Tag Archives: Humour


One of the more eccentric ideas of Phoenix Ark Press was to do a book called “Chimp or Bonobo, making Love or War?”


The pigmy chimpanzee, the Bonobo (pictured being sweet in a tree above), seems to display markedly different characteristics to the common Chimpanzee ( sharp-eyed, below his cousin), most notably with Bonobos’ constant enthusiasm for sex and socializing (dirty diggers that they are), much in the vein of ‘Make Love Not War’!

If the novel Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd tells a brilliant parable about man, nature and chimpanzees, loosely following the work of one of the three “Richard Leaky women”, Jane Goodall, but essentially describing the public backing crisis and moral dilemmas that ensue when a team of scientists discover the uncomfortable truth (always a problem with science) that their chimpanzees have extremely warlike, even cannibalistic tendencies, perhaps its an important question about Man too!

So, the GAME and evolving question is this: While the Bonobos lounge about making love and hugging each other, or so much about chimpanzees and indeed Silverback gorillas suggests that the true evolutionary skill is not just to be top dog but deeply social, how would you place some of today’s world leaders, since we are 95% primate? Phoenix Ark gives a little run down of the candidates:

Bonobo_sexual_behavior_1 Two Bonobos, um, practicing Tai Chi?

Phoenix thinks CHIMP : Likes guns, macho-ness, Judo and invading Ukraine.(Compare lips with chimp above.)

President_Barack_Obama BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT – CHIMP OR BONOBO? Phoenix thinks BONOBO: Definite eye for the ladies.

Phoenix thinks CHIMP: Seems to have no idea of society whatsoever, if life’s a gas!

Phoenix thinks CHIMP: With probably an eye on taking over Brazzaville too.

Angela_Merkel_(August_2012)_cropped ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN PREMIER – CHIMP OR BONOBO?
Phoenix thinks BONOBO: Cuddly, (but still German).

Phoenix thinks ETONIAN, socializing very rarified, in all that Big Society.

Nick_Clegg_by_the_2009_budget_cropped NICK CLEGG, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER – CHIMP OR BONOBO? Phoenix thinks OLD WET (which means he went to Westminster School), but supposedly Liberal minded.

Phoenix thinks BONOBO face, but very CHIMP eyes! (Turned cannibalistic in seeing off his brother David)

Nigel_Farage_MEP_1,_Strasbourg_-_Diliff NIGEL FARAGE, LEADER OF UKIP – CHIMP OR BONOBO?
Phoenix thinks CHUMP!

Please do contribute your own ideas to the game (for which the only prize is evolving), but just don’t be too rude about any animals, they are far more sensitive than people! All pictures are taken from Wikipedia. ( You trying to be funny? This would not have made a good book – ed! ps Why so many men?)

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In the oddest of these excerpts from HORRID HEROES AND CRAZY CROOKS by David Clement-Davies comes a very rare bird, originally designed for a collection of nonsense poems and stories called Pollipigglepuggar, but now finding her rightful place at the end of a human hall of fame…


