Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Slow Train

Silverback, currently in Florida, saw an armadillo today and wrote about it, very entertainingly as usual, on his blog.

Well, this of course got me thinking of all the songs I know about armadillos. Which is a total of one. In fact, it is probably the only song ever written about an armadillo ever.

It is by the wonderful Flanders and Swann, that glorious comic double-act of the 1960s, and the plot centres around an armadillo which falls in love with an armour-plated tank on Salisbury Plain. It's all rather sad. The armadillo sings a love song to the tank, which sadly fails to respond.

"I left him to his singing, cycled home without a pause. Never tell a man the truth about the one that he adores."

I tried to find this on Youtube but it's not one of their more famous songs and sadly isn't there: at least not in their original version.

But - - ohhhh - - you know what it's like on Youtube. I found one of my very favourites of their songs which is delightful and also very typically British.

It's The Slow Train. All the places mentioned in it were real stations, sadly axed in the 1960s by Dr Richard Beeching, in an attempt to make the railways more profitable. It was a source of huge regret in Britain and to those old enough to remember, it still is.

I love this song.

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Anonymous Garth said...

Although I believe that Chester le Street does still exist as a stop... I was expecting a mention of Tadcaster, but I didn't hear it... I could probably find out more if I could be bothered to actually look it up..

9:28 pm  
Blogger JeannetteLS said...

I knew there were unseen reasons I liked you! My brother Jack and I loved to listen to Flanders and Swann. This brought me back.

9:46 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

"The Slow Train" is a kind of protest song. Beeching and the other blinkered bean counters didn't have the foresight to see that they were dismantling an incredible railway network that would have massively reduced today's road congestion.

11:53 am  
OpenID merryhouse said...

Yes, Chester-le-Street was reopened - it's actually on the main line so was easier than many.

The village I was born in is the third place mentioned. And my sister lives a couple of miles away from the first. And the two afterwards was where I went on a Mission with the Methodists. I did think of trying to visit them all, but never had the leisure.

Have you seen any of Armstrong and Miller's F&S sketches? Excellent, though slightly more foul-mouthed than the original.

Oh, and though it doesn't count, "Rolling Down to Rio" mentions an armadillo - "I've never seen a jaguar; nor yet an armadillo; dilloing in his armour; and I spose I never will, O!"

- Julie paradox

8:32 pm  
Blogger Silverback said...

If you skip 7 minutes into this YouTube video, you'll get the song. Not great audio quality but needs must when the devil sings......or some such thing.

12:24 am  
Blogger Clive said...

Shillingstone Station just north of Blandford still exists and has been restored. They hope to reopen the line to Bournemouth some day - see their Facebook photos.

10:02 pm  

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