John Barclay as a pompous government minister

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John Barclay

Welcome to my website!

My hair is much longer than that now – I’ve got out of the habit of getting it cut.

The Right Honorourable Smo Ken Mirrors, Secretary of State for Obfuscation and Spin (pictured above) and the Right Honourable Oily Palmer, Secretary of State for Cronyism and Sleaze are hiding in an abandoned silo somewhere in South Dorset until the Interior Decorating Scandal dies down. “We’ll only come out to go to Maumbury Rings in Dorchester on the 23rd of May to hear Grace Lovelass and Matt Connolly sing in the open air when . . . “ 

John Barclay Entertainments proudly presents the first of two live events entitled . . .

Sheep grazing in a field with trees in the background

                                      ” P A S T U R E S   N E W “

in serene surroundings and the open air, a recital of songs from the stage – opera, lieder, musical theatre and the caustic lyrics of Tom Lehrer (the same programme at each venue) with

                  Grace Lovelass (mezzo-soprano), Matt Connolly (tenor)                                                                      and Toby Nelms (piano)

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

                                                 Maumbury Rings

– in the centre of Dorchester, close to the Police Station and across the road from a car park (the one that has a market on Wednesdays, also toilets) – postcode DT1 1QW –

                       Sunday 23rd May at 3pm (gate opens at 2.30 pm)

Tickets £10 include booking fee

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                                    Holme-for-Gardens Amphitheatre

– on the outskirts of Wareham, on the B2070 (off the A 352), postcode BH20 6AQ  –

                         Sunday 6th June at 3 pm (gate opens at 2 pm)

in case of cancellation due to bad weather, the event will be postponed to Sunday 13th June, 3pm

Tickets £14 include booking fee, parking and a chance to explore the glorious ornamental gardens before the recital. You may bring your own refreshments. Toilets are available.

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NOTE: both venues offer disabled access. Performances will be socially distanced. Groups of up to 6 people may sit together, keeping away from others. Please bring rugs or folding chairs.

BOOK NOW via If the event is cancelled you will receive a full refund.

ENQUIRIES to me at or ring me on 01929 554959.


Some years ago, for a Dorchester Arts Festival in Maumbury Rings, I wrote a poem specially, called “The Monsters of Maumbury Rings”. To hear a recording of me reading the poem, with the voice of the young girl Elizabeth provided by Grace Lovelass, go to 22.04.21

In an event (similar to “Pastures New”) held in the Amphitheatre at Holme for Gardens last September, to music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Grace sang the following new words by me:

LOCKDOWN LAMENT . . . (from the musical “Ryvita”)

It won’t be easy; you’ll think it strange,
when I try to explain how I feel,
that I still need your love after all that I’ve said.
You won’t believe me.
All you can see is the wife you once knew
hacked off and stressed up all the time,
at sixes and sevens with you.

I had to let it happen; you had to try
just to (once in your life) make a meal.
I kept out of the kitchen, I kept out of your way.

You had your freedom,
farting around, seeing what you could do,
but nothing impressed me at all.
I never expected it to.

– Don’t fry for me semolina.
– The truth is I never ate it.
– All through the dark days
– of total lock-down,
– I used to flush it
– all down the toilet.

And as for pancakes and as for pies
I never could understand yours,
though it seemed to your eyes they were all I desired.
That was illusion,
for you never gave what you promised to me,
although you were here all the time;
I’m glad that you’re now back at work.

– that beef mince from . . . Argentina
– the truth is you hardly cooked it
– and gave me dollops.
– I was so ill you
– said I’d got Covid
– and kept your distance.

Now I’ve lost a stone!
There is no more I can think of to say to you,
but all you have to do is look at me to know
that ev’rything I’ve said is true.


With all kinds of entertainment on hold because of the Covid lock-down, I am heartened by the number of requests coming in for free comedy material – see my Free Comedy Material page. Some of the sketches contain references that were topical when they were written, but I am enjoying updating them for 2020. Scroll down this page for more.



Thank you, Laura Kuenssberg. I’ll put that point now to the Secretary of State for Obfuscation and Spin, the Right Honourable Smoe Ken Mirrors, MP. Good morning, Mr Mirrors.

We are facing a challenge of unprecedented magnitude, but we are always guided by the Science. Covid 19 is a new virus and we’re learning all the time. I cannot praise our health professionals on the front line enough, while we ourselves are working around the clock and will spare no effort to ensure there’ll be enough intensive-care beds with enough intensive-care patients to fill them.

I put it to you, Mr Mirrors, that after years of austerity, despite alarming warnings, the NHS was ill-prepared to face a pandemic – even in the basic matter of protective masks and gowns.

We are facing a challenge of unprecedented magnitude always guided by the Science David 19 is very young and learning all the time I cannot praise our health professionals on the front line but we are working round the clock and I promise everyone that a packed lorry will be flown over from Turkey to arrive on Monday by 10.45 am.

The Covid testing is one big muddle, isn’t it?

We are facing a challenge of unprecedented magnitude but remain guided by the Science, while David (19) . . .

Mr Smoke ‘n’ Mirrors, you’ve made those points twice already.

Will you let me finish? I cannot praise our health professionals as we are working round the clock I promise that by the next full moon every home in the Country will have a personal testing kit of its own to check whether they have contacted David at any time.

You make amazing promises, Mr Mirrors, but politicians are fully occupied in determining policies and persuading people to go along with them. Wouldn’t it be better to entrust the practical tasks of procurement and distribution to an experienced executive from industry?

As I have said we are facing an unprecedented magnitude in the Science while David 19 is still very young I cannot praise our professionals at the front or the back where the apron strings tie up we’re working 24/7 and 7/24 so that by the second Bank Holiday in May everyone will have what they want whether they like it or not and we will stop at nothing to justify ourselves.

Thank you, Mister Smoke and Mirrors, for coming on the programme!

Stay at home – and spend 20 seconds washing your friends!

But “stay at home” has become “stay alert”. People are finding it confusing!

It’s not confusing – if they want to stay at home, they can move to Scotland!



with apologies to Harry Lauder, who was fortunate enough not to live in these sickly times.

Keep right on to the end of the plague.
Keep right on to the end,
tho’ you’re stuck at home with a garden gnome –
all you’ve got as a friend.
Tho’ you’re bored and dreary, still struggle on
to an outlook that’s grimly vague –
a desp’rate dump and a worldwide slump
that await . . . at the end . . . of the plague.


Whenever a government minister is challenged on the inadequacy of their department’s funding of vital services, they use the old trick of declaring “record spending”. With continuous inflation, it’s easy to spend record amounts. All it means is that they are spending slightly more than in any previous year – not that that they are spending enough. In real terms, they can be spending less than the previous year. Then, they further confuse the issue, by quickly adding, “This year we are spending £y million for a certain item and next year we have set aside a further £z million for a different item.” Thus they hope to duck important issues such as:

“We have been forced to cut the number of police on the beat.”

“We have been forced to cancel surgical operations because our beds are full of patients with nowhere to go.”

“We have been forced to cutback school lessons, stop supporting children with special needs and ask parents to pay for vital equipment.”

So, journalists all, please challenge ministers who try to get out of trouble by record use of this worn-out record.


I now offer a special service to my visitors – free comedy material. I realised that I had written a number of sketches, mini-dramas, song lyrics and so on, and liked the idea of sharing them with people with similar interests to my own. I felt it would be too much work to sell the stuff, so I am giving it away. Nearly all of it has been tried and tested by me or people close to me. Please see my new Comedy Material page.