Though PolliPigglepuggar is a nonsense kind of WORD
You CAN’T hunt down in any diction-reeeee,
THE Pollipigglepuggar’ is a most exotic bird,
Who sleeps within the Pollipiggle tree.
As brazen as the Jabberwock,
As brutal as the Jub,
She boasts a certain blabber shock
A kind of ‘there’s the rub’,
Defying good AND monstrous villainy!
With something of the sensless too,
In a lofty place to rook,
Who couldn’t make here hero, no,
Nor even worse a crook,
So I hope her form defies a cator-greeee!
She isn’t quite a Parrot
Though her plumage is akin
And her ears are thin and furry, as a bear,
Her tail looks like a carrot,
While she has a sort of chin,
And wears a set of curlers in her hair.
Her beak is made of lemon peel,
Her eyes are black and blue,
Her call is like the bleating of a goat,
Her favourite meal’s spaghetti
It’s weird, but still it’s true,
She loves to string so loosely round her throat.
While, on her Pollipiggle branch,
She perches day and night –
A look that says – there’s nothing else to do.
Though in those scented piggle leaves,
She’s dreaming of the fright
I gave her when I stole out and went – ‘BOO’.
But just before I tell you
What a racket THAT inspired,
There’s something else to show you all, for free,
Not the colour of those feathers
Or the way her feet are wired,
But the nature of the Pollipiggle Tree.
The Pollipig’s a cousin of the Lollipopple plant,
In the genus of the Ligglepipple root,
Its leaves are made of herbal tea,
Although the branches aren’t,
While its flowers sprout out in rubber, like a boot.
It sways there in the piggle breeze,
Just waiting on some fun
Or that Puggar bird to use it for her bed,
And, since this tree can’t walk with ease,
(The thing can’t even run!)
It’s fond of simply growing up instead!
So there it waits to ponder,
As it blossoms once a year,
When the swooping puggar-puggar will appear,
Until from out of yonder
The thing loops through the air
And settles with a whooping, on its ear.
Behold the Pollipiggle Bird,
A fowl that isn’t deep,
A-landing on its side within the shrub
A bird, you see, that’s so absurd,
It promptly falls asleep
And dreams of bathing nightly in a tub.
So there they snooze together,
Like a perfect pair of chums
A-deep within the pollipiggle wood
And there the tree gets bigger
While the Pollipuggar hums
A tune I can’t remember, though I should.
You see, I’ve quite forgotton
That thing I had in mind,
Namely WHAT the creature cried when given fright;
It screeched out something rotten
When I woke it from behind,
Then called out like an ostrich taking flight:
“oh, polli, pig AND puggar,
oh piggle, puggle, pol
oh, rallop, lipig, gopple, gup and gol
oh luggup, paggle, leppug, paaaa
And glipple loppgup too.
Which really meant no more than;
‘Who are you?”
Oh, I love my Pollipiggle bird
A-sleeping in her tree
With her multicoloured feathers on her wings
And her strange, but polli, habits
Which NEVER seem absurd,
Like those ears that grow like rabbit’s,
Or the piggle way she sings,
And the puggar way she knows just how to be,
While she’s snoring up her Pollipiggle Tree.

Horrid Heroes and Crazy Crooks is under copyright to Phoenix Ark Press, 2014, All Rights Strictly Reserved. If you enjoyed this you might like to read about Vladimir Putin, Dick Whittington, Al Capone, Sweeney Todd and Sherlock Holmes in blogs below. The picture is a Wikepedia image of The Jabberwocky from Alice Through The Looking Glass.

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A new addition has turned up in HORRID HEROES AND CRAZY CROOKS by David Clement-Davies, which may feel a little odd, since characters were meant to be either fictional or historical. But needs must…


