A Christmas “rap” song

santa

Hello there! I recently sent an email to Mike Coupe, Chief Executive of J Sainsbury plc (or “Sainsbury’s”). Here is the email I sent him:

Dear Mr Coupe,

I have written a “rap” Christmas song which I hope to release in time to reach the coveted “Christmas Number 1” slot this year.

The reason I am writing to you is as follows.

In the video I will be dressed as Father Christmas. The backing singers will be dressed as elves. Unfortunately, I don’t own any costumes, so I wonder if you would be kind enough to provide them. In return, as you will see, I have built some advertising for Sainsbury’s into the lyrics of the song.

The title of the song is “I’ve Got Xmas (All Rapped Up)”.

You may notice that I have used the word “Rapped” instead of “Wrapped”. This is intentional; it is a play on words to reflect the fact that the song is a rap song.

You may also notice that I have used the word “Xmas” instead of “Christmas”. There is a common misconception that the word “Xmas” stems from a secular attempt to remove the religious tradition from Christmas by taking the word “Christ” out of “Christmas”. In fact, it is a straightforward abbreviation dating back to the 16th century. I simply use it here to appeal to youngsters who enjoy a bit of linguistic horseplay.

As you may know, many of today’s pop stars use the currency symbol for the US Dollar ($) to replace the letter “S” in their names. Examples include Ke$ha, A$AP Rocky, Travi$ Scott and Joey Bada$$. Unfortunately I have no “S”s in my name. However, I do have three “D”s. I have therefore replaced these with the currency symbol for the Vietnamese Dong (₫).

Here is my song. The lines in brackets are sung by the backing singers:

I’ve Got Xmas (All Rapped Up)
By ₫aniel ₫rummon₫ Harvey

Hello everybody! I’m Father Xmas
I’m a fictional character
A festive superstition
A combination of Saint Nicholas
And an English folkloric tradition
Of the personification of Christmas

(Hey Father Xmas)
Yes that’s me!
(Did you get us a present?)
My music is my gift to you
(Did you get us a present?)
My music is my gift to you

I’ve got Xmas
(He’s got Xmas)
I’ve got Xmas
(He hasn’t got a Lexus)
All rapped up
(Spelt without a “w”)

I’m a lyrical Santa
And while you’re queuing for the panta-
-mime, waiting in line,
Drinking mulled wine
Or soda and lime
(If you’re the designated driver)
Committing no crime
Because crime doesn’t pay
(Don’t drink and drive)

Prancer, Dancer and Rudolph
They’ll be flying over you Dolph
(Who Dolph? Who Dolph?)
You Dolph, Dolph Lundgren,
Who played Ivan Drago in Rocky IV
(Available on DVD from Sainsbury’s)

I’ve got Xmas
(He’s got Xmas)
I’ve got Xmas
(He hasn’t got eczema)
All rapped up
(Spelt without a “w”)

(Instrumental break and fade out)

The last line is not sung by the backing singers; it is simply a musical instruction.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
₫aniel ₫rummon₫ Harvey

I received the following reply:

Dear Mr Harvey

Thanks for your email requesting costumes for your music video. I really enjoyed reading your song.

We appreciate you thinking of us and although we’d like to help and support every request, I’m sorry to say that this isn’t always possible.
Unfortunately, on this occasion we’ll be unable to supply the costumes for your music video, however, I wish you every success in achieving Christmas number 1.

Thanks for getting in contact with us and I look forward to seeing you in store again soon.

Yours sincerely

Claire Black | Executive Office
Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd

I replied as follows:

Dear Claire Black,

Thank you for your kind reply to my email.

I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed reading my song. I have to say that I think you would have enjoyed HEARING my song (and SEEING the accompanying video) significantly more! Unfortunately, without the costumes I requested, this will not be possible.

However I do understand your position – as you say, “although we’d like to help and support every request, I’m sorry to say that this isn’t always possible.” For example, if somebody asked for some cars, you wouldn’t be able to help as you don’t even stock them…except for toy ones!!! (Just a bit of fun).

I was a little confused when you said “I look forward to seeing you in store again soon”. I must admit that I don’t recall our last meeting. The last time I visited Sainsbury’s was in April 2010 when I purchased four pints of full fat milk and some cotton wool from your Badger Farm store. On that occasion I only spoke to the young person on the checkout. Was that you? If so, please accept my sincere apologies for calling you “sonny Jim”. However, I stand by what I said regarding the diaphanous quality of your carrier bags.

