An angel whispers “Come in, mate.”

Charles Cowling


For me, the music died the day Led Zeppelin released their first album. Pop got intellectual, up itself, the mope and dope bunch sagely mulling finer points of riffs and runs. It set friends against each other. Simon bought a bass guitar, I bought a ukulele and got heavily into music hall. It was love, not protest. Humour. Pathos and wistfulness. Making the best. I love that blend.

I am writing with fellow-blogger Patrick McNally especially in mind because I think he will especially enjoy the following monologue by Stanley Holloway. I’m sure you will, too. If you read Patrick’s blog you will see that I mistakenly call him Tom. My embarrassment is fresh and howling somewhat. But I had this lined up for him before I put my foot in it. Life must go on.

Our Aunt Hanna’s passed away,
We ‘ad her funeral today,
And it was a posh affair,
Had to have two p’licemen there!

The ‘earse was luv’ly, all plate glass,
And wot a corfin!… oak and brass!
We’d fah-sands weepin’, flahers galore,
But Jim, our cousin… what d’yer fink ‘e wore?

Why, brahn boots!
I ask yer… brahn boots!
Fancy coming to a funeral
In brahn boots!

I will admit ‘e ‘ad a nice black tie,
Black fingernails and a nice black eye;
But yer can’t see people orf when they die,
In brahn boots!

And Aunt ‘ad been so very good to ‘im,
Done all that any muvver could for ‘im,
And Jim, her son, to show his clars…
Rolls up to make it all a farce,

In brahn boots…
I ask yer… brahn boots!
While all the rest,
Wore decent black and mourning suits.

I’ll own he didn’t seem so gay,
In fact he cried most part the way,
But straight, he reg’lar spoilt our day,
Wiv ‘is brahn boots.

In the graveyard we left Jim,
None of us said much to him,
Yus, we all gave ‘im the bird,
Then by accident we ‘eard …

‘E’d given ‘is black boots to Jim Small,
A bloke wot ‘ad no boots at all,
So p’raps Aunt Hanna doesn’t mind,
She did like people who was good and kind.

But brahn boots!
I ask yer… brahn boots!
Fancy coming to a funeral,
In brahn boots!

And we could ‘ear the neighbours all remark
“What, ‘im chief mourner? Wot a blooming lark!
“Why ‘e looks more like a Bookmaker’s clerk…
In brahn boots!”

That’s why we ‘ad to be so rude to ‘im,
That’s why we never said “Ow do!” to ‘im,
We didn’t know… he didn’t say,
He’d give ‘is other boots away.

But brahn boots!
I ask yer… brahn boots!
While all the rest,
Wore decent black and mourning suits!

But some day up at Heavens gate,
Poor Jim, all nerves, will stand and wait,
’til an angel whispers… “Come in, Mate,
“Where’s yer brahn boots?”

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