I practised beforehand...

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue May 6 06:18:00 EDT 2003

Kathleen mused:

>Reading the start of Deep Secret to my father, I realised DWJ also quotes
>from a Flanders&Swann song. F&S are one of those groups Not Enough People
>Know and I am always looking out for references to them. (Once I ended up
>singing snatches at the dining table with our college principal which was
>a surreal experience). Pratchett's Rude Mechanicals quote a line in Lords
>and Ladies, and so does Maree when she says to Janine, having passed the
>driving test, "I practised beforehand and ruined your fun", which is from
>A Song of Patriotic Prejudice:
>The English, the English, the English are best,
>I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest.
>All over the world, each nation's the same,

I think this line usually starts "And over the ocean", which gives a
pleasing internal rhyme for "notion".  It's the verse about America...

>They've simply no notion of playing the game.
>They argue with umpires, they cheer when they've won
>And they practise beforehand which ruins the fun."
>At least, the resemblances is striking.

I'm one hundred per cent sure this is a quote by DWJ.  And for why?
Because I have heard her attempt to sing it, when not strictly one hundred
per cent stone cold sober, at a Novacon.

She claims she can't carry a tune in a bucket, but she definitely knew the

She did the "And they sing far too loud far too often and *flat*" bit with
great feeling and gusto, being Welsh.


Kathleen, do you know the two "lost" F&S LPs, *And Then We Wrote* and
*Tried By The Centre Court*?  They don't seem to be in the boxed CD set
that purports to be the "complete" F&S.


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