X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Competition

Competition: Fallen angels

23 June 2012

6:00 AM

23 June 2012

6:00 AM

In Competition No. 2751 you were invited to paint a portrait in verse of Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot. In his Turf column last year, Robin Oakley wondered what the poet who, in 1823, described ‘the Thursday goings-on as “Ladies Day …when the women, like angels, look sweetly divine”’ would make of today’s proceedings. Well, the entry is a fulsome tribute to the Ladies of 2012, urging us to delight in the life-enhancing antics and ensembles that raise them hats and shoulder pads above their ‘angelic’ predecessors. The winners pocket £25 apiece. Brian Allgar gets £30.

The ladies are charming, although it’s alarming
To see how they jostle and chatter —
‘And guess what he said, dear…’ — while wearing
such headgear,
So fragile I fear it may shatter.

We’ve the usual collections of fruity confections,
But this year they’re mostly organic;
The rotting bananas would fill up a barn as
The hats grow increasingly manic.

Here’s one that’s quite ‘dishy’: a hat that is fishy,
Embellished with flounders and kippers.
(And bottoms are flaunted, their owners
undaunted,
Though few as delightful as Pippa’s.)

The girls are angelic, and only a relic
Could wish that these beanstalks were fatter.
But as for the hats, I’ve just one word, and that’s
That their wearers are mad as a hatter!
Brian Allgar

You would not mistake them for ladies
In the old-fashioned sense of the term,
These brazen young floozies from Hades
Who make Ascot’s upper crust squirm.

They move in a pack or battalion.
Their handbags are loaded with gin,
Their colour sense rather Italian
And orange the shade of their skin.

[Alt-Text]


They tweet like a bevy of lemurs;
They smoke like a broken exhaust;
Their skirts soon ride up to their femurs;
But their natural joy is unforced.

Don’t address them with sour admonitions
As they frolic and blare in the sun.
Try to shake off your own inhibitions,
And nuts to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.
G.M. Davis

Horses, course, the runners, riders
Form the backdrop while the rich
Take their place as rank insiders
In this festival of kitsch:

Men are decorous in toppers
Parading ladies round their paddock —
Some wear soufflé, some wear whoppers;
Some look louder than Ruth Madoc.
Flanks unsweating, nostrils flaring —
Milliners are whipped who’ve idled —
The fashionistas, stared at, staring,
Strut and preen, their style unbridled.

On the Ascot catwalk teeter
Goddesses no suns diminish —
Each one is a female praetor
Hoping for a photo finish.
Bill Greenwell

Ladettes and golden lasses — all
these angels undone in their Fall —
whose starting-gate is Waterloo,
this giggling gaggle’s rendezvous —
who teeter, totter in tall heels,
who grate the air with steel-sharp squeals,
and, breakfasted on Chardonnay,
are lit up for the coming day.
The Ascot scene is set ablaze
in ever more outlandish ways:
is that a skirt, or bandage? Yes!
she’s really knickerless! Who’d guess —
although they’re wriggly, squirmier —
some will get hypothermia
plus, next day, being exposed (front page!)
to righteous readers’ morning rage.
D.A. Prince

Bowls of fruit, bouquets of flowers,
Things like feathered cocktail mats,
Boldly geometric towers,
Birds on bobbing habitats,
That, my dears, was just the hats.
Thigh-length boots and silver slippers
Six inch heels in reds and blues
Wedgies shaped like sparkling flippers,
Obviously Jimmy Choos.
Such impracticable shoes!

Then a storm blew up from nowhere,
Clouds disgorged from skies turned grey:
Surely fashionable rainwear
Is a safer card to play
On an Ascot Ladies’ Day!
Alanna Blake

When the women like angels look sweetly divine
In their frocks and their hats of exciting design,
When the Widow’s on ice and the weather is fine,
It’s a wonderful day at the races!

The hampers from Fortnums are bursting with
pheasant,
The sun on your face is remarkably pleasant,
And nobody here is a pleb or a peasant,
A marvellous day at the races!

There’s nothing to smack of deceit or skulduggery,
No foul-ups, no punch-ups, no theft and no
thuggery,
Just gee-gees all shifting their arses like buggery,
A fabulous day at the races!

Lovely ladies, sweet ladies, how graceful your gait,
As you teeter and totter in rather a state,
And my nags all come in at a-hundred-to-eight,
An astonishing day at the races!
John Whitworth

No. 2754: political verse

You are invited to submit an example from the Selected Poems of a contemporary politician (16 lines maximum). Please email entries, where possible, to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 3 July.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close