he is her legal guardian, also has his eye on her, and forbids Strephon from marrying her.  When Phyllis catches Strephon talking to Iolanthe about the situation and mistakes the ever youthful Fairy for a lover, she rejects him and says that she will marry a Peer.  The Fairy Queen and her crew, unimpressed with the Lord Chancellor and the Peers, put Strephon into Parliament and give him the power to pass any bill he likes…

It’s all a bit tricky really, what with the law about Fairies marrying mortals being punishable by death, the Lord Chancellor’s paradoxical legal dilemma, the state of the political nation, forbidden desires, cosmic compromises, and everyone falling in love with everyone else.  One could get quite deep about it, even (it’s his bottom half that’s mortal, by the way, in case you were wondering), what with all those rampant Fairies and randy Lords, Pagans and the Establishment, intellectual conflicts, ancient energies in tension, and stuff…

Or one could just enjoy a jolly good romp.  So to speak.

Well directed by Graham Billing, with superb musical direction by Roland Melia, the show was visually and aurally gripping from the outset.  The orchestra was tight and melodious throughout.  The acoustics were great (how mellow was that cello!).  The scenery, consisting of a screen backdrop of a flowing stream and a static image of the Houses of Parliament, was simple but effective.  The fairy dresses and butterfly wings were pretty, the Peers looked authentic, and the choreography was energetic.  It was, with the exception of a couple of minor hesitations, pretty slick for a first night.

A few voices stuck out a mile; Phyllis’s (Lisa House) beautiful soaring soprano, Lord Mountarat’s (Matt Dauncey) confident baritone, Iolanthe’s (Paula Boyagis) sweet mezzo-soprano, and Private Willis’s (Charles Leeming) sonorous bass.  Phyllis and Strephon’s (Jon Paget) duet ‘None Shall Part Us From Each Other’, and the Peers’ robust entry with ‘Loudly Let The Trumpet Bray’, got the old goosebumps going good and proper, and I couldn’t fault the whole cast harmonies.

As far as the acting went, good performances all round, but special mention to Matt Dauncey and Jon Paget again, Chrissie Higgs as the feisty Leila and Jessica Phillips as Celia, and Sue Goodman as the scary and imposing Queen of the Fairies.  Oh, and all of the Peers, who were truly amusing, delivered some delicious little cameos, played every moment with gusto, and ripped the Michael out of the aristocracy beautifully.

I’d like to have seen little more evidence of eternal youth and a tad more spring in the step of the Fairy ranks at times.  And a couple of voices took a while to warm up, or sounded better in some songs than others.   Stephen Grimshaw as the Lord Chancellor and Dennis Carter as Lord Tolloller impressed more in the second act, with Grimshaw nailing the complicated patter song ‘Love, Unrequited, Robs Me Of My Rest’, and Carter seeming more comfortable as time went on.

Picky, really, but had to be said.  Small spots of imperfection in an otherwise impeccable show that will doubtless be ironed out by Saturday.

I loved this show.  I spent much of the evening tapping my foot and smiling.  It was lively and engaging from the moment the orchestra struck their first chord.  You know a show’s been good when you haven’t taken your eyes off the stage or thought about domestic trivia for the entire length of it.  The ensemble pieces were well executed and fun to watch, the comic timing was spot on all round, and the sound was full and satisfying.

I enjoyed the surprise of the current political references, and the relevance of the story to the present day.  The visual spectacle.  The rollicking ride.  The glorious flighty flirtiness of it all.  And the stuff about the law and the lore.  What’s in a word, eh?  The lives of men and fairies, according to Gilbert and Sullivan.

(Interesting Iolanthe fact; fairy lights first appeared in the form of the battery operated star shaped lights worn in the hair of Iolanthe’s fairies in the first year of its run).

Iolanthe is an odd, thought-provoking opera about sex and politics that comes heavily disguised as a sparkly frivolous thing.  I reckon the production team and experienced cast of the White Horse Opera did it more than justice.  It exceeded my expectations, and I enjoyed popping my opera cherry very much.  How lucky are we to have quality opera like this out in the wilds of Wiltshire?

Therefore, even though I did say once that I never wanted to see Ian Diddams in a onesie and the Muppets were a tad incongruous, I’m giving Iolanthe…

drum roll…

Eight out of ten.

© Gail Foster 13th October 2017