From Russia With Spuds

At some time in his life, almost every man has a dream of being James Bond. Glamour, danger, excitement, fast cars, fancy weemin. . . . mine was mainly about spuds!

This was the result of a drug-induced nightmare I had last winter. I had a bad cold, took a shovelful of Benylin cough mixture, and fell asleep in the armchair, and woke up in a cold sweat, with explosions going off all around me – this poem was the result!

One thing you need to know – Ireland’s greatest potato crisp company is called Tayto, and their head office is in an old castle in the village of Tandragee, in County Armagh.

Incidentally, the name ‘Tandragee’ comes from an Irish Gaelic phrase meaning ‘arse to the wind’, an excellent piece of advice you would appreciate if you have ever stood on top of Tandragee hill!


Bard of Armagh Winner 2015

It was a stag night out in Dublin, I had drunk a bit too well

I got picked up by the bloody Guards, and chucked into a cell!

They said ‘We need a bloke like you, with neither brains nor fear,

For the Irish Secret Service needs a suicide volunteer!

I was somewhat reluctant, for it seemed a wee bit naff,

But the bottle of Jamison in me volunteered on my behalf!

I was rushed to a secret block of flats, in a car boot big and swift

I think it was in Ballymun – there was horse dung in the lift!

The office was a bit rundown, with a photo of Enda Kenny

The secretary was a fat oul doll – called Mrs Hasntapenny

She said ‘The boss is waiting, this assignment will be tricky

We just refer to him as ‘M’, ‘cos his name is actually Micky

He told me straight – the Country’s cowped, we’re down to our last duds,

And now the Bloody Russian Mafia are stealing all our spuds

It’s run by the Ovarenko twins – Tamara and Yuri-Toh

They are just known by their initials – T. A. Y. T. O!

Their hideout is in an ancient castle, as scary as can be

Sez I, ‘In Transylvania?’ He says ‘No – in Tandragee!’

They’re making crisps and fancy stuff, against our Irish ways

Ye couldn’t get a plate of champ for love nor cash these days!

We sent in our greatest agent, of whom we’re very fond

Agent Double-O Six-and-a-half: almost as good as James Bond!

He went undercover three weeks ago, disguised in a milkman kit,

We haven’t heard a dicky bird, so we fear he’s in deep . .  trouble!

Equipment is in short supply, since the Celtic Tiger died

But talk to ‘Q’, he’ll fix you up, with the best can be supplied,

Well, they took me to the basement, to meet this skinny geek

He says ‘Too bad – our Datsun Sunny’s up for its test this week

I can give you a GT donkey and cart, it’s better than having to walk

It’s not allowed on the M1, so you’ll need to go through Dundalk

This hedgehog is your turbocharger, never known to fail,

In case of a real emergency, shove it under the donkey’s tail!

It also has an ejection seat – just poke the donkey’s bum

It will kick you AND the bloody cart from here to kingdom come!

Come here and pick yourself a pen – I says will it kill on sight?

He says, no, but if you’re lucky, you might one that will write!

He handed me a special watch, saying treat this as your own

It automatically goes two hours late if you’ve a meeting in Tyrone!

Well, I made up to Tandragee, and broke in to their secret lair

Agent Double-O Six-and-a half was tied to a big conveyor.

Yuri was feeding him very slowly into the crisp machine

His evil laugh was echoing across that dreadful scene.

Tamara shouted “Die, you fool – how you do it, I’m not fussy”

As she sat there in her big armchair, stroking her huge hairy cat

I jumped in and yelled ‘You can’t do that’, without a trace of fear

This is a food preparation area – you can’t have a cat in here!

She recoiled, and shrieked in horror, for I knew she had forgot

If the Health Inspectors came, they’d be closed down like a shot

The TAYTO twins they disappeared, while the roof came tumbling down,

With gratuitous explosions, and dead bodies flying all round

Too late for 006 1/2, the machine could not be halted

His legs are cheese and onion now, and his arse is ready salted.

As I staggered from the wreckage, with a pounding at my heart

A Rose-of-Tralee contestant roared up in the donkey and cart

As we drove off into the sunset, side by side, just a perfect match

She whispered ‘Q has sent me – let me help you off with . . . that watch!

She drove me to a tiny cottage, with wild roses round the door

Then I just fell out of bed, and woke up, on the cold cell floor!