Yours sincerely,
₫aniel ₫rummon₫ Harvey

Merry Christmas to all my readers!
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Mysterious goings-on in the coffee shop on Winchester High Street

Winch Nero

With Christmas fast approaching, I have a written a short story as a present to my readers. It is a mystery and a thrilling adventure, with a number of exciting twists and turns.


The man sat alone at the table in the Caffè Nero coffee shop on Winchester High Street. The table was neither at the back of the coffee shop by the toilets nor at the front by the window; it was somewhere in the middle. The table itself was round and potentially made of wood. It would comfortably sit four customers; indeed, there were three available seats around the table in addition to the seat occupied by the lone man.

Ten minutes earlier, the man had entered the coffee shop and joined the back of the queue for coffee or other drinks. When he approached the till, he had ordered a cappuccino, medium. He told the lady behind the till that he would be “drinking in” rather than “taking out”, then he paid – £2.45. Having waited a few minutes for his drink to be served, he took it to a table (the one described above) and sat down.

The man looked a bit like one would imagine James Bond to look like – or what James Bond actually looks like in the films.

He continued to sit alone at the round wooden table for four people in the middle of the coffee shop. During the time that he was sitting there, he only looked at two things. The first thing was the door to the coffee shop, which he looked at every time he heard it open. The door made a noise when it opened, which is why he could hear it. The second of the two things he looked at was his cup of coffee. He looked at this when he took a drink from the cup, in order to avoid spilling the coffee. When he was neither drinking from the cup nor hearing the door open, he looked down at the table. So actually he looked at three things during that time – the door, his cup of coffee and the table.

Suddenly a lady wearing a fez entered the coffee shop. The lone man once again looked up when he heard the sound of the door opening, but this time his eyes fixed on the lady wearing a fez. He raised his right hand, having put down his coffee cup first, and gave a small wave to the lady wearing a fez. She saw him and approached the wooden table and sat down at one of the three available seats.

Some of the other customers in the coffee shop couldn’t help but wonder what this unlikely pair were up to. Tina, a 22-year-old woman working at the coffee machine, said in a regional accent to her colleague, “Here David, what’s going on at that table with those two there do you think?”. But David didn’t hear her, as the noise of the coffee machine was quite loud, and Tina had a tendency to mumble.

As it turned out, the customers (and staff) didn’t need to wonder what the unlikely pair were up to; simply by observing, they would find out.

The lone man and the lady in the fez exchanged no spoken words. Instead, the lady reached into the bag which she had been carrying with her and now held in her lap. It was a brown bag which looked like it was made of leather, but may have been made of plastic – one would only know by sniffing it. From her bag she produced a white envelope, which she placed on the table in front of her and then slid across the table towards the man.

To clarify, it was the envelope which she slid across the table, not herself.

Having completed this action, the lady stood up, turned around and left the coffee shop, possibly forever. The man watched her leave and again heard the familiar sound of the door opening. It made a similar noise when it closed, but in reverse.

He picked up the envelope which was now in front of him on the table. He thought about how it had started out as one sheet of paper cut into the shape of a rhombus; the envelope structure had been created by folding the sheet sides around a central rectangular area, leaving an arrangement of four flaps on the reverse side. He grasped one of these flaps in his muscular hand, lifted it, and pulled out the contents of the envelope.

It was a card, with a picture of a sailing boat on the front. He opened the card, and read what was written inside. “Dear Michael,” it said, “Happy Birthday, love from Mummy”.

David Cameron’s legal revelations

David Cameron

Today I sent the following email to our Prime Minister, David Cameron:

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to say how much I enjoyed your speech this morning on controlling immigration. As usual, everything you said made a great deal of sense. I was particularly impressed with the following:

“So we’ll take a radical step – we’ll make illegal working a criminal offence…So if you’re involved in illegal working – you’re breaking the law.”

Congratulations on taking a tough stance on this. It’s about time!

I must admit, I had been under the impression that if a person does something illegal then they are, by definition, breaking the law. I suppose that is why I am not a lawyer! (Or a politician.)

Well done indeed for bringing this dreadful situation to the nation’s attention, and apparently correcting it!

But, Prime Minister, please do not stop there. Further radical steps are required. You must make it against the law for immigrants to take part in other activities which are already illegal.

For example, I believe you should make it against the law for immigrants to do the following things which it is already illegal for them to do:

– Steal cars
– Set fire to hospitals
– Eat human babies

Only when this action is taken can we start to bridge the gap between what is illegal and what is against the law (for immigrants).