Now here’s a song, to put the boot in
The dangerous loves of Mr Putin
And if you’ve read that book sublime
A strong-man – Hero of Our Time?
That lyric tale of Russian Caucus
Whose soldier’s proved a trifle raucous
With camps and duels, horses, spies
All unredeemed by Bella’s eyes.
The sort where bad guys pull it off,
You know, the one by Lermantov.
But all’s made up, just like the Bible
You see we have to watch for libel!
So Putin mighty, Putin sure –
Yet put in ranks of the mature!?
Great leader of the Russian Bear
Who rose, with such a chilling flair,
From humble ranks of FSB
To join today’s Celebrity.
An iron Russian Premier who
Loves Judo, hunting and Kung Fu.
No look of crook, nor peasant farmer
No protocol to shame Obama.
No hint of scandal round this chum,
With rumours of Polonium
Injected in that fleeing fella
Who met his end, by stealth umbrella.
Who wouldn’t dream of reckless ire
If Newsnight talked Politkovskya!
But why should Russia drop its fist
To just some murdered journalist?
Since Putin penned a PHD
On how to earn some honest fee
And keep those Robber barons loyal,
All greased by pipelines pumping oil,
Or while the fracking starts a rash,
Fired up with ‘Merkel’ rush of gas.
That blood that lights the vital spark
In every Russian Oligarch,
Until they challenge word official
Or fall by process – just judicial.
Who hates environmental wailing
Just like his soul mate, Sarah Palin.
No worry if some arctic flair
Might soon put pay to polar bear
Or toxic dumping be the spree
Consuming withered Aral sea.
Who’ll tip his hat, so newly felted
When north pole ice has surely melted
And raise a rifle, like a sniper
To hunting seal, or arctic piper.
A man who’s not ashamed to say
Of course he likes it warm or gay
And when we’re sure of basic diet
We’ll never crush a Pussy Riot!
Olympics crown his neighbourhood
To teach the world, Sochi – so good.
(It’s just one thought that still afrights
Some real talk of Human Rights.)
Then West have rubbed gainst Eastern grain
In business dealings in Ukraine
Despite the fact corruption rich
Was right to end Yan-ukovich.
A straining there to even rhyme
In darkening talk of crooks or crime!
While all those bodies in the square
Showed up a pure, defiant stare,
And in the guts of struggling Nation
Revealed the human desperation.
Something owed to fighting few,
That Moscow now miscalls a coup.
But since the old regime has fled
The Russian Bear now lifts its head.
To put-in boys to old Crimea
And share the glitz of Vladimir!
Not Comrades now, too hip by far,
But brothers, like that Russian Czar
Who knew Size matters most of all
From Moscow to Sevastapol.
Like Stalin, cast on Yalta beach,
With certain sense of over-reach
Whose grim world view could only grip
Inevitable dictatorship!
While plans for votes are now unfurled
Like ten bad days that shook the world.
You see, this democratic chap
Long got his whiskers in a flap
As freedom’s loving stepped too far
In fracking up the S.S.R.
(Which needs a U. with clear sight,
To make the social tides Unite)
But then it should be no surprise
That ancient Russian sense of size,
And ever the fight of what defiles
Twixt Westerners or Slavophiles,
Is modern freedom still the goal
Or triumph of some Russian Soul?
So now the World waits on the brink
And deals in diplomatic ink
Obama calls and John Mcain
Tells everyone to raise their game
While Whithall, true to bureaucratic vision,
Prepares to deal in cynicism
As London energy men all smile
At fuel price, long hiked a mile,
Like bankers on a spending spree
Delighted by monopolies.
Enough to spread that thought so mad
That Putin isn’t quite THAT bad,
Or FSB should swap the tanks
For shiny suits in Scottish banks!
Or is it horses running courses
In all the scramble for resources,
That makes Crimea all the rage
As Nations rush for centre stage?
Will Russia still not deviate
Despite boycotts or cracked G8,
Did freedom carve a broken plaque
With ‘Jobs accomplished’ in Iraq?
As honour found a dangerous nexus
With Haliburton, Bush and Texas,
Or justice met her bridge too far
With Assad propped in Syria!
Yet could this capital minded man
Perceive some hidden market plan
So learn his power’s not that great
As price of Rouble starts to shake?
Or will such mathematics see
An even bloodier tragedy?
Yet while the madness rumbles on
There’s one thing still that loves the sun
A graceful polar bear, who stands
On promentories, and icy strands
And watches, with a comic grin,
The human mayhem now begin
No slave to border drawn solutions
That mighty beast of evolutions,
Who in his self refrigeration
Has yet some small determination.
Until he’s wrecked by greed or arson
And emptying shelves – of Mr Larson!
The greatest carnivore by far
Not Rusky, Chechen, Yank nor Tsar
But made of wildest skin and bone
That scion of a dying home
Unstudied in the world reforming
Or all that talk of Global Warming.
You think, dear Putin, you are brave
Enough to wrestle in his cave?!
Or if he clawed your tender skin
The strong man, you could even win,
Except by dint of cold machine
And bullets from a magazine?
But if such beasts are first survival
Their love of cub has human rival
And though we fail, we simply must
Try, time again, to build the just.
A lesson that’s not always best
Told in the compromising West!
While if we should be strong, you’ll find,
The world’s the good we leave behind.
With thoughts of him, or purer frown
Have you the guts to just back down?
And really hold, with love or pain,
The strong arms round a free Ukraine?
Or can’t you see that Iron Fists
Encourage Ultra Nationalists?
So with a sigh, like dying day,
The bear shakes head and turns away
Lifting his paws to swiftly go
With lollop through the melting snow?


