FIVE SONGS WRITTEN AND PERFORMED

BY CHRISTOPHER MASON

AT A DINNER TO MARK THE END OF THE UNITED  KINGDOM’S PRESIDENCY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

HOSTED BY SIR EMYR AND LADY JONES PARRY,

THE COLONY CLUB,

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2005


“BETTER GRADE OF LEATHER

IN THEIR BULLETPROOF MERCEDES”


(to the tune of “I Am the Very Model Of a Modern Major General”)

The great United Nations has a very fine tradition

Of electing gross offenders to its Human Rights Commission,

So Cuba, China and Sudan can lecture lesser nations

On justice, peace, equality and cordial relations;


Geneva’s fine conventions, they all say, are just the ticket,

If other nations torture folks, they’ll tell them where to stick it;

The Bush administration is a stickler for details:

They say, “We never, never torture prisoners - not in U.S. jails.”


And thanks to the U.N. we’ll rid the world of the oppressors

And Burma says, We must hang tough, just don’t call us aggressors.


Regarding the environment, the U.N. has commissions

To rap the knuckles of the nations spewing forth emissions,

The forum on world forests tries, but Boy, it’s quite a caper:

Each year its large reports consume a trillion bits of paper!


Despite all best intentions for clean air and doing good,

The creaky old U.N. is nearly bursting with dead wood;

In Montreal last week there was a great deal of hot air,

Which burned up all the ozone, so it’s too late for repair!


Sustainable development’s a very worthy cause

For nations trapped in poverty and fraught with civil wars

And billions in foreign aid are funneled to the needy

And not, of course, to third-world politicians who are greedy;


As Oil For Food has taught us, there’s a small whiff of corruption,

Which might have carried on without Paul Volcker’s interruption;

The good news is, that’s in the past, reform is on its way,

As Mugabi said to Fidel Castro just the other day.


And UN cash will never flow so tyrants fit for Hades

Can have better grades of leather in their bulletproof Mercedes!



“JOYFUL EUROPEAN NATIONS

(DESPITE THE ZEAL OF STAFFORD NEALL & MUNIR AKRAM’S SHINY HAIR”)


(to the tune of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy)

Joyful European nations, unified, of one accord,

Thanks to fifty thousand meetings,

Some through which you may have snored;

With Britain leading every proceeding,

Sir Em Jones Parry ruled as chief;

Spoke for hours, then told his colleagues:

“Better keep your comments brief!”


As the U.N. summit dawned,

The Tuesday meetings dragged like hell;

Somehow that sweet goal, consensus,

Seemed elusive, one tough sell;

Emboldened Em marched to the U.N.,

In con-frence room nine he triumphed there,

Despite the zeal of Stafford Neall

And Munir Akram’s shiny hair!


After every noble summit

Expectations rise and fall,

States who pledged cooperation

Wind up doing bugger all;

Brits know full well:

The follow up’s hell,

With conflicts galore to test their pluck;

Brits don’t want to hog the glory,

Austria’s next, and best of luck!



“I AM THE VERY MODEL OF A U.N. E.U. AMBASSADOR”


(To the tune of “I Am the Very Model of A Modern Major General”)

There’s quite a nasty rumor which he’s trying hard to squelch,

That Emyr isn’t British, that’s because he’s merely Welsh;

So every time he makes a speech, his English must be checked

By the Indian ambassador to make sure it’s correct!


With marvelous aplomb – and quite a feat of ingenuity –

He’s mastered the fine art they call “constructive ambiguity,”

While others stare in awe at his stupendous, rare acuity,

They think, “My God! He’s Welsh!” So it’s quite an incongruity!


As European ambassadors, for the past six months you’ve had the exquisite pleasure of hearing Ambassador Jones Parry addressing the United Nations on your behalf. And since you’re so diverse, every time he announces an EU statement it involves quite a bit of – how shall I put it – foreplay. It’s a rigmarole that goes something like this:


As president I’m privileged to speak on the behalf

Of 35 great nations, when I list them, please don’t laugh;

A list like this could really give a fellow schizophrenia,

There’s France and Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia,


Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic and there’s Sweden,

And Ireland, Spain and Portugal, a veritable Eden ,

There’s Austria and Belgium, Cyprus, Malta, Lithuania

And also the acceding ones, Bulgaria and Romania;


There’s Luxembourg and Greece, of course, and Germany and Italy,

All holding hands in harmony, intent on global peace, yippee!

There’s Latvia, the Netherlands, Great Britain won’t apologize:

It’s not a U.S. lapdog though some Frenchmen might think otherwise;


Let’s not forget the candidates, there’s Turkey and Croatia, and

There’s also the potential states, Albania, and that merry band

Of Bosnia HerzeGOVina, Macedonia if you’re lucky

And Serbia Montenegro, which is smaller than Kentucky;


There’s also the Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova,

My name’s Emyr Jones Parry and thank God my term is over!



THE IDEAL EUROPEAN

Presidents of the E.U. have a marvelous opportunity to observe the foibles of every nation within the European Union. To be an ideal European, it seems, you need to be:


(To the tune of Tom Lehrer’s I Got It From Alice)

As sober as an Irishman,

Talkative as a Finn,

Humorous as a German,

Oh, just try to get one to grin – it’s impossible!

Humble as a Spaniard,

Flexible as a Swede

And if you seek consensus,

A Swede is just what you need.


Available as a Belgian,

With the cooking skills of a Brit,

As patient as an Austrian,

That’s rare – you have to admit;

Generous as a Dutchman,

Discreet just like a Dane

And drive just like a Frenchman

Dans la pluie, I mean in the rain.


As wild as a Luxemburger

Out to have a ball,

Be controlled as an Italian

And you’ll have...no fun at all!



THE CURSE OF U.N. ACRONYMS

As all of you know, the U.N. has six official languages, but the most important language, and the most baffling, is the unofficial seventh language of acronyms -- the only language for which there is no direct translation. I asked Lynn Jones Parry what she thought of acronyms at the U.N., and she cried, “They’re the bane of my existence.”  So in tribute to Lynn, here’s my final song this evening, about the curse of acronyms.


(To the tune of John Brown’s Body Lies A-moldering In the Grave)

As the U.N.F.P.A. E.B. was meeting one fine day,

The hair of the P.R. to the U.N. was turning grey;

He said it’s slipped my mind again, now what’s I.A.E.A?

No, not the E.C.A.


There’s been some acrimony over acronyms, you see,

Even clever folk can’t tell U.N.E.P from E.C.E;

If you worry which is which you may just need an E.K.G.

Before U.N.D.P.


CHORUS:

C.P.C., S.G. and A.U.

Complicate life and dismay you,

At HQ they may delay you

As acronyms abound.


There’s been some controversy at the A.C.A.B.Q.

At the U.N.H.C.R. the I.T.C. and U.N.U.

As they scratch their heads and cry “Now what the hell’s the I.T.U?”

It’s all so damned non-U!


A plan’s afoot to banish U.N. acronyms, yippee!

But the D.P.I. and J.I.U. just simply can’t agree;

Just to put it to the vote, of course, they’ll need a Q.M.V.

Oh no!

Oh drat!

Oh gee!


© Christopher Mason, New York, December 15, 2005 212-777-8334