Weedy poet Dennis Beerpint recently received a commission from PIG to write a ballade in celebration of the election of its new Presidento. PIG, for those of you wallowing in ignorance, stands for the Porridge Information Groupuscule, a body devoted to promoting the sale and consumption of porridge in every corner of the land.
Since he became a beatnik, Beerpintâ€™s Muse has deserted him, and he has written nothing except for fragmentary squibs. He accepted the commission, partly because of the generous fee and partly in the hope that his versifying gifts might be reborn. Alas, he spent many hours sat staring hopelessly out of the window with an empty brain.
Finally, in desperation, he cast around in anthologies for something which, if he could not quite pass off as his own, he could tinker with, or use as a model. As luck would have it, he discovered George Huddesfordâ€™s 1802 poem The scum uppermost when the Middlesex porridge-pot boils over :Â an heroic election ballad with explanatory notes : accompanied with : An admonitory nod to a blind horse. Here was a work that fitted the bill perfectly, featuring not only porridge and elections, but horses and scum. As I write, Beerpint is mucking about with the text to turn it into something he can call his own.
Huddesford, incidentally, had a way with titles, among his other published pieces being Bubble And Squeak : A Gallimaufry of British Beef with the Chopped Cabbage of Gallic Philosophy (1799). As for PIG, it is held by some of the members that the proper title of Timothy Moâ€™s 1991 novel The Redundancy Of Courage should in fact be The Consistency Of Porridge, though this is thought to be a comment on its prose style.