In preparation for the launch of "(Humorous) Sonnet Challenge" as a regular part of my stand-up routine, I asked a few friends to suggest words for me to practice with. Shad started, giving me one word, then two, then Joseph, Jenna and Karen all submitted the full three. Finally, I performed the routine at Red Room on June 16th.
I'm pretty pleased with most of them, Karen's still needs a lot of work, however. Apologies to her.
(Any more suggestions are welcome, or choose Chinese words for a 打油詩:- a place, an object and an action; try not to exceed 2-3 syllables please)
Shad set (one word): ukulele
Mark's theme: lonely boy growing up
Eric Clapton was a sad, lonely boy,
playing alone ‘til it affected his sight,
then one day he bought a musical toy,
which he strummed by day and he strummed by night;
Oh Eric the lad was plain and effete,
‘til he decided to learn that guitar,
with his riffs and licks and rock steady beat,
women came running from near and afar;
They couldn’t get enough of his down, down up,
up down up, down up, and his twiddley bits,
they called him a god and supped from his cup
and asked him to sign his name on their tits;
~~But Clapton could never have penned “Layla”, if
~~he’d bought not guitar but ukulele.
Shad set (two words): eggplant .... church
Mark's theme: Silly Billy
William was an elder out of Utah
who went to proselytize Argentina
he fell in love with a local fruit ~ aaaaaah,
Her name? Why, Solanum melongena;
With soft cream inside, taut skin of purple,
he’d eat none else, so got ever fatter,
for breakfast and lunch he’d stew a couple
for dinner he’d have six fried in batter;
On these, his diet was solely reliant,
but the Church posted our hero to London,
where he found not a single eggplant,
so he famished and went up to heaven;
~~Bill knew not, in the English of our Queen,
~~his beloved fruit is called aubergine.
Jenna set (3 words): Bank of China Building (HK) ... schadenfreude ... plop
Mark's theme: The current financial crisis in Europe
With Athens begging for Berlin's largesse,
Madrid and Rome also drop to their knees,
Obama tells Europe "Sort out your mess:
sell bonds, print money, or issue decrees."
Recalling punt, crown, lira, mark and franc,
ordinary folk's hearts sink with a plop,
but bankers laugh all the way to the ... bank,
and Wall Street resounds as champagne corks pop.
Stocks decline and your pension disappears,
yet witness then a scene of pure ersatz,
financiers' cheeks flow with crocodile tears,
(or, for Bank of China Building rats, cats')*
~~The masters, though, are Die Deutsche Leute,
~~who gave the world the word "schadenfreude".
Joseph set (3 words): school ... bottle ... hop
Mark's theme: growing up with dreams of stardom
From tadpole- or caterpillar-type age,
my sole desire was to one day transform,
and like a butterfly ascend the stage,
to dance or sing or otherwise perform.
On my tenth birthday, I joined drama school,
where I took classes in juggling and mime,
ballet, flute, trapeze and playing the fool,
and trying to make my hip-hop verse rhyme.
In the first class I dropped all my balls,
then I spoke, then fell flat on my tummy,
I squeaked, spun, corpsed, never made curtain call,
so was bumped to ventriloquist's dummy.
~~But butterfly stomach, shame or sheer fear,
~~meant my words emerged as "gottle o' gear." *
* (see "Making the right sounds" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventriloquism)
Karen set (3 words): Westminster Abbey ... dildo ... strategise
Mark's theme: This year's diamond jubilee in London
In June, our Liz invited all her friends,
to come partake the di'mond jamboree,
completely bucking austerity trends,
they raised the roof off Westminster Abbey.
Still feeling stuffed with Blumenthal's chicken, *
and just a touch hungover from Cobra,
Charles, Willyum and Harry set to picking
who should lead the depose-Beth coup d'etat.
Meanwhile Liz, Kate, Camilla and Di's ghost
are strategising their own devious plan,
agreeing their men have little to boast
they target a horse-hung fellah named Ben:
~~so one-by-one climbing out the window
~~they mount next door's 200-foot dildo.
Red Room (live show, 1 hour) set: Timbuktu ... trolling ... dresser (bureau)
Mark's theme: Internet Dating
In this age, it’s hard to meet girls in life,
go’in on a date is like Russian roulette,
my last chance to find a potential wife
was probably best through the Internet;
I got invites from women far overseas,
in Sydney, and Moscow, and Timbuktu,
from ladies with all kinds of diseases,
and stories of hardship and bad luck too;
I suffered flaming and trolling and memes,
and people who just told lies for a lark,
finally everything is what it seems,
and I’m invited to 2-28 Park;
~~Where lines of men dressed as girls from head to toe,
~~in other words, a cross-dresser boy row.
Text copyright Jiyue Publications 2012