Monday, 4 July 2016

The TalkTalk "support" experience

Another offering from the Darn-Poor Rhymer


There’s a fault on my phone line,
Dear Talktalk, dear Talktalk,
There’s a fault on my phone line,
Dear Talktalk, a fault!

Then look on our website,
Dear Neil, dear Neil,
Then look on our website,
And make a report!

There’s no form to report it,
Dear Talktalk, dear Talktalk,
There’s no form to report it,
Dear Talktalk, no form!

Then fire up your mobile,
Dear Neil, dear Neil,
Then fire up your mobile,
Dear Neil, call us!

I don’t have a mobile,
Dear Talktalk, dear Talktalk,
I don’t have a mobile,
So I can’t call you!

Then send us an e-mail,
Dear Neil, dear Neil,
Then send us an e-mail,
Dear Neil, just Send!

The subject is technical,
Dear Talktalk, dear Talktalk,
So my e-mail should go to
Which Talktalk address?

Oh, our techies don’t do e-mail,
Dear Neil, dear Neil,
Our techies don’t do e-mail;
Dear Neil, try Chat!

My Chat’s disconnected,
Dear Talktalk, dear Talktalk,
My Chat’s disconnected,
Dear Talktalk, what next?

Try Chat for a second time,
Dear Neil, dear Neil,
A third time, a fourth time,
Dear Neil, and a fifth!

You’ve now logged the problem,
Dear Talktalk, dear Talktalk,
You’ve now logged the problem,
In an hour and a half.

We’ll call with an update,
Dear Neil, dear Neil,
We’ll call with an update,
Dear Neil, we’ll call!

There’s a fault on my phone line,
Dear Talktalk, dear Talktalk,
There’s a fault on my phone line,
Dear Talktalk, a fault!


Sunday, 3 July 2016

Politics on the planet zaláx

(Neil's Note: This is a section from an article in a copy of the Great Galactic Encyclopaedia, which recently fell into a space-time warp and miraculously ended up on Earth. It describes the history of the political system on a highly civilized planet which the inhabitants call zaláx, meaning “no place”.)

The zaláxpaxīm, as they call themselves, are extremely individualistic. Therefore they don’t have any politics, in the sense in which that word is used by uncivilized and pre-Galactic species today.

Long ago, different pieces of land on zaláx were ruled over by different monarchs. These petty tyrants imposed, on the individuals who happened to live in their realms, whatever laws they thought they could get away with. They also stole between 5 and 10 per cent of individuals’ total wealth each year. They kept some of this wealth for themselves, and distributed the rest to their favourite cronies. In addition, when they attacked or were attacked by other monarchs (which was frequent), they would also demand military assistance from “their” people. From those days come several now disused words in the dictionary, like “monarch” (bapérxh), “tax” (boxhfêx) and “war” (zâgh).

At what is called the Great Awakening (zīmŷlxh), the idea took root that all zaláxpaxīm are morally equal. The first implication of this was that what is right and wrong in a particular situation is the same for every individual zaláxpax of the species. This led to attempts to codify or write down what is right and what is wrong in each set of circumstances. To act rightly is én, so this code of law was called zebexén (literally, “list act rightly”), and the procedure which went with it was called tēchmabéx (justice), literally meaning “hand equal number.” The primary mark of this justice was (and is) that every individual deserves to be treated as they treat others.

All taxes and wars were ended by the new code. But some monarchs had imposed harsher laws than others (for example, prostitution had been illegal in many realms, and guns illegal in some). The new code included only those laws which were common to all realms, or should have been common to all realms according to the view of the sages of the day. Individuals were free to contract with others to mutually keep to stricter codes of law (zebexhén) if they wished.

The second implication was that the monarchs and their cronies could have no privileges over those who lived in their former realms. And in particular, land and other property that individuals had fairly and rightly earned should belong to them, not be plundered. This led to what was called the Justification (tēchmabéxdax). This was far from a socialistic idea; it did not take away from the monarchs or their cronies anything they owned that wasn’t rightly someone else’s. It merely returned to all zaláxpaxīm the rights to what they had justly earned.

The third implication was that the monarchs and their cronies had to find some way to live, other than by stealing or making war on other monarchs. Many, indeed most, of them offered their services as judges (tēchmabéxpax) in return for a payment. As the market for justice became more competitive, a system grew up whereby anyone could offer their services as a judge, if clients would have them.

Judges could award compensation (īhomfêx) for damage done. Some of them, at first, imposed criminal punishments (zapenza’endál) too. However zaláxpaxīm, like all fully Galactic species, are by nature extremely honest, and will ostracize those they consider to be criminals (zapenza’ôr or “criminal not see”). So today, murder (zapenza’ŷlxhma) is the only crime which carries a punishment beyond restitution and ostracism.

When zaláxpaxīm joined the Galaxy, they found that Galactic law (galaxhén) was very similar to their own code. So they describe other species and individuals, who obey such codes, as pén, a good person; or galáxhlō, like a Galactic.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

A Brief History of England

A Brief History of England
From 871 to the Present
(To be sung, by those with stamina, to “While shepherds watched their flocks by night”)
By The Darn-Poor Rhymer

King Alfred first did codify
The English common law,
Which does to everyone apply;
To rich as well as poor.