Anyway, keep up the good work!

Yours sincerely,
Daniel Drummond Harvey

In praise of adhesive tape

Roy Hudd

I recently wrote to Astrid Lejeune, Secretary General of Afera, the European Adhesive Tape Association. This is what I wrote:

Dear Astrid Lejeune,

Many congratulations on all the hard work you do for the adhesive tape industry in Europe.

Some people prefer other adhesive products. Not me! I prefer adhesive tape.

If one runs out of adhesive tape when wrapping gifts, “No More Nails® Heavy Duty Instant Grab Construction Adhesive” is an entirely unsuitable alternative. It can cause significant damage to both the wrapping paper and the gift itself.

However, while the damage to the cover of “Roy Hudd’s Book of Music-Hall, Variety and Showbiz Anecdotes” meant I could no longer give it to my nephew for his birthday, the inside of the book was still perfectly readable. I therefore kept it for myself and derived an enormous amount of pleasure from it.

Yours sincerely,
Daniel Drummond Harvey

If you can get hold of a copy of “Roy Hudd’s Book of Music-Hall, Variety and Showbiz Anecdotes”, it is a lot of fun. The story about Russ Abbott waking up in the middle of Middlesbrough town market is worth the cover price alone!

The Homebase Long Reach Watering Can

Watering can

I recently sent the following email to Paul Loft, Managing Director of Homebase:

Dear Paul Loft,

Many congratulations on all the hard work you do for Homebase, the leading home enhancement retailer selling over 38,000 products for the home and garden (I didn’t count them myself! I took this information on trust from your website).

One could say that I have one home and two gardens – however, this is not as strange as it sounds; I simply have both a front garden and a back garden.

I tend to refer to the front garden as “the front garden” and the back garden as, simply, “the garden”. This is helpful, for example, when my son says “I am going to play soccer in the garden”, as I know he is going to play soccer in the back garden and not in the front garden. In fact, the front garden is not suitable for playing soccer, as it is too small and on quite a steep slope. It is mainly used for access to and from the front door.

I am neither a skilled nor a particularly enthusiastic gardener, but I do try to keep the garden (and the front garden) in reasonably good order. For example, we have grass in our garden, which I “mow” when it becomes too long.

On the whole, however, I believe a good garden is one that takes care of itself (within reason). So I am sure that you can imagine my distress when, faced with an unusually dry summer, some of the plants and flowers in my garden looked like they would need watering by hand. As I said earlier, I am not a skilled gardener, but I was able to tell by their wilting appearance and brown colouration that they were not receiving adequate hydration from the elements alone.

For several days I watched the weather forecasts very closely (Carol Kirkwood in the morning followed by either Alex Deakin or Peter Gibbs later on), but no news of precipitation in the central Hampshire region was forthcoming.

Eventually I decided it was time to grasp the bull by the horns or, in this case, grasp the hose by the Hozelock™ adjustable nozzle attachment! (Just a bit of fun.)

However, while this did deliver the necessary water to the ailing flora, it was far from a perfect solution. In general, as you know, water comes out of a hose at the same velocity and volume as it comes out of a tap. This is because, in many ways, the hose is simply a flexible tubular extension of the tap. Unfortunately, this velocity and volume was altogether too much for some of my more delicate plants, resulting in further wilting and loss of leaves and/or petals.

I was therefore forced to turn my Hozelock™ adjustable nozzle attachment in an anti-clockwise direction, in order to disperse the water over a wider angle, thereby achieving a gentler watering effect. This certainly helped but, due to the aforementioned wide angle of dispersion, there was a high degree of water wastage, particularly when watering the smaller pots.

It was the need for a more moderate and efficient watering solution that eventually led me to purchase a “Long Reach Watering Can” from your Winchester store for £5.49.

Mr Loft, I am absolutely delighted with this watering can!

It is made of green plastic, has a capacity of seven litres, and delivers water exactly where, when and how I need it. In the words of “Greenfingers”, a reviewer on your website, it is a “very good product. Well made and does the job it was designed for.” (Incidentally, I thought Greenfingers’ rating of this product – four out of five stars – was grossly unfair.)

Now, of course, the seasons are turning and we are saying “Goodbye!” to the long warm days of summer and “Hello!” to the blustery damp days of autumn. But while the rain may have returned, I can rest safe in the knowledge that I am well equipped to handle any unusually dry spells that may occur in the future.