Horrid Heroes and Crazy Crooks is under copyright to Phoenix Ark Press, 2014, All Oil Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed the take on Mr Putin and would like to read about Dick Whittington, Al Capone, Sweeney Todd, or Sherlock Holmes then just follow the blogs below. The cartoon shows a Winter Olympics Mr Putin standing of the brave girls of Pussy Riot and is taken from the internet.

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The next instalment of HORRID HEROES AND CRAZY CROOKS by David Clement-Davies is the true tale of Dick Whittington. If you know the wonderful version by Roald Dahl, all David can say is that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!


I think perhaps we ought to skip
The early years of Dirty Dick
Who was (in truth) extremely sad
A crummy little orphaned lad,
The servants treated like a louse
In Hugh Fitzwarren’s London house.
Where, in the kitchens, for his supper
Dick worked and slaved as Washer-Upper
And in the evenings, on the floor,
Slept on a bed of filthy straw
His only friend among the tat
Tiddles, a scrawny Cheshire cat…
So there they’d sit, consuming rum
And toasting better days to come.
Until, one evening, having tea,
Sir Hugh turned to his family
And cried “My dears, it’s time, you know
I let the servants have a go.
I’ll get them to invest their tips
In one of my brand new Merchant ships.”
Fair Griselda (Fitz’s daughter)
Scowled and moaned “You never oughta
Oh blast, oh hell, it isn’t fair”
Then thrust her nostrils in the air.
“My duck,” soothed Hugh “don’t think pa’s sappy
We have to keep the workers happy.
Besides, it really isn’t funny,
But just right now I need the money!”
The household quickly took the hook
The cook whipped out her savings book,
The coachman cried “I’ll try the prank”
The butler smashed his piggy bank.
The only one left out that day
Was Dick, of course, who couldn’t pay.
But then the ruthless little snot
Came up with this disgusting plot.
“I’ll not be exiled from their fiddles
“I know,” he grinned “I’ll give ’em Tiddles.”
So seizing kitty by the scrag
Dick stuffed him in a leather bag
Then sent his only friend to sea
To earn for Dick a monstrous fee.
Which proves that, if you hadn’t guessed,
Dick was a crook, just like the rest.

So now our story changes tack
For no news of the ship came back
Dick waited there, a year and more
For all those riches, held in store,
But got no message from the log
And no news of his travelling mog.
At last the crook began to ditch
This plan to make him Super Rich
And then the dreadful little thief
Purloined Hugh’s spotted handkerchief
And glancing round him, sly and quick
Dick tied it to Hugh’s walking stick.
With all his worldly goods wrapped up:
His toothbrush in a paper cup,
And from the larder, for his tea,
Dick pinched a slab of mouldy Brie.
So Dick set off, at ten to two.
To make his loot, in pastures new.
In several hours, slowing down,
Dick reached the edge of London town
And here it was (as we all know)
That Dicky rested, outside Bow,
Where, after lunch, the lazy chap
Decided that he’d take a nap.
But just as Dick had settled in
The old Church bells began to ring:


Now Richard, who was really thick
Was sure he couldn’t, BLOODY HELL,
Have just been talked to by a Bell!


Well, this bit made the whole thing seem
Just like some awful, cheesy dream.


This clanging made Dick’s fingers itch.
Then gave the dozing snitch a stitch.


At this Dick woke up, with a start,
A mighty thundering in his heart
But rubbed his fingers in his ears


The bells continued with a clang

“WE’VE NOT GOT ALL DAY LONG,” they sang,

As Dick heard what the bells just said
His eyes bulged from his greedy head
Forgetting all about his pack,
To London Town Dick hurried back
Where he discovered, with a grin,
His long lost ship had just come in.
For when (a year before) the liner
Had anchored off the coast of China
Tiddles, that hungriest of cats,
Had gobbled up a plague of rats
And charmed the Nation’s Emperor
(Who’d never seen a cat before)
Then, since his palace was infested
The chinaman had swift invested
So on the spot, right there and then,
Bought Tiddles for a million Yen.
Which was a quite ginormous fee,
In such a dodgy currency!
Yet Dirty Dick could not have cared
A jot how little Tiddles fared.
Instead he hoovered up the dough
And bought a suit from Saville Row
Then, as the richest in the land,
Dick asked Griselda for her hand
Who, though she was absurdly snooty,
Was still delighted by his booty.
So in a carriage, off they go,
To marry in that church in Bow
And now the pair await with glee
The bells enchanting prophecy.
Which proves that if you want to win
Like Richard you must not give in
And also shows, I’m sad to say,
That ruthlessness will often pay.


