Opie collection of children's games & songs

Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie

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  • Subjects

    Children's games; Children's songs

  • Recording date


  • Is part of (Collection)

    Opie collection of children's games and songs

  • Recording locations

    Liss, Hampshire, England

  • Interviewers

    Opie, Iona (speaker, female)

  • Speakers

    unidentified (children)

  • Abstract

    Part 1 of 1. 00:00:00 - 00:18:59. This recording contains an interview with schoolchildren from Liss, many of whom have recently moved to the area from abroad or nearby cities. These include children who have moved from Portsmouth, America, Singapore and Germany. Often these geographical differences cause some confusion over the exact words to popular songs and throughout the recording the children sing songs that their classmates are unfamiliar with such as 'Head and Shoulders' [00:05:50 - 0:08:00] and 'Sunny Side Up' [00:08:25 - 00:10:21]. The girl who knows 'Head and Shoulders' has recently moved from a school in Portsmouth where she learnt the song, and another young girl thinks that she learnt it at Brownies. The song seems relatively new and Iona notes that she has not heard it before either. The girl who was familiar with the song 'Keep the Sunny Side Up' learnt it whilst living in Germany and the other children from Liss are unfamiliar with it. The children also perform the clapping song 'The Johnson's had a Baby' [00:04:00 - 00:05:07] and the singing game 'Diana Dors'. Iona notes that not all the children learnt this song whilst in Liss and one girl explains she was taught it at her previous school in Fleet [00:02:13 -00:02:57]. The girls are asked why they enjoy singing these songs and rhymes to which one girl replies: 'it's something nice to do' and better than 'walking round with the misses [dinner ladies]' [00:11:17]. The recording includes a brief discussion of a current TV programme called 'Kung Fu' which many of the children watch on a Saturday night [00:00:00 - 00:02:12]. Although the children do not say whether they re-enact this programme on the playground, it is later revealed that a card game called 'Kung Fu' cards was recently banned at the school [00:17:45 - 00:18:00]. The children are asked by Iona what games the boys enjoy playing, if they do not playing clapping and skipping games. One of the girls explains that they enjoy 'playing war' and goes onto to describe a girl in the school who also enjoys playing war with the boys. She is referred to as 'ugly' by her classmates. As she describes: 'everybody in the class says she is ugly' [00:14:35 - 00:15:00]. The girls note that often the boys are 'big bullies' on the playground but do not elaborate [00:16:05]. Some of the girls then reveal that they wrote a rhyme about one of their classmates in which they describe what a bully he is [00:16:14 - 00:16:48]. The remainder of the recording is concerned with other playground crazes such as marbles and conkers. The children explain that many variations of these games have been banned due to fighting and, in one instance, children even betting their pocket money on the outcome of the games [00:17:30 - 00:18:59].

  • Description

    Item notes: Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie. Speakers' notes: Group of Liss Schoolchildren

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