The men of Wessex ruled the lands,
The forests and the plains.
But then, along came raiding-bands;
So next, we tried the Danes.

Wise King Canute said to his moot,
While sitting by the sea,
“My friends, you may give me the boot
If one wave touches me.”

But English history has a tide
That’s predisposed to tangles;
Canute’s descendants were off-side.
So next, we tried the Angles.

King Harry nearly did manage
To stave off relegation;
He won away at Stamford Bridge!
But then he lost the nation.

That bastard William fought his way
Through ditch, and bog, and trench;
An arrow ended Harry’s day.
So next, we tried the French.

The Domesday Tax, the Rufus Stone,
Are Norman monuments;
King Henry, too, made people moan,
All at their own expense.

King Stephen’s reign was anarchy,
And monstrous were his debts;
We needed change, as all could see.
We tried Plantagenets.

To John, the barons would not cede;
Submission? A non-starter.
They forced him, thus, to Runnymede,
To sign the Magna Carta.

King Edward did expel the Jew,
And taxed haves and have-nots.
The Welshmen first he did subdue,
Then hammered the poor Scots.

At Crécy did the longbows twang,
Poitiers and Agincourt.
Again, again, the arrows sang
For England; ’twas fine sport.

Alas! The century long fight
Was by mad Henry lost.
And soon the Red Rose and the White
Were warring, at great cost.

Bad Richard’s hopes of governing
In Bosworth’s mud did squelch;
No nail, no shoe, no horse, no King.
So next, we tried the Welsh.

King Henry Eight six wives did wed;
Divorced, beheaded, passed
Away, dismissed, gave up her head,
But one did him outlast.

Soon Bloody Mary did the land
With martyrs’ gore bespot;
And Good Queen Bess remained unmanned,
So next, we tried a Scot.

King Charlie’s reign was full of tears,
The people up were fed;
So Henry Burton lost his ears,
But Charlie lost his head.

An Interregnum then ensued;
Our lives got rather gnarly.
So, as the military argued,
We tried another Charlie.

The new king tolerance avowed;
Our hopes had ne’er been higher.
But Protestants and Catholics rowed,
And we had plague and fire.

When James came king, ’twas quite a jolt.
We didn’t like it much;
There was rebellion and revolt.
So then, we tried the Dutch.

King William bred no Orange men;
Beset by many doubts,
We briefly tried the Danes again,
And then we tried the Krauts.

But England was no more. Alas!
In 1707,
An “Act of Union” they did pass,
Abolishing our heaven.

Three centuries we’ve had since then;
Mixed fortunes, hopes and fears.
Yet, more and more, we Englishmen
Have been reduced to tears.

Now Silly Lizzie sits astride
A throne that’s but a token,
There’s no more justice, no more pride;
Society is broken.

King Dave, King Tony, Drongo too,
Have given us no quarter;
They’d like to flush us down the loo,
Had they sufficient water.

King Alfred, if he came again,
Would likely douse the floor
With tears, at seeing evil men
Corrupt his common law.

Yet honest Englishmen, I know,
On England’s soil still roam.
And Alfred would be pleased, I trow,
That England’s still our home.

Monday, 4 January 2016

On Nigel Farage's Mishap

By The Darn-Poor Rhymer

A hater of Farage,
Went to his garage,
And unscrewed four wheels, some say;
Intending his Volvo
To do a re-volv-o,
And that would be his last day.

I no more like UKIP
Than I enjoy puke dip
Commingled with turds and hay;
But I hope Froggie Plod
Gets the murderous sod,
And the magistrats put him away.

Monday, 21 December 2015

A Christmas Carol - music by the Tippling Philosopher

The Tippling Philosopher has been hard at work in the run-up to Christmas. He's composed the tune for a Christmas carol and entered it into BBC Radio 3's carol competition. As the Darn-Poor Rhymer was on holiday, poet Roger McGough stepped in to write the words.

Unfortunately, the Philosopher's entry didn't quite make it into the short list of 6 (though he thinks it's better than two of those that did).

Click here to listen to a MIDI file of the Philosopher's tune.

Click here to see the words and listen to the six shortlisted entries.

Merry Christmas to all.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Pipsqueak Pope

(Neil's Note: The Rhymer is at it again).

There was a boy called Philip Pope,
Who had a voice that never broke.
Sometimes he’d warble, sometimes croak;
And so, we called him Pipsqueak Pope.

Pope Francis now, that climate dipstick,
He makes demands that “the world acts”
In plain denial of the facts.
And so, I call the pope the Pipsqueak.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

But What If It Isn't True?

(I found this one in the Rhymer's archives. It comes from June 2009 - pre-Climategate. But, with a certain gab-fest coming up in Paris, it's very relevant today.)


They tell us there’s global warming,
They tell us that we’re to blame.
They tell us to cut emissions,
They want us to give up wealth.
But, power is habit-forming,
And lies are a route to fame.
So, why should we trust Green visions?
They don’t care about our health.

We all have already suffered,
Bad green laws, and taxes too.
They’re taking away our birthright!
They don’t want us to be free.
Yet one thought comes through, unbuffered:
“But what if it isn’t true?”
Of course it ain’t. So, be forthright,
And speak truth and honesty.