The last time that we heard of Dick
That horrid boy had turned a trick
And with Griselda, sweet and fair,
Was waiting to become Lord Mayor.
But if, this far, you’ve got the gist
Of Dicky’s story…here’s the twist.
Oh they got married, just near Bow,
Griselda wasn’t happy though
For everyone could plainly see
That Dirty Dick was dastardly.
Since, filthy boy, he held that path
That meant he’d never had a bath
Despised good soap to wash his face,
Yet lorded it around the place,
As poor Grizelda found their lair
Were soon as filthy as her hair.
Almost a tale too foul to tell,
Since no one could abide Dick’s smell,
But also shows why we all bitch –
‘There’s nothing worse than filthy rich!’
Yet as they stewed in noble rot
Now Dick refined his master plot
And bribed the townsmen, one and all,
To make him Mayor of City Hall,
Just as those talking bells had fated,
But as Dick dressed, to be instated
And Grizzy sobbed there, on the floor
There came a knocking at their door.
A furry banging – RAT, TAT, TAT,
And straight in walked a GIANT CAT.
Scrawny Tiddles who, since landing,
On all those rats, had been expanding
And, leaving China, made his fill
In business – working RENT-A-KILL.
The mog was sporting sparkling gnoshers,
Eight inch claws and huge goloshes.
And with a Pot-pourri of Rose,
A giant clothes peg on his nose.
“Meeeeooow” purred Puss, “So Dick, you swine,
You’d sell your Tiddles down the line?”
“Oh no,” cried Dick, “by boiled Salami,
I think I must be going balmy,
It’s bad enough a chatty bell,
But not a talking cat as well!”
Tiddles twitched and licked his paws,
Then opened out those murderous claws
And, with strange glintings in his eye,
He let his vicious razors fly
Across the sofa, round the beds,
Where Dick was swiftly torn to shreds
And smart Grizelda (not a slouch)
Stuffed Dicky’s entrails in the couch,
Then, kissing Tiddles on the nose,
She swooned “Oh Pussy, I propose
That now that Dirty Dicky’s ditched,
You steal his job and we get hitched.”
Which happened, as was only fair,
When Tiddles did become Lord Mayor
And with Grizelda in cahoots
Became that famous PUSS-IN-BOOTS!
And so it was that Griz, the louse,
Installed that couch in Mansion House
Where, on Dick’s stuffing, there they sat
That Lady Mayor and Cheshire Cat,
With lucious tongue to priss and preen,
Since cats are quite superbly clean!
But now I bet you’re wondering why
Those rotten bells had told a lie.
It’s not as strange as you suppose
Since this is how the story goes:
They hadn’t meant LORD MAYOR, as read,
But tried to say HORSE HAIR instead,
(You know, the kind of stuff you get
To fill a couch, or coverlet.)
And since, as all smart children know,
Those chatty bells were made in Bow,
It meant they only ever sang,


Horrid Heroes and Crazy Crooks is under copyright to Phoenix Ark Press, 2014, All Rights Strictly Reserved. The picture is a woodcut from The Famous and Remarkable History of Sir Richard Whittington, Three Times Lord-Mayor of London (1770). If you would like to read about Al Capone, Sweeney Todd and Sherlock Holmes, look at the blogs below.

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St Valentine’s Day has been and gone but never too late for another excerpt from HORRID HEROES AND CRAZY CROOKS by David Clement-Davies. This time to meet the superstar and show maker of them all, Al Capone!!!


