Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Transatlantic Nursery Rhymes

Oh, the nonsense we talk and the songs we sing in an attempt to delight, amuse, or distract our lovely Lady P.

I have a lengthy back catalogue of campfire songs, to which I know all the words, thanks to my time in the Guides. From birth I have serenaded Lady P with such delights as 'Land of the Silver Birch', and 'Now I lay me down to sleep.' As well as a few I suspect my mother made up, like 'Every morning at half past eight I say yoo-hoo-hoo to Georgie'. And I know every verse of the interminable 'Rise and Shine', which she now giggles at every morning while I warm her bottle. I'm pretty proud of my repertoire, I'll admit it.

Not having been in the Girl Guides for years, TLOML draws on his knowledge of American classics, including some of Simon and Garfunkel finest songs. 'America' is a particular favourite, although I'm not sure it's appropriate to sing to your daughter "Let us be lovers we'll marry our fortunes together" nor bang on about cigarettes. Mind you he detects some dodgy undertones in the Girl Guiding song 'We are red men', which should nowadays be 'We are Native Americans'. So, we'll agree to differ on the long songs. The house rule is - if you know the words to a song, go ahead and sing it.

More recently we've got into some more action oriented songs. Lady P loves 'The Grand Old Duke of York'. Who wouldn't, when it means a thrilling up and down motion?! There's nothing she likes more than being lifted a foot in the air - the crazy thrillseeker that she is. Seeing this, TLOML has tried to sing it too.
Ah, the sweet joy of 'up'
Sadly, his misspent American youth did not include British nursery songs. So he sings it to a crazy made-up tune, and has messed with the lyrics entirely. Instead of: 'The grand old Duke of York, he had ten thousand men, he marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again.' He sings: 'The grand old Duke of York, he had ten thousand men, he marched them up and down the hill and up and down again.' Which is twice the number of 'ups', in case you didn't notice. Thrilling for Lady P but I can't maintain that kind of upper arm workout, and I don't want her to start to expect it.

I've suggested he sticks to American nursery rhymes. Unfortunately that means that these days Lady P mostly is hearing classics like 'If you say Carolina, say North CarolinaIf you say Carolina, say Heels!' .And 'I don't give a damn about Duke University, Duke University, Duke University, I don't give a damn about Duke University, I go to Carolina.'  Yes, they're rather non-traditional children's songs, but they please Lady P just the same.

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