Thursday, January 29, 2009

What Shall We Do With the Grumpy Pirate?

It makes me sad when I agree with anything that is said by the Daily Mail newspaper. Today is one such day, although I would probably put it a little differently. In any case, a story today about that old shanty 'What shall we do with the drunken sailor?':

"It is a famous sea shanty sung on the way to battle when Britannia ruled the waves. Handed down from parent to child it has become a nursery rhyme that has amused countless generations. But now the popular ditty 'What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor' has fallen foul of that most modern artillery - the PC brigade. The government-funded charity Bookstart, which promotes reading for children around the country, has changed the lyrics to remove any reference to alcohol"

I wouldn't go bashing the PC peeps as much as just wish that the time, energy and cash had been spent on something a little more important. Athough "tickle him until he starts to giggle" is quite sweet. The Mail goes on to inform us:

"Drunken Sailor was a Navy work song often sung when raising a sail or lifting the anchor - which is the reference for 'Up She Rises' in the song’s chorus. Usually only two or three verses were sung but verses were often added until the task was completed. Such shanties were the only ones allowed in the Royal Navy and were often sung on the way to battle. The lyrics reflect how the ship's crew deal with one of their shipmates after a belly full of rum stops him from helping with his deck duties. The air was taken from a traditional Irish march and dance tune, and the music first printed in 1824. Although the lyrics were not published until 1891, it is likely they were sung well before then."


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