Hot off the press this headline runs:
So, kids, I hope you’re not alone,
To hear this tale of Al Capone:
Of all the crooks we’ve met so far,
This killer’s still the SUPERSTAR.
Since Al’s fame, to this dying day,
And when it’s mentioned on TV
Turns BRAVE ENFORCERS off their tea.
In old Chicago, where, it’s said,
Al SHOT his victims STONE COLD DEAD,
A hundred patsies Al gunned down,
That’s just around the edge of town,
With sub-Machine Guns at his chin,
Al PLAYED ’em, like A VIOLIN.
And since the news boys love to shout,
A crook was soon being read about
In Prohibition days, so grim,
Of crooked banks and boot-leg Gin
Enough to leave a drunk impression
And so bring on a Great Depression!:



Until those front page lies were read
By one of Al’s best friends instead:
“Hey, ditch this junk, just hold a mo’,
Dat’s not the Al I used ta know.
Naah, Al was thoughtful, Al was kind,
Yeah, Al Capone was real refined.
The nicest guy I’ve met by far,
He doted on his dear ol’ Ma.
Oh sure, Al robbed a bank or two,
But with those frauds, hey, wouldn’t you?
There ain’t no equal Wall Street mothers
To rival crooks like Lehman Brothers!
Besides, Al had to terrorise a Nation,
To earn himself a reputation.
Yet in his heart of hearts, dis guy
Was sweet, romantic, modest, shy,
And every time he whacked some clown,
The tears, dey nearly made Al drown.
I know the story dat’s ta blame,
For blackening a hero’s name:
Dat day, dey claim, Al went too far,
When rounding up some mugs he hated,
He had the jerks… assassinated.
Yet every kid should know, I guess,
Dem lies were cooked up by da Press,
So listen, to da bitter end,
To Al’S TRUE STORY – (By a friend!)
And wise up to MY bottom line
On Al’s romantic Valentine:

One day, see, there with Snuff, Dutch, Guss and Gene
Al’s diary turned up FEB 14,
The day dat sweethearts, throughs der post,
Sends gifts to thems dey loves da most.
But this made Al Capone upset,
The boss had had no postcards yet,
Nor any broad nor classy dame,
To buy him chocolates or champagne.
‘Hey, Boss, woss up with you?” asked Guss,
‘Aaahhh, nuddin much’ sniffed Al, ‘Don’t fuss,
It’s just….I wish….oh gee, if only
I wasn’t feelin’ so darn lonely.
I knows your boss would feel fine,
If he’d received some… Valentine.’
A sentiment to tempt der fates,
Cos Al was never any good wid dates!
But, wid a most gigantic sigh,
Al wiped one tear drop from his eye.
Then soon a thought ran through that head,
‘I’ll SEND a Valentine, instead,
To all those dirty rats in town
Who’s ever tried ta gun me down.’
‘Dat’s swell,’ cried Snuff, ‘I’ll make em jive”
And Guss pulled out his ’45!
‘It’s noon,’ grinned Al, ‘so not too late,
To get them to agree a date,
Tonight, with us, in some place fancy,
That downtown garage run by LANCEY.’
“Like magic, soon Al’s guest arrived,
The meanest bunch of crooks alive.
Each sporting velvet gangster hats,
In pin striped suites, with patchwork spats,
They slouched, or leant against their cars,
Smoking a box of fat cigars.
With loaded sten guns, inches thick,
With which they’d planned to spring some trick,
On unsupsecting Al, whose heart,
Like meat, they’d serve up in a cart.
The clock ticked by, but still alone,
There was NO SHOW for Al Capone.
Until Fats Diamond turned to say
‘Look, boys, we’ll wait anudder day
To stich up Al, let’s split, you guys’
But then Al cried – ‘SURPRISE, SURPRISE’
And jumped out from behind a Ford,
With thirty mobsters, guns abroad.
‘Jeeees, no,’ blubbed Diamond, with a gulp,
‘I guess that means, us guys, we’s pulp.’
‘Dat’s right’ snarled Al, the Mafia boss,
‘I knows you’ve planned the double-cross,
So says yer prayers and waves goodbye,
Right here, in Lancey’s, time to die!’
The mobsters’ bullets RAT-TAT-TATTERED
Al’s sub machine guns shook and splattered,
Yet, when the smoke cleared in the air,
No single crook was lying there,
Instead, among the smoke and sparks,
A GIANT HEART, in bullet marks,
Was patterned on the garage wall,
Near ten feet wide and five feet tall.
While underneath, the dotted line,
In holes, spelt H..A..P..P..Y……..V..A..L..E..N..T..I..N..E
A nicer fate than being shot
Which sure proves dat Some Like It Hot.
Then, grinning on, cucumber cool,
Capone cried ‘tricked ya, APRIL FOOL!
And from a huge machine gun case,
Capone pulled out a cloth of lace,
A trifle, hampers, knives and forks,
As Gene and me popped Champagne corks,
Then smiling gangsters showered them crooks,
With roses, sweets, romantic books.
As Al, to raise our caper’s tone,
Turned on a wind-up gramaphone,
To which us mobsters, face to face,
Began to Waltz around the place.
Then Dutch, who never played the snitch
Sang Opera arias, perfect pitch,
And tuneful crooks were soon to be
Made men –Sopranos– on TV
As Snuff, a lucky name he had,
Got cast in parts of Breaking Bad
And since Snuff’s skills were never phoney
The mobster even won a Tony!
Which proves what Hollywood always saayes
Der Talent Never Ever Pays.
Yer see, I told ya Al was fine,
He loved his Ma AND Valentine,
Which shows why mobsters, to dis day,
Still wears for AL…A RED BOUQUET.”

