Monday, January 16, 2017

Pontevedra Pensées: 16.1.17

First off . . . I was finally able to publish a post yesterday and then, late last night, I uploaded the missing foto. So, scroll down to yesterday's offering if you felt deprived.

I'm travelling northwards this morning – from Winchester – so it's a quick and dirty post . . .

I'm at risk of getting boring about the wonderful Spanish now but I was talking to someone at lunch yesterday about how a man just could no longer say in the UK the innocent things he still can say here in Spain. And then, waiting for the boat, I read the article that I'll post later. God forbid that the same thing will happen here in Spain before I pop my clogs. I'd be bereft! If not imprisoned. Fortunately, Spanish women don't just indulge it; they demand it.

Here's the latest of The Local's lists, plus one from The Telegraph:

I was researching yesterday the words of a 1920 ditty I learned off by heart when I was a kid listening to my grandparents old 78rpm vinyl records. You can hear it here and enjoy an accompanying cartoon which was considered innocuous back then – and also during my own childhood and youth – but which is now considered a crime second only to murder in the UK. Take stock of the Warning note.

Here are the words . . .

The Ballad Of Abdul Abulbul Amir

Here are said words to Frank's first hit, though I have to confess to having to look them up so as to be able to cite them here:-

Now, the sons of the Prophet were brave men and bold
And quite unaccustomed to fear,
But the bravest by far in the ranks of the Shah,
Was Abdul Abulbul Amir.

If you wanted a man to encourage the van,
Or harass the foe from the rear,
Storm fort or redoubt, you had only to shout
For Abdul Abulbul Amir.

Now the heroes were plenty and well known to fame
In the troops that were led by the Czar,
And the bravest of these was a man by the name
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

He could imitate Irving, tell fortunes with cards,
He could play on the Spanish guitar.
In fact, quite the cream of the Muscovite team
Was Ivan Petrovsky Skavar.

One day this bold Russian, he shouldered his gun
And donned his most truculent sneer,
Downtown he did go where he trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

Young man, quoth Abdul, has life grown so dull
That you wish to end your career?
Vile infidel, know, you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

Said Ivan, My friend, your remarks in the end
Will avail you but little, I fear.
For you ne'er will survive to repeat them alive,
Mr Abdul Abulbul Amir

So take your last look at sunshine and brook
And send your regrets to the Czar
For by this I imply, you are going to die,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

Then this bold Mameluke drew his trusty skibouk,
Singing, "Allah! El Allah! Akbah!"
And with murderous intent he ferociously went
For Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

They fought all that night neath the pale yellow moon;
The din, it was heard from afar,
And huge multitudes came, so great was the fame,
Of Abdul and Ivan Skavar.

As Abdul's long knife was extracting the life,
In fact he was shouting, "Huzzah!"
He felt himself struck by that wily Calmuck,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

The Sultan drove by in his red-breasted fly,
Expecting the victor to cheer,
But he only drew nigh to hear the last sigh,
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

Tsar Petrovich too, in his spectacles blue,
Drove up in his new-crested car.
He arrived just in time to exchange a last line
With Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

There's a tomb rises up where the Blue Danube rolls,
Engraved there in characters clear,
Is, "Stranger, when passing, oh pray for the soul
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir."

A splash in the Black Sea one dark moonless night
Caused ripples to spread wide and far,
It was made by a sack fitting close to the back,
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

A Muscovite maiden her lone vigil keeps,
'Neath the light of the cold northern star,
And the name that she murmurs in vain as she weeps,
Is Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

Finally . . . Instead of a a cartoon, a nice sign off:

1 comment:

Perry said...


You deserve a good shellacking for suggesting 78 rpm records were vinyl; they were made from shellac.

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