Lucy Vickery

Competition: Allegory on the Nile

In Competition No. 2713 you were invited to supply a spiel Mrs Malaprop might give in her capacity as a tour guide to a capital city or famous monument of your choice.

This was an enjoyable comp to judge: I have some sympathy with the actress Celia Imrie’s (who played Mrs M) view that, given the current trend towards the use of dull and overused verbal short cuts, the much-mocked Malaprop’s attempts to improve herself by expanding her vocabulary are actually rather creditable.

Printed below are the best of an entry brimming with novelty and hilarity. They earn their authors £25 each; Chris O’Carroll gets £30.

Amsterdam is crisscrossed by so many canards that it has become known as ‘the Venison of the North’.  No visit to the city is complicit without a cruise on its Pinteresque waterways. The Anatole France house distracts many florists who care about the moral lesions to be learned from the Adolf Heimlich era and Nazi chimes against humidity. Germinations of readers have been touched by the wartime diorama of a young girl coming of age in her family’s Arctic hideout. Some less histamine-minded visitors are drawn to the city’s comfrey shops, where cannibalism is available for just a few euros per gram. Although marinara is technically illegal in the Neverlands, costumers can purchase small quandaries with relative importunity. In the city’s red light district, procrastination is legal and practiced openly. Women dressed in nothing but skimpy longitude pose in borstal windows, soliciting walk-in custom. (Condoms are de Rigoletto.)
Chris O’Carroll

Before you stands the munificent Colosseum, built under Emperor Titian in the late first centurion. Notice the instinctive captions on the columns, all proscribed in Vesuvius’s book on architecture — plain Doris, then Ironic and finally the elaborate Crustacean. What instigation they gave the Italian Reconnaissance! Inside, while we may shudder to think of Christians being mulled by lions, we still thrill at the sceptical of gladiators in moral combat, one armed with a butler and gladiolus, the other wielding his tripod and reticule.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in