Bad Form at the Zoo

tai chi poem

Bad Form at the Zoo

The following monologue has been inspired by “The Lion and Albert”, written by Marriott Edgar in the 1930’s and made famous by Stanley Holloway with his acquired Northern accent.

There are more than 30 references to the Tai Chi form in here. Can you find them?

Try reading it with a Northern accent for best effect.


There’s a place you’ll have heard of called Dudley

Quite famous for having a zoo

Where people throng to on Sundays

Saturdays and Bank Holidays too.


Now Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom

Took their young son, Albert, one day

This was well before Wallace the lion

Got poked in the ear, by the way.


Firstly they came to the aviary

Expecting to hear the birds sing

But all that was there was a white crane

Trying hard to spread out a wing.


He weren’t much impressed were young Albert

Then looking about shouted “My!

There’s cousin Pat on a high horse

I’d love to try that, by and by.”


“Now, now” said Father, being stern-like

In no mood for any back chat

“You’ve a stick with a horse’s head handle

For now you can mek do w’ that.”


They spotted a caged-off enclosure

The sign saying, “Primates Ahead”

With a gleeful kick of his heel

Hands lifted, off Albert sped.


He’d spotted a big hairy creature

With its nose right up to the bars

A rather repulsive fat monkey

Its face was all covered with scars.


With his stick with the horse’s head handle

Albert gave the poor creature a poke

With no chance to ward off or parry

It didn’t see this as a joke.


It turned and chopped, with a yelp and a grimace

Flying diagonally to back of t’cage

Young Albert just couldn’t stop laughing

But Father weren’t half in a rage.


“It’s time we went somewhere quiet-like

We need to bring you down a peg

There’s a peaceful part of this zoo

Where a cockerel stands on one leg.


Albert weren’t inclined t’wards this offer

The place was beginning to jar

He was thinking he’d rather be home-like

Where he’d sit, and just play guitar.


But he suddenly was struck by a notion

Of the sort that’ll happen when young

He’d mek his way to see reptiles

And t’snake that spits out its tongue.


It was as if snake saw him coming

With his stick with its horse’s head

Withdrawing itself in an instant

It crept down to its underground bed.


Determined to cause more commotion

Young Albert was running amok

With his stick held up to the heavens

He made straight for the poor golden cock.


He grasped the poor bird by its tail

Swung it round, just brushing his knee

Felt the wind, blow ‘gainst his ears

His face was a picture of glee.


This wasn’t enough for young Albert

More creatures could all play their part

The wild horse with its mane, for example

Got a kick from his heel for a start.


The lad was in a right frenzy

With his hands waving up to the clouds

He gave a loud holler, like Tarzan

He was also attracting the crowds.


If even a tiger had stood there

He’d have wacked it left and then right

Sat on its back and ridden it

Young Albert was up for a fight.


The Ramsbottoms senior then caught up

To be sure they were terribly vexed

Father, stepped up ready, to punch him

And Mother said, “Whatever next?”


A whack round the head got poor Albert

And down on his bottom he fell

You could see that Father was needled

Albert stepped up – seeing seven stars as well.


Then Father, on closer inspection

And straight from the horse’s mouth

Said, “Lad you’ve brought shame on t’family,

It’s time that we weren’t hereabouts.


Young Albert became all angelic

With hands crossed, head looking down

Said Mother, “We’ll just see one more turn”

Said Father, “Aye – then we’ll leave town.


They move on to the big cats’ enclosure

Where a tamer with a long single whip

Was taunting a fierce looking lion

Young Albert would remember this trip!!