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Spectator competition winners: Hollywood ‘Jabberwocky’ (‘Twas Downey, and the Harrelsons/ Did Cruise and Walken in the Pitt…’)

8 April 2018

9:30 AM

8 April 2018

9:30 AM

For the latest challenge, inspired by the American parodist Frank Jacobs’s 1975 version of ‘Jabberwocky’, ‘As If Lewis Carroll Were a Hollywood Press Agent in the Thirties’, you were asked to come up with a Holly-wood-themed ‘Jabberwocky’ for our times.

Jacobs begins: ”Twas Bogart and the Franchot Tones/ Did Greer and Garson in the Wayne;/ All Muni were the Lewis Stones,/And Rooneyed with Fontaine…’. Most (though not all) of you closely followed that tem-plate – to dazzling effect.

Except Clive Norris, who veered off-piste with his Brexit-inspired ‘Junckerwocky’ (‘Twas Brexit, and the fishy Goves/ Did twist and tumble ‘neath the waves…’), which I enjoyed but disqualified on the grounds that it wasn’t what I asked for.

Honourable mentions go to Rob Johnston and Joe Houlihan. Those printed below pocket £25 each.

Basil Ransome-Davies
‘Twas Downey, and the Harrelsons
      Did Cruise and Walken in the Pitt.
All Spacey were the Sarandons,
      And Nicholsons half-lit.

‘Beware the Streepymeryl thing,
      The wanxome Caine, the gribbled Crowe.
And never be caught Willising
      The frungible Paltrow!

Beware the stribulous Dafoe,
      The Damon frimbling in his Cage,
The hot Roth of DiCaprio
      And Hoffman’s puglish rage!’

The sad youth heard the smurbly words
      That named his mortal mission thus.
His visage paled. ‘Alas!’ he wailed,
      ‘I am not Spartacus.’

Rob Stuart
‘Twas Gerwig and the Sharon Stone
Did Gere and Gambon in the Wiig,
All Hemsworth was the McElhone
And the Jack Black’s Paul Feig.

He took his Vincent Vaughn in hand;
Long time the Hanks Defoe he sought –
So rested he by the Weinstein tree
And stood Wahlberg in thought.


And, as in Affleck Firth he stood,
The Ethan Hawke, with eyes Broadbent,
Came Walken through the Sheedy wood,
And Markled as it went!

John Wu! John Wu! And Depardieu,
The Vincent Vaughn went snicker-snack,
With Donnie Yen, and with Sean Penn,
He went Gal Gadot back.

Bill Greenwell
‘Twas Affleck and the Kevin Kline
Did Depp and Damon in the Gad:
All Meryl were the Pegg and Pine,
And Elba were the Brad.

‘Beware the Barinholtz, my boy!
Avoid the Denzeling Dafoe!
Face not the Clooney McAvoy
And shun the Ruffalo!’

He strapped his Channing Tatum on,
Vin Diesel filling every vein,
And with his trusty Harrelson
He Charlized his Chastain.

‘And hast thou slain the Corey Stoll?
O Dench, O Cara Delevingne!
Give Hanks inside my Gyllenhaal
That you are Dafne Keen!’

Brian Murdoch
‘Twas glitzy, and the osky crowd
Were streeping in the sisterhood,
All whiny steins were disallowed,
And the hashtags me-tooed.

Then through the I-Am-Holier-Wood
An inclusion rider flew,
Where thesps in cumbered batches stood
And signalled their virtù.

Beware the spacey male, my dear,
The couch that casts, the paw that gropes,
Of race- and gender-gaps steer clear,
And shun the transey phobes.

The thesps in each acceptance speech
Ground an afflected axe,
But the Trumperwock just gave a screech,
And huckabeed his facts.

Paul Carpenter
‘Twas BrillGig and the carpet red
Did spire and spangle with outrage:
All vignalling were the walking heads
(The moguls manched about offstage).

‘Beware the Grabberwock, metoos,
The spooling jaws, the pelvic thrust!
Beware the Tubtub bird’s abuse
The offered parts which now disgust!

For we are armed with mighteous strength
Waxed and heeled and sanctified,
We’ll make LA like Doris Day
All motherhood and melon-pied!’

And thus the Grabberwock was slain,
Their retrous joy glibbed unconfined:
Fraglitter town is pure again
And human nature’s redefined.

Katie Mallett
The Weinstein scrumbled through the Wood,
His hands were squeezing squirm,
He wriggled as he sluthered on
A beastly slimy worm.

And then behind him came a cry,
As Paltrow screeched her pain
And Klass and Jolie Beckinsaled
Behind him their refrain,

He must be stopped, this squelchy squid
With slathering tentacles,
The Campbell and the Thurman rose
And waved their sharpened tales.

They scummed the Weinstein over land
And to the swarfling sea
As the cries enstrafed his cringing soul
‘Me too, me too, and me.’

Your next challenge is to provide a poem about euphemisms. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 18 April.


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