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Wednesday, 31 May 2006
Song for tomorrow
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Esmerelda’s latest article argues that the words of English popular songs rarely feature names of English towns. Perhaps she has forgotten Fiddlers Dram from 1979, which is comfortably within the time span covered by her article. For Americans – this is how the English enjoy themselves:

 

Didn't we have a lovely time the day we went to Bangor

A beautiful day, we had lunch on the way and all for under a pound you know

But on the way back I cuddled with Jack and we opened a bottle of cider

Singing a few of our favourite songs as the wheels went around

 

Do you recall the thrill of it all as we walked along the sea grand

Then on the sand we heard a brass band that played the Diddlely-Bump-Terrara

Elsie and me had one cup of tea then we took a Paddler boat out

Splashing away as we sat on the bay and the wheels went 'round

 

Didn't we have a lovely time ….

 

Wasn't it nice, eating chocolate ice as we strolled around the fun-fair

Then we ate eels in big ferris wheels as we sailed around the ground but then

We had to be quick 'cause Elsie felt sick and we had to find somewhere to take her

I said to her lad, what made her feel bad was the wheel going 'round

 

Didn't we have a lovely time …

 

Elsie and me, we finished our tea and said goodbye to the seaside

Got on the bus, Flo said to us, oh isn't it a shame to go

Wouldn't it be grand to have cash on demand and to live like this for always

Oh it makes me feel ill, when I think of the mill and the wheels goin' 'round

 

Didn't we have a lovely time the day we went to Bangor

A beautiful day, we had lunch on the way and all for under a pound you know

But on the way back I cuddled with Jack and we opened a bottle of cider

Singing a few of our favourite songs as the wheels went around

 

Come to think of it, Bangor is not an English town, but a Welsh one. Blackpool wouldn't work.

Reading Esmerelda’s piece got me thinking – not for the first time - about pop songs and days of the week. It’s Friday night and the lights are low, according to Abba. Saturday night’s all right for fighting, and if I’m not too hungover I can be your Sunday girl. I don’t like Mondays – who does? Hair of the dog – a ruby port on Ruby Tuesday. Wednesday week he loved me, but Wednesday week never happened at all.

 

Now it’s Thursday. Is there a song about Thursday? I just can’t think of one. Maybe there isn’t one. If there is, I’d like to know. If not, why not? Is Thursday always overshadowed by the upcoming weekend?

 
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Posted on 05/31/2006 4:53 AM by Mary Jackson
Comments
1 Jun 2006
Send an emailEsmerelda Weatherwax
Mahdi, you are right. I have written a few things here about English heritage and the folk tradition, which is stronger than it was a few years ago.

John, how can I have forgotten Winchester Cathedral????? A vo di oh do! Thank you for reminding me.
But the appalling "Long Haired Lover from Liverpool" I filed with "England Swings" as US novelties not songs of evocation.

31 May 2006
Send an emailmahdihotline
It never ceased to shock me when 'i came to live in England, that there was no song that the English could sing in tandem past line one. In Ireland, the whole population can call on, oh dear, probably upwards of twenty songs, that they can all sing together, well at least the first verse, which results in a good feeling of togetherness. Here in UK, its Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole, full stop. How pathetic. And maybe 'Roll out the Barrell'. I dunno, maybe I'm speaking from narrow experience, but that's how I see it. And yet, England has wonderful folk songs, which I only know from Irish singers. It seems to me that the English folk tradition has beome the province of the fringes and is looked down on as provincial, insofar as they even know them, by the 'cool' ones, whereas in Ireland, Irish (and English) folk songs are mainstream and appreciated, and a source of pride, and craic, for everyone. A couple of years ago, while standing in front of a cool cabinet in a Waitrose supermarket, a man asked me "What date is it?", I replied "Uh, umm, it's the 23rd of April, .. St. George's Day." He looked at me, noting my accent, :"I wish we had a national day like Paddy's Day". It seems to me that in England if you want to find English national feeling, English culture, you really have to seek it out, in small towns and hidden places, it is not mainstream, it is not 'cool', it's not something that's nationally celebrated. I've never experienced this in any other country, this lack of an overarching narrative, for want of a better word right now. We were brought up, in the 60's and 70's in Ireland, to be proudly nationalistic, to be proud of our country, and we had, and still have all the songs, and the nationalistic feeling that was instilled in us was not a narrow nationalism that just had its definition in the 'other', but was proud for its own sake. That is not to say that some of our folk songs were not anti-Britain, but they are, believe me, for the most part, sung without rancour and in a spirit of heritage and pride in our culture, rather than in opposition to, or defiance of your good selves! It seems to me that England has turned her back on the best of her heritage, and probably notice it more because the Irish have not. Excuse the ramble, it's late and I've imbibed a little!

31 May 2006
Send an emailjohn utting
how about 'dont forget our monday date','stormy monday blues', 'saturday night is the loneliest night in the week', 'saturday night,sunday morning','gloomy sunday' with regard to towns their was'um,'with me little stick of blackpool rock', winchester cathedral',long haired lover from liverpool',limehouse blues'[ ok,its not a town]i must say though that english names dont have the charm of american ones. lol john

31 May 2006
Send an emailEsmerelda Weatherwax
The main reason for not using The Day we went to Bangor is that Fiddler's Dram admitted that they chose Bangor for the title purely because of the number of syllables and rhyme, and that they were well aware that the real Bangor was never the sort of place with a prom, pedalo boats, bands etc where you went for a beano. They were actually describing Blackpool, and as you say, the name Blackpool didn't work.

Now about days of the week, I just found this on Google. I have never heard of the band, but great minds think alike.
"It's The Wednesday/Thursday Song!" Performed by My Business Failed in Three Weeks