Agonizomai: The English Are Best

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The English Are Best
Being and older codger, I have peculiar tastes in music. I like Gilbert and Sullivan, for example. And I adore Bach's Toccata and Fuge in D Minor played at full volume, but not while the neighbors are sleeping ( a courtesy often NOT reciprocated, and with some sort of heavy metal music).

My father introduced me early on to the musical stylings of Flanders and Swann, a duo who entertained on stage in the 60s through the late 80s. Their shtick was political satire and self-deprecating social commentary. They are also known for their animal repertoire such as "The Hippopotamus Song" and "I'm a Gnu".

Some of their stuff is hard to understand today, absent the historical and political context of their times. And, of course, so-called "tolerance" has made some of their humor potentially offensive. But there's giving offense and taking offense - and they're not always the same thing. In this song they seem to set out to offend practically everyone but, if you still think that in the end then you misunderstand them. They are actually poking fun at the imperialistic, class-riddled and snobbish attitudes of SOME in English society during their own era.

This little song was part of a performance given to an American audience. Knowing this might help to get some of the subtle pokes in the song. Enjoy (if you can)...





6 Comments:

Blogger Roxylee said...

You're right- this is a fun bit of levity amidst the serious Hebrews study. That, too has been refreshing to my soul.

I would never be able to sing this and keep a straight face. It reminds me of Shel Silverstein, the American counterpart to this style of song with piano.

You actually sleep with your boots on? LOL

9:33 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Roxylee,

You actually sleep with your boots on? LOL

No - that would be the Irish (allegedly). We English are too civilized for such crassness.

But you just proved that we ARE misunderstood :-)

Blessings,


Tony

3:40 pm  
Blogger Roxylee said...

Heehee, I got two things wrong in my post, then. I also got Shel Silverstein confused with Tom Lehrer!

5:24 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Roxylee,

The only thing I remember of Lehrer's is "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park". Today the SPCA would likely want to see him fined and/or in prison for that bit of satirical nonsense - or was it out and out nihilism?

Blessings,


Tony

7:57 am  
Blogger Roxylee said...

The SPCA people must never have sat, eating a sandwich on a park bench in NYC.
Yeh, Tom wasn't PC, but he sure was funny!

8:12 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Roxylee,

Well, it may be a matter of taste butas for this sort of satirical humor, all I can say is "The English, the English, the English are best...." :-)


Blessings,


Tony

8:20 am  

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