Yours sincerely,
Daniel Drummond Harvey

If any readers are interested in purchasing the Homebase Long Reach Watering Can, you can do so here or you can purchase it from your local Homebase store, provided they have it in stock.

A problem with “The Jeremy Kyle Show”

Jeremy Kyle

I recently wrote to Jon Millership, producer of the ITV1 daytime television show “The Jeremy Kyle Show”. This is what I wrote to him:

Dear Jon Millership,

I am a big fan of the show “The Jeremy Kyle Show”, in which guests attempt to resolve personal problems with the aid of the show’s host, Jeremy Kyle. I particularly like the show’s emphasis on traditional family values (as you may know, traditional family values are currently being eroded).

Considering how many people he has helped on “The Jeremy Kyle Show”, I am surprised that Jeremy Kyle hasn’t been knighted by the Queen! (If he has been knighted by the Queen, please pass on my congratulations. He thoroughly deserves it considering how many people he has helped.)

However, I have spotted a slight problem which I thought I should alert you to. The problem is as follows: in many cases, the guests on “The Jeremy Kyle Show” appear to be more upset and distressed by the end of the show than they were at the beginning.

For example, in a recent show entitled “I didn’t sleep with your disabled mum and I’ll prove she can walk”, all the parties involved were reasonably calm and composed to begin with. By the end, however, they had all become so vexed and irate that the gentleman levelling the accusation at the lady in the wheelchair had to be restrained by two burly security guards, one of whom had tattoos.

On more than one occasion this has fairly ruined my enjoyment of what should be a wholesome and uplifting family entertainment programme, and I have almost been tempted to turn over to “Homes Under The Hammer”, the BBC renovation and auction series.

Perhaps you could introduce some calming measures and relaxation techniques into the show’s format? For example, at regular intervals during the show the guests could enjoy a cup of chamomile tea while chanting a benevolent mantra.

I also think it would help if Jeremy Kyle refrained from spitting at the guests.

Yours sincerely,
Daniel Drummond Harvey

If you have never seen it, I thoroughly recommend “The Jeremy Kyle Show”. It is on ITV1 at 9.25 on weekday mornings. If you are unable to watch it at this time due to other commitments, you have two options. You can either record it and watch it later, or use ITV’s “catch-up” service, ITV Player.

A film idea for Jerry Bruckheimer

Roger Walker

I recently sent the following email to the Hollywood “movie” producer Jerry Bruckheimer:

Dear Jerry Bruckheimer,

I am a big fan of your films (movies).

My favourite film (of your films) is “Top Gun” starring Tom Cruise, which tells the story of a young aviator’s adventures at the Fighter Weapons School in San Diego.

I have an excellent idea for a film, which I hope you will be interested in producing.

The film is called “The End Of The World Is Nighy”. It tells the story of the English actor Bill Nighy, star of “The Phantom of the Opera: The Motion Picture” and “Ready When You Are, Mr McGill”.  It begins with his time as a messenger boy for the Croydon Advertiser, the third highest-selling paid-for weekly paper in London, and follows his subsequent rise to fame.

One day, Bill Nighy attends an audition for a new English film (a period drama set in Herefordshire) but loses out on the part to the English actor Hugh Grant, star of “Did You Hear About The Morgans?”.

Realising his good looks and talent have faded, Bill Nighy returns home feeling dejected and angry. His wife, played by the English actress Wendy Craig from the bittersweet situation comedy “Butterflies”, tells him not to worry and that it’s not the end of the world. Unfortunately, Wendy is soon proved wrong when Bill Nighy, in a fit of anger, builds a stockpile of nuclear weapons with which he takes his revenge and destroys Planet Earth.

The actual actor Bill Nighy may or may not be available to play the part of himself in the film, depending on his other commitments. If he is unavailable perhaps you could use Roger Walker, the actor who played the part of Bunny Charlson in the ill-fated Costa del Sol-based soap opera “Eldorado”.

I know that you sometimes spend several thousand pounds (dollars) promoting a new film, but in this case you will not need to. Instead, simply approach an old man who is carrying a “The End Of The World Is Nigh” sign and add a “y” to the end while he is not looking. You may also want to add a release date and one or two quotes from positive reviews.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
Daniel Drummond Harvey

I have received no reply from Jerry Bruckheimer, so have now sent my idea to Steven Paul, producer of “Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2”. I will let you know if I have any success.