HORRID HEROES AND CRAZY CROOKS by DAVID CLEMENT-DAVIES is under Copyright to Phoenix Ark Press, 2014, All Rights strictly reserved. If you enjoyed this read about SWEENEY TODD and SHERLOCK HOLMES in posts below. The image is ‘Little Bonaparte’ among the ‘Friends of Italian Opera’ from Billy Wilder’s classic Some Like It Hot.


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Since everything on TV nowadays is celebrity chefs, here’s another from HORRID HEROES AND CRAZY CROOKS by David Clement-Davies, with cooking, murder and Master Chefs in mind…


I hope wise parents understand
I’d have this story quickly banned
Because the crimes I have in store
Are stewed in blood, guts, gunk and gore,
Hearts, lungs and livers, hands and toes
And human entrails, lined in rows
Then diced up finely where they lie
To bake up in a human pie.
We’d all go blind and surely deaf
To show the likes on Master Chef!
But what’s revolting, in my view,
Is that it isn’t even true:
In Fleet Street, close to London harbour,
Lived Sweeney Todd, a Demon Barber,
Whose shop front told, with cockney pride,
His skill in cuts – Short, Back or Side
But when Todd’s clients took the chair
He’d seize them by a knot of hair
And with his razor, where they sat,
He’s slice their heads off, just like that.
Then throw a lever on the floor
Which tipped them down a neat trap door
To send his victims down the shoot –
Off to the kitchens they would scoot
Where Mrs Lovett, stashed below,
Was greasing tins and rolling dough.
And when she got the bits Todd sent her
She’s stuff them smartly in a blender
Or, short on new electric fangles,
Would grind the hand cogs on her mangles.
Then mince ’em till the dish looked tasty
And cover folk in short crust pastry
So in the oven pop the mix
For fifty minutes – Gas mark six!
It’s vicious, please don’t tell your mother,
But people sometimes EAT each other.
Then when the pies were freshly done
Todd turned up with his marker gun
To stick a label to the side
And off to market he would ride
To sell hot pielets round the town
Todd’s Steak and Kidneys – Half a Crown
While hawking round, for all to hear
Exotic with a pint of beer!”
I try and try, from time to time,
To justify Todd’s ghastly crime,
Regardless of how close I look
There’s nothing to redeem the crook.
Except for this, I’m glad to say,
Which I unmasked the other day.
For not just anyone would do
In Sweeney’s filthy human stew.
Oh no, of this pure fact I’m sure
The barber was a connoisseur,
Indeed the very heart and soul
Of careful Quality Control,
And since real Master Chefs are few
A sort of gruesome Albert Roux.
Who only picked on clients that
Were grossly rich, or hugely fat,
And I’m quite sure Todd left alone
Poor folk, of barely skin or bone,
(Unless, of course, they failed to dip
Deep in their trousers for his tip.)
Todd never harmed a comely lass
Or any girl with cheek or sass
And rarely ever touched the heads
Of pensioners, or newly-weds.
Instead Todd favoured Counts and Earls
And Barons, Viscounts, Dames, or girls
Whose noble parentage he knew.
Todd even diced a Duke or two!
A Master Chef, not of Provence,
But purest London provenance
Who, as he dropped them down his ditch,
Would cry “Take that” and “Eat the Rich!”
Which proves another thing I’d missed
This Sou Chef was a Socialist!
Who wanted all his crimes to be
The finest in Society.
Which also shows why, from that blender,
His Steak N’ Kidneys came out tender.
The other thing in Sweeney’s favour
Lay in the pies’ exquisite flavour
For with her Ramsey recipe book
Todd’s love became an expert cook
To add some spice, or fresh chopped herb,
And make ingredients taste superb
