Wednesday, 21 July 2010

There Once Was a Tory Named Hunt ...

In a whistle-stop tour of the Capital's artistic venues and ventures, Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary, gave every indication that he was approaching his new role with energy and vigour.

In an astonishing act of oneupmanship, the Culture Secretary had already pledged to cut his departmental workforce by 50% and move the rest of them into a cupboard off the M25 corridor.

"I've nothing against ex-ballet dancers an' operatic types, but they're not very clever with an 'ole-punch, an'll 'ave ter go," he announced to BBC Radio 4's James Naughtie at the beginning of a culturally diverse day. "I want ter start me day with a mug of tea, not a friggin' demi-plié."

As he left the radio studio, an unattended mic picked up something that sounded suspiciously like: "An' don' think yer job is safe either, yer jumped up little haggis!" although Mr Hunt's personal assistant refused to give confirmation of this.

Next stop : Tate Modern. In a long and convoluted speech which clearly owed much to the Surrealist and Dadaist artistic movements, Mr Hunt concluded: "Me? I know nuffink bar t'art, bu' I know I don' like it."

He received a muted applause from Sir Nicholas Serota.

Mid-morning, at a meeting of the T.S. Eliot Prize committee, Hunt hinted that there would be no Government funding for poetic sagas, sestinas, villanelles or laureates.

"If yer can't say it in five lines, is it worth sayin' at all?" he shouted at a packed room of delighted poets who had only heard his final category of cut.

At Covent Garden he pleaded a flash migraine and asked "the fat cow in the toga to put a sock in it" during a dress rehearsal of Verdi's Aida and told the "fairy in tights to take the sock out" during a similar rehearsal of The Nutcracker. Hunt laughed uproariously at his final remark and said, "Now that's what I call Culture. The great Bernard Manning never got a subsidy!"

Mr Hunt's visits received a mixed reception. The African Parrot and Tango Collective were sniffy about his reaction to a piece of Public Art assembled from 250,000 redundant vuvuzelas.

"He offered to torch the lot, " said Segun Franko, Chief Zela-sculptor. "And the English football squad with it."

Hunt has told The Arts to fund their work with charitable donations as Government funding is cut to the bone.

"Philanthropy should fill the gap easily," he said. "Get all the unemployed actresses out on the streets rattlin' tins. I'd slip a farthin' to a pretty girl."

In a bid to lead by example, Hunt offered a year's supply of Toffee Crisps and a £15 Book Token as first prize in the Jeremy Hunt Inaugural Limerick Competition.

Mrs Rollocks (57) of Putney Hill, was very impressed. "The Country's not been unified by the death of a celebrity for ages now. Let's get behind Mr Hunt. A National Limerick Competition is just what we need," she grinned. "And it will certainly take the poetic spotlight off me."


  1. Thanks. I'm still chuckling.

  2. There once was a Tory named Hunt
    Who had the impertinent front
    To come to the `Pool
    And act like a tool
    When everyone knows he’s a Culture Secretary.

  3. A Tory called Jeremy Hunt
    Decreed Arts should bear The Cuts' brunt
    He cut payroll in half
    By dismissing his staff
    What an ambitious and ruthless old tosser!

  4. There was a young Tory called Hunt
    Who said: 'Look, I have to be blunt
    There's nowt in the purse
    For dancers and verse
    - Especially the rhyming ones, you cunning bard!'