Opie collection of children's games & songs

Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie (part 1 of 2)

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  • Type


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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

    Ordsall, Salford, Greater Manchester, England

  • Interviewers

    Opie, Iona (speaker, female)

  • Speakers

    unidentified (children)

  • Abstract

    Part 1 of 2. [00:00:00 - 00:37:23]. This recording, from St Clement's School, Ordsall, contains an interview with a small group of schoolboys who discuss marbles, ball games, card games and perform football songs. Much of the recording concerns marbles and the different games, rules and terms used in this game. The recording starts with the children explaining the different names for the marbles that they collect. They call the small iron marbles 'little canon balls'; the small glass marbles, 'magic ones' as the 'colours inside are like magic smoke'; standard small marbles 'rainbows' and large iron marbles 'ironsys'. One of the boys explains that the 'ironsys' bring the player good luck. The children also note that marbles that have chips in them are called 'alleys' [00:05:44]. Usually, when playing marbles, the children arrange them into a circle and then must throw one of their own marbles to knock one of the marbles out of the circle. If they are successful in doing this they get to keep the marbles in the circle [00:00:00 - 00:07:26]. Another game of marbles that the children play is called 'Holey'. They must find a hole in the pavement or grass and roll their marbles into this hole to win a point [00:06:24]. Iona asks if the children play marbles at any specific time of the year and they explain that people play marbles in 'seasons', similar to a 'football season' [00:06:50]. The boys then explain other terms that they use when playing marbles. If something is about to hit your marble you can shout 'stopsys' and put your feet in a 'V' shape to stop the marble. Another term regularly used is 'hitsys'. This is used when another player directly hits another's marble [00:07:52 - 00:11:22]. If you win a marble, you may have it for 'lends' or for 'keeps' and this is to be decided at the start of a game [00:11:46]. Lastly, the children describe another sort of game of marbles that can be played. You must attach a small piece of plasticine to each marble and build them up into a small pyramid. The players must then stand five to seven feet away and attempt to break the pyramid down [00:15:05 - 00:19:45]. The children also briefly mention two ball games that they play. The first is one that one of the boys describes to be 'American' and he learnt it while on holiday. Two players must stand in two squares, with two squares separating them. Each must attempt to then bounce a ball into the square furthest away from them to win a point [00:20:19 - 00:23:26]. Another boy then explains a game played with a ball and a penny. Two players must place a penny down between them and attempt to bounce their ball onto the penny. If the penny flips over, the player then wins a point [00:23:26 - 00:24:35]. The boys describe that they sometimes play with 'whizzers' or spin tops [00:26:45]. They also play games with cards (often football cards). The first is similar to a trick and involves the player placing a card on the back of his hand and trying to turn their hand over and catch the card [00:29:14 - 00:31:01]. The other is a game also called 'Whizzer' in which the player must flick his wrist to get the card to spin and land in a box on the ground [00:31:01 - 00:31:40]. Lastly, the children perform a few football songs. These are all in support of the football team, Manchester United. They sing 'We don't carry razors, we don't carry lead, we just carry hatchets, to bury in their head' [00:24:41 - 00:26:08]. They also sing a short rhyme with the lyrics 'We shall not, we shall not be moved' at [00:32:56 - 00:33:29].

  • Description

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

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