Not least the essence of their stew
With all that tasty blood, so blue,
Indeed the kind of human pottage
To grace the likes of River Cottage!
Yet this, since life can be unfair,
Proved fatal to the Demon Pair
Because the Todds became, I guess,
The victims of their own success.
But not, as all the news hounds lie,
Because of buttons in a pie.
Oh that bit happened, as you’ll see,
When Sherlock Holmes was having tea,
And found a shirt stud in his stew
Jumped up, cried “Watson, here’s a clue”
But then the daft, eccentric twit
Completely missed the point of it,
Concluding that the Ku Klux clan
Were smuggling fasteners to Japan!
No, with their pies they showed such flair
Chez Todd produced a billionaire
And baking finest pies by far
That barber won a Michelin Star!
At which the crook was so elated
He had his business automated.
The Todds installed, in steel and pine,
A Patent Pie Production line,
Which with its new electric switch
Could, single-handed, EAT THE RICH.
So send a hatchet round the shop
To slice and slash, to cut and chop
And dice them, minceur, while below
It rolled ’em up in baking dough
And then, with all the Gas it saved,
It had them swiftly Microwaved.
Then even packed them, on the nail,
To post them off by Royal Mail.
Which surely anyone can see
Was quite a smart utility,
Until they learn the fuel crisis
Brings threats of escalating prices.
Now this last part provides our clue
To what befell the grizzly two.
For once she’d given up her job
Todd’s sweat-heart turned a dreadful snob
A selfish, snotty, bitchy prig
Who bought a coach and powdered wig
Then, dressed in pearls and crinoline,
Would dream of dining, with the Queen!
And asked her love, eventually,
To change their First Class recipe
So use, instead of Earls, alas
The members from the Working Class!
At which Todd’s lower jaw fell ope
And foam, a bit like shaving soap,
Began to bubble out of it:
Todd had an apoplectic fit!
The awful thought made Sweeney shake
And gave him such a stomach ache
That, sitting down to ease his stitch,
He accidentally – threw that switch!
A dreadful slashing now began,
The Todds were turned to Raspberry Jam
And by their Patent Pie Machine
Were posted, in a soup tureen.
But strange to tell, this new position,
As last fulfilled some rare ambition.
For shipped with chocolates, port and champers,
All neatly packed in Christmas Hampers,
Beside a leg of honeyed ham,
TODD’S PIES turned up at Sandringham.
Where, followed by the BBC,
The Queen was tucking into tea.
Among choice guests she’d learned to view,
That mixed the likes of Michelle Roux,
(Who’d if he’d known the state of play
Might certainly have rued the day),
With Rick Stein, Wignall, Delia Smith
And Raymond Blanc, of gallic pith,
Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater,
Who’d brought his own refrigerator,
And, fresh from Fish Fights that enthral,
That top drawer Fearnely-Whittingstall
Who knows the most destructive plan
Was dreamt up by that animal Man.
Of course, not fond of scuffs nor hikers
No place-mat Pratts, or Hairy Bikers
Nor blokes like Jamie, to appall
Her palate newly Bloomenthal.
But there they sat, with graceful sighs
To tuck into those regal pies
So after years of being bled
The Rich ate Sweeney Todd instead!


If you enjoyed this excerpt from Horrid Heroes and Crazy Crooks by David Clement-Davies and want to read more of the bungling Sherlock Holmes too, look at the post below. The picture is of Jonny Depp in the movie of Sweeney Todd. Horrid Heroes and Crazy Crooks is under copyright to Phoenix Ark Press, 2014, All Rights Strictly Reserved.

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