Mike Hosking.

Bardic oracle Victor Billot connects food prices and El Hosk

The Parable of the Wise Balrog and the Inflated Chickens

Outside the walls, in the dark of midnight,
the old dark, the shadowed dark,
a nameless beast screams and gibbers
and horribly inflates all manner of goods.
Inside the walls, the commoners huddle
and shudder; and in the cold light of dawn,
floating overhead, sail dark omens.
Lo, an inflated, swollen chicken tumbles past.
Hark! Inflated candlesticks like fat balloons.
Then inflated mugs of real ale.
Then inflated whale oil for steam powered carts.
Far, far over the heads of the commoners,
float these ghastly apparitions;
and despite all the running and shouting,
the miraculous inflated goods soar
high above their reach into the heavens.
What fell magick is this? say the commoners,
and demandeth answers of the knowledgeable ones,
The Economists and The Market Commentators.
A shaman in a furred loincloth consults
the entrails of a rare pre-inflated chicken.
A necromancer in a purple silk cape
waves his wand and disappears in a puff of smoke.
Lo, the Economists know not the answers.
Have we displeased the Gods? wonder the plebeians.
The Queendom is rudderless and bemused:
the Red Empress currently absent
in Xanadu, where Kubla Khan
a stately photo opportunity decreed.
What is the cause of this inflationary curse?
Baron Luxon points at the Chancellor.
The Chancellor looks up briefly
from his printing press,
and points towards the distant wars
in Bessarabia and the Kingdom of Ut.
The Elf Princess of Novavax knows not;
the Taniwha of Local Government knows not;
the Boy Prince Christopher of Orange knows not;
the Magenta Warty Toad Seymour knows not;
the Mad Lady of Oravida is chained raving in the attic;
Lord Winston noddeth off in his slippers and pantaloons.
But ONE knoweth:
one with ancient and mighty wisdom.
El Hosk, the Balrog of Talkback Mountain,
stirs in his Great Caverns after aeons of silence.
O Balrog, cry the little people. Why? What?
How can we deinflate our floating chickens and ale?
El Hosk speaks, and the land trembles.
Pay you must for your idolatry of the Red Empress:
and until you desist in your nanny state terror,
I will be driving to the nearest Isle of Koru
in my late model Alfa Romeo sports cart,
and flying out on a Premium Class balloon
to a tropical resort for oppressed Balrogs;
and you will be denied my Great Wisdom.
And the people wailed and gnashed their teeth
in Outer Darkness; for the vengeance of the Gods
was harsh;
and their punishment most subtle.

Victor Billot has previously felt moved to compose Odes for such luminaries as Ashley Bloomfield, Clarke Gayford, Centurion Andronicus, Brian Tamaki, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, and Garrick Tremain.

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