Saturday, 10 December 2016

Glad Tidings We Bring...

This weekend marks the 80th anniversary of the Abdication of Edward VIII. My Dad said that at his school they modified the traditional carol to
Hark the Herald Angels sing
"Mrs Simpson's pinched our King"

Fast forward 30 years or so, and at my school we were singing
We four Beatles of Liverpool are, John in a taxi, Paul in a car
George on a Scooter, honking his hooter
Following Ringo Starr
Modifying carols has been going on for centuries - which of us can honestly say we've never sung
While shepherds washed their socks by night all seated round the tub
A bar of fairy soap fell down , and they all began to scrub

There's the ancient Basque Carol, known as Gabriel's Message which talks about that early spice girl "Most highly flavoured Lady Gloria"

And the little fat gentleman who pops up in the middle of Silent Night alongside the manger
Round John Virgin [Mother and Child]

Poor old Mary has to share the stable with loads of visitors - in God rest ye merry, Gentleman there is one rather sinister visitor
The Witch, his mother Mary

Of course, some of those at the nativity, who came upon the midnight clear, did at least help with the housework over Bethlehem
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hoovering wing
But even the modern carols have some wonderful lines in them. Who can sing 'Come on and celebrate' without remembering all the presents still to be wrapped up?
Come on and Celebrate, Celebrate and Sing
Sellotape and String for the King

And when we come and join the celebration, the magi are there, returning from their Easyjet Holiday...

Wise men journey, led to worship by a star
Kneel in homage, 
Bringing precious gifts from Lanzarotte

And those poor chaps out there on the cold hillside have clearly remembered the Keep Well, Keep Warm mantra, for the Calypso Angel challenges them " Shepherdsswiftly from your soup, arise, to see the Saviour of the World"

Oh dear, I suspect I have probably ruined many Candlelight Carol Services now, as those who have not heard these before may be overcome with giggles. Oops!


  1. Oh dear. I was once taking a carol service at which a brass band was playing and I announced "While shepherds washed their socks by night" There was a considerable delay in starting.

  2. Those are great! Thank you for sharing! I've never heard them before! :D

  3. Ah, the joys of singing the Wrong Words!

    I love the 'gifts from Lanzarotte!' and 'Sellotape and String', they're both new to me. Here are some from my family to add to the collection:

    "Whilst shepherds watched TV by night
    all tuned to ITV, the angel of the Lord came down and switched to BBC"

    "Whilst shepherds cooked their tea by night, all seated round the pot, the angel of the Lord came down and scoffed the blooming lot"

    At school we thought we were VERY daring to sing the chorus of "The Angle Gabriel" as "Most Highly Flavoured Gravy, Gloria"

    And a local school was called Nether Hall Primary, so "oh come oh come Emmanuel" always got modified to
    "...from Nether Hall thy people save"

    Plus of course
    "We Three Kings of Mersey Square,
    Selling Ladies Underwear
    How fantastic, no elastic
    Only 4 p a pair"

    "Good King Wencelas looked out
    on a cabbage garden
    bumped into a Brussels Sprout
    and said "I beg your pardon""

    "Good King Wenceslas walked out
    On the Feast of Stephen
    Someone bonked him on the snout
    and made it all uneven.
    Brightly shone his nose that night
    though the pain was cruel,
    then the doctor came in sight
    with some nasty gruel"


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