23 May 2012

Teatime

I am reeling from learning recently that a friend uses my blog as an aid to learning English, listening to the embedded music videos and studying the lyrics. I assured him that rock lyrics are not usually even grammatically correct, citing the obvious example - which also cropped up on Twitter, where the tag #popleveson leads to some delightful attempts to link the Leveson Enquiry and popular music lyrics. Actually, less to do with Leveson as with the language of cross-examination:
I put it to you, Mr Jagger, that your double negative was intentionally misleading and you are in fact perfectly satisfied.
Priceless, and thanks to @GrahamYapp (via @CharlesCrawford - what is a retired ambassador doing wasting his time on Twitter, I wonder). But how can I help? I should provide a selection of competently-written, grammatically correct songs (and perhaps some explanations of their shortcomings). Where to look for examples? Well, I think James Warren and Andy Davis know what they are doing. No damage to the English language here:
Goodbye the fire has stopped burning
The bellows lie dead in the road.
Goodbye the mill has stopped turning,
The Miller has changed to a toad.

Goodbye the journey was topping,
We saw all we wanted to see,
I really don't think I'll be stopping,
I think I'll go home and have tea.

Goodbye the stream has stopped flowing,
The big sun has parched all the pools,
Goodbye the dream has stopped growing,
A fantasy surely for fools.

Goodbye the journey was topping*,
We saw all we wanted to see,
I really don't think I'll be stopping,
I think I'll go home and have tea.
I have never been sure what it all means, but a lovely song, and historic too - the first song performed at the first Glastonbury Festival - as my friend Mike Tobin, the band's manager then and now, explains on this video. I hope it helps the language practice. Enjoy!




*"British archaic slang excellent. ..." Concise Oxford English Dictionary.