Sing As We Go

Once again, Ealing Studios provides me with a title that encapsulates the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Or at least provides a segway into it.

Trouble at t’mill?

Trouble at t’mill?

Songs, more specifically nursery rhymes, are deeply disturbing when considered in a sober state. I’m certain there are very good explanations and origins of most of our received rhymes, but on face value they are utterly absurd. For example:

Polly put the kettle on,
Polly put the kettle on,
Polly put the kettle on,
We’ll all have tea.
Sukey take it off again,
Sukey take it off again,
Sukey take it off again,
They’ve all gone away.

What the hell can that possibly mean? Is this the ranting of some opium fiend? Were ancient tea rooms the sanctuary of the clinically insane? The plot thickens, for the nursery rhyme is not as ancient as I had first imagined. It was composed and written in 1797. So it’s a mere pup as far as nursery rhymes go. The story has it, that a man wrote and published the lyrics to this nursery rhyme. The origins were based on the man having five children – two boys and three girls. There were constant arguments as the boys wanted to play “soldiers” and the girls wanted to play “house”. If the girls wanted to get rid of their brothers, they would sometimes pretend to start a game of “house” and Polly would put the toy kettle on. As soon as the boys left, Sukey would take it off again. Their father was so amused by this ploy that he set it to words and added the music.

So, in summary, it’s nothing more than a ruse or a distraction for repelling unwanted company or callers. I actually now use this ploy whenever I answer the telephone.

Hello, Pimlico 236…

Hello, Pimlico 236…

Ah, the beautiful drawings of Kate Greenaway. As a child, I would study the detail of her pictures in nursery rhyme books for hours.

Here’s another strange fish:

Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?

Once again, apparent lunacy. However, the origin of the words to the Three Blind Mice rhyme are, as you would expect, based in history. The “farmer’s wife” refers to the daughter of King Henry VIII, Queen Mary I. Mary was a staunch Catholic and her violent persecution of Protestants led to the nickname of “Bloody Mary”. Not everybody’s favourite drink, but I love a good Bloody Mary. Anyway, the reference to “farmer’s wife” refers to the massive estates which she, and her husband King Philip of Spain, possessed. The “three blind mice” were three noblemen who adhered to the Protestant faith who were convicted of plotting against the Queen – she did not have them dismembered and blinded as inferred in Three Blind Mice – but she did have them burnt at the stake.

Incidentally, another nursery rhyme which features “Bloody Mary” is “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary…”

Dodgy girl, but nice drink

Dodgy girl, but nice drink

Of course, this is all a far cry from Gracie Fields in the Ealing comedy (Sing As We Go), where she plays a feisty mill girl trying out various jobs in Blackpool during the summer after her mill is forced to close down. After getting into some hair-raising scrapes, she has an accidental meeting with magnate Sir William Upton, whereupon she is able to start negotiations to restore prosperity and save her colleagues jobs at the mill. They don’t write them like that anymore. Blackpool, with its fine erection in honour of Monsieur Eiffel is again a far cry from Walmington-on-Sea. I mention this because I was reminded of aforementioned town, when I saw the map on the war room walls of direct.gov.uk

“Don’t panic”

“Don’t panic”

I often wish that the Department of Health had read my weblog from the onset, perhaps I should drop them a link (and that’s not a euphemism). Yes that’s right dear reader, it’s Swine Flu again. As you are also aware, we are the best prepared country. Best prepared to accept it, spread it and generally give it a good solid base to work on. Now, apparently, we are shifting the public away from doctor to non-medical staff, who will deal with it “Call Centre” style. The general advice is to telephone these help lines, have your self diagnosed and get a healthy person to collect the purported remedy from a clinic. So, let’s recap. Take one healthy person who has now been in contact with a swine flu victim, and then send them out to infect a whole lot of vulnerably unwell people at the clinic. Thus, ensuring the airborne virus has a damned good foothold for its next batch of chumps. This sounds an awesome idea. You have to be a special kind of idiot to dream up these schemes. This isn’t your regular idiot plan, no sir, this is advanced stuff. This is pure Rampton grade.

The new Minister for Health

The new Minister for Health

Totally changing the subject now, I’m certain my neighbour is wearing my socks. It’s something I feel I will never prove, but I’m watching him. One false move and he’ll be de-Argyled faster than a speeding trolleybus.

Anyone for tea?

Anyone for tea?

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4 Responses to “Sing As We Go”

  1. dandymills Says:

    As acting Captain of Walmington-on-Sea I wish to strongly complain about your flipant treatment of our little town. You may not know this but we played a major part in the war effort. I am as I type, gathering a petition together which will, I hope, bring down your shabby little website.

    Captain Henry Smithers-Rawlinson

    • Captain Henry Smithers-Rawlinson

      Thank you for taking the trouble to write in and bewitch us here at Pimlico, with the intricate ramblings of your mind. I admire a retarded organ, especially when it refuses to lie down and simply accept the onset of senility. Good for you sir!

      Now, as for the flippant treatment of Walmington-on-Sea, it was merely pointed out that it is a far cry from Blackpool. However, if you feel that is an inappropriate statement of fact, then by all means consider the comment reversed. We will gladly concede that your little town is indeed similar to Blackpool in all but name. Far from being the “far cry” we alluded to in our first statement, we now agree the two towns should be twinned.

      You may now halt your petition in the secure knowledge that we at Pimlico have been fully enlightened. I must now inform WordPress of the good news, as your missive had them shaking in their boots.

      Toodle pip

      The Management

      • dandymills Says:

        Dear Stefan, if you indeed, maintain that Blackpool is a “far cry” from Walmington-on-Sea then I throw the gauntlet down and challenge you. Indeed, go to Blackpool and cry “Can you hear me mother?” and I put it to you that we by the pier that sticketh out a long way, will not hear you. To summarise Blackpool is beyond a far cry.

        Yours correctingly,

        Captain Henry Smithers-Rawlinson

      • Stefan III Says:

        Dear Captain,
        You are indeed correct. I conducted this experiment last Sunday. I cried out “Can you hear me mother?” – Nothing! Not a soul heard me, except that is for my mother. She is in fact a pipistrelle bat, but none of the vast throng at t’other end of the pier heard. So in conclusion, it is beyond a far cry.

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