Victor Billot is a Dunedin writer. He is the author of the poetry collection The Sets (Otago University Press, 2020), and writes a weekly satirical Ode each Sunday for Newsroom.
Bard Billot on the booted out broadcaster
Spartans, prepare for glory!
The hardy army of Today FM Spartans
Camps out on the harsh lands of talk radio.
The long months of the campaign
Have worn down their resolve,
For though they have loyally broadcast
Their snappy banter and hot takes,
The lines do not buzz with loopy first time callers:
The lines lie silent, cold and indifferent.
A rumour is whispered in the ranks.
The Great Despot, Emperor MediaWorks of Persia,
Is marching on their camp,
With a battalion of ruthless accountants
Armed with brutal spreadsheets,
And change management consultants
Who roam the battlefield
To finish off the wounded and helpless.
Despair runs through the ranks
Of the tiny and depleted Greeks.
The Producers wail.
The Fetchers of Takeaway Latte gnash.
Lo, King Dunc and Queen Tova
Gather their troops.
“Thou art the finest warriors of Lacedaemonia,
and we will make our stand here at Thermopylae!”
King Dunc has only bellowed the words,
But a horde of a hundred thousand screeching HR minions
Pour down the valley towards them.
“Betrayal!” exclaims King Dunc.
“We will hold the studio,
and fight them on all frequencies.
Hello caller! Is there anyone there?”
The only sound is the hopeless beeping
Of a disconnect tone.
“We’re fucked!,” cries Queen Tova,
But fearlessly advances and dismembers a score
With her razor edged sword.
Thus the end comes for the Spartans.
Bruised and battered they fall back
To a nearby drinking hole to recover,
Having at least created satisfactory media carnage
For their former employers.
Victor Billot has previously felt moved to compose Odes for such luminaries as Christopher Luxon, Stuart Nash, Bishop Brian, Clarke Gayford, and Mike Hosking.