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A Spike In The Level Of Nonsense




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Terence Alan Milligan, known as 'Spike' (1918-2002) dedicated his life to making people laugh, through his performances on radio and television, through his poems and memoirs, and often just by being himself. A BBC poll in 1999 voted Spike 'The funniest person of the last 1,000 years.' -That's some accolade. Spike was the chief creator and writer of the famous Goon Show, a British radio comedy programme, performed from 1951 to 1960. The cast also included, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine.

Spike revelled in funny poems. He was influenced by Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, two famous English poets of the past who also loved extravagant wordplay and nonsensical stories. 
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His verse was considered to be within the genre of literary nonsense. His most famous poem, On the Ning Nang Nong, was voted the UK's favourite comic poem in 1998 in a nationwide poll, ahead of other nonsense poets including Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. It remains a favourite, and is commonly taught  in primary schools in the UK. This same nonsense verse, set to music, also became a favourite Australia-wide, performed week after week by the ABC children's programme 'Playschool.'

Here are a few of my personal Spike Milligan favourites:


On The Ning Nang Nong
On the Ning Nang Nong 
Where the Cows go Bong! 
and the monkeys all say BOO! 
There's a Nong Nang Ning 
Where the trees go Ping! 
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo. 
On the Nong Ning Nang 
All the mice go Clang 
And you just can't catch 'em when they do! 
So its Ning Nang Nong 
Cows go Bong! 
Nong Nang Ning 
Trees go ping 
Nong Ning Nang 
The mice go Clang 
What a noisy place to belong 
is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!! 
Spike Milligan


Granny
Through every nook and every cranny
The wind blew in on poor old Granny
Around her knees, into each ear
(And up her nose as well, I fear)

All through the night the wind grew worse
It nearly made the vicar curse
The top had fallen off the steeple
Just missing him (and other people)

It blew on man, it blew on beast
It blew on nun, it blew on priest
It blew the wig off Auntie Fanny-
But most of all, it blew on Granny! 
Spike Milligan

Said Hamlet To Ophelia
Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
I'll draw a sketch of thee.
What kind of pencil shall I use?
2B or not 2B?


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Comments

  1. These are delightful poems Alan—Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll are favorites of mine, thanks for introducing me to Spike Milligan and his books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are indeed delightful Michelle. Spike sits easily alongside Lear and Carroll as a great exponent of nonsense verse.

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