Competition

Spectator competition winners: topical sea shanties

27 February 2021

9:00 AM

27 February 2021

9:00 AM

In Competition No. 3187 you were asked to provide a sea shanty on a topical theme.

This challenge was an invitation to follow in the slipstream of Nathan Evans, the postal worker and TikTokker whose rendition of the 19th-century whaling song ‘The Wellerman’ went viral and gave rise to #ShantyTok.


Among the multiple variations on ‘What shall we do with the unused Pfizer!’, Hugh King, Richard Spencer and Alanna Blake stood out, as did John Priestland’s homage to Handforth planning committee’s magisterial Jackie Weaver (‘There’s Councillor Brian disrupting the meeting,/ Way aye, kick him off Zoom!’) and Alan Millard’s to Captain Tom. The winners take £30 each.

What can we do with our Scottish shellfish,
Sitting on the quay, turning grisly smell-squish?
Dump the lot on London as a meal-from-Hell dish
Outside Number 10, ho?
 
     Heave-ugh, nowhere to store it,
     Heave-ugh, we’ll have to floor it,
     Heave-ugh, there’s nothing for it,
     All on Number 10, ho.
 
What can we do with our back-logged mussels,
Build a giant catapult that’s aimed at Brussels?
Pile them up in Westminster — they caused these tussles,
Outside Number 10, ho.
 
What can we do with our dying lobsters
And our clams and cockles now they’re rotting blobsters?
Stick ’em ’neath the noses of those Brexit mobsters,
Grouped round Number 10, ho.
D.A. Prince

As I were a-sailing off Galloway shore,
Way aye jab the man’s arm!
A hapless blonde mermaid declared Vaccine War.
Give me some time to jab the man’s arm!
 
She wanted the vials I had in my hold.
Way aye jab the man’s arm!
I said to her ‘Ursula darling, they’re sold.’
Give me some time to jab the man’s arm!
 
She said, ‘That’s a border I’ve drawn in the sea.’
Way aye jab the man’s arm!
It looked like the wake of a flounder to me.
Give me some time to jab the man’s arm!
 
‘Your vaccines are useless, I’m soon sixty-three.’
Way aye jab the man’s arm!
‘This muck’s for the British, I’ll use Sputnik V.’
Give me some time to jab the man’s arm!
Nick MacKinnon

Ho my lads, and away the jib
And we shift your sheep and your alcohol
One for the rum and two for the rib
It’s the Northern Ireland Protocol
 
Ho for the paper trail, me dears
And its folderol with your aerosol
Sign here lads with a hundred cheers
For the Northern Ireland Protocol
 
Ho as we wait, let your fresh food perish
As we dance a jig fit for Interpol
Here are the forms that our lubbers cherish
It’s the Northern Ireland Protocol
 
Ho as we sign that our freight’s in order
With a tot and a paracetamol
What shall we do with the Irish border?
Hail the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Bill Greenwell

What shall we do with a sunk Australia,
Oceans full of plastic paraphernalia,
Planet looking doomed to total failure —
Earl-eye in the morning?
 
Way, hay! The mercury rises;
Way, hay! It’s a climate crisis;
Way, hay! The earth’s demise is
Coming in the morning.
 
What shall we do if it turns much wetter?
Looks like it isn’t gonna get much better:
Maybe we should have listened up more to Greta:
Her Cassandra warning.
 
Heave, Ho! The hatches batten!
Before the flatlines flatten,
Way, hay! We’re off to Saturn
First thing in the morning.
David Silverman

If to the Olympics we must go, stand away, hugs away,
The risk’s our own at Tokyo, bound for the Olympics.
They don’t insist vaccines be had, sneeze away, bugs away,
But mask up for Olympiad, bound for the Olympics.
 
We’ll wave our flags and banners bold, hip hooray, hip hooray,
no virus stops us going for gold, bound for the Olympics.
Do not cheer but clap your hands, hip hooray, hip hooray,
to make up for half-empty stands, bound for the Olympics.
 
When Florida said ‘hey Tokyo, USA, USA,
We’ll host instead’, Japan said ‘No, we’re keeping the Olympics.’
The athletes had to wait a year, train away, strain away,
their medal thirst is in top gear, bound for the Olympics.
 
They shout, ‘Olympics, here I come,’ sneeze away, cough away,
‘You’ll see me on the podium, winning the Olympics.’
Cheer them on but distantly, hip hooray, hip hooray,
in fact, best watch them on TV, ’21’s Olympics.
Janine Beacham

No. 3190: first and worst

You are invited to supply the first paragraph of your least favourite type of novel. Please email entries of up to 150 words to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 10 March.

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