Sunday, 18 May 2008

What the Caked Crusader chose to bake to this week (17 May 2008)

Luckily for me (and my CD collection), I am not a person who worries about having “street cred” or appearing cool to others. Hence I have no qualms in revealing that whilst baking this week I listened to George Formby. Laugh if you want, but I think he’s great – I’m not even claiming to love him in an ironic or post-modern way!

Surely everyone’s favourite banjolele-playing singer? It’s often (erroneously) stated – even in George Formby’s song lyrics - that he played a ukulele, what he actually played was a banjolele; as the name suggests it’s a banjo-ukulele hybrid.

A singer, stage performer and, hard though it may be to believe, film star George Formby’s fame was at its height in the 1930s and 40s, when Britain was struggling through World War 2 and humour was a vital pick-me-up. His cheeky Northern persona coupled with the ability to sing frankly filthy double entrendres – some of which are still pretty near the knuckle today – made him a superstar. Don’t believe me? Well, in the 1930s Associated Talking Pictures were paying him a staggering £100k a year to make movies for them. During 1934-45 he was a bigger draw at the UK box office than any other star, and when you consider that these were the days of Cary Grant and Clark Gable you start to realise the magnitude of his appeal.

I admit that his vocals are probably an acquired taste; not everyone is going to love the slightly whiney, high pitched Lancashire singing voice but it you do like it then boy are there some great tracks! His comic timing and skilful playing are so effortless that it’s easy to dismiss just how talented George Formby was. Not all of the material works in today’s politically correct world but it’s never nasty – more gentle leg pulling, and more often than not the humour is self-deprecating.

George Formby’s songs fall into two camps really: there’s the truly lovely songs such as “Leaning on a lamppost” and then the end-of-the-pier style comedy numbers. Of the latter group “In my little snapshot album” has always been one of my favourites. Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

Now I’ve got a picture of the vicar’s wife, in my little snapshot album.
Chasing the Curate with a carving knife in my little snapshot album.
Now what he did was all in fun
But it’s not the kind of thing that’s done,
I can see he pinched her hot-cross bun, in my little snapshot album.

And I’ve got a picture of a nudist camp, in my little snapshot album,
All very jolly but a trifle damp, in my little snapshot album.
There’s Uncle Dick without a care,
discarding all his underwear,
But his watch and chain still dangle there, in my little snapshot album.

Eeeee, it’s turned out nice again!


Blog Princess G said...

My dad and I were thrilled to see this. He's kind of a Formby fan so I know the music. Hee hee. Do you find there are certain kinds of music you listen to for certain sorts of cooking? I do. Mmmm... good idea for a blog post I am thinking.

The Caked Crusader said...

That's an interesting question! I always thought that I picked the music based on my mood but maybe I am influenced by what I'm baking...I know for example that when I get round to making Armenian Nutmeg Cake I shall listen to System of a Down as they are Armenian Americans!

As to why it was George Formby this week - I saw his name come up on the MP3 player and realised I'd ignored him for too long....

Anonymous said...

and let's not forget the one and only Al Bowlly!