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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  • Subjects

    Children's games; Children's songs

  • Recording date


  • Is part of (Collection)

    Opie collection of children's games and songs

  • Recording locations

    Ordsall and Broughton, Greater Manchester, England

  • Interviewers

    Opie, Iona (speaker, female)

  • Speakers

    unidentified (children)

  • Abstract

    Part 1 of 2. [00:00:00 - 00:36:29]. This recording from Ordsall and Broughton in Greater Manchester, contains two separate interviews with a small group of girls from St Clements School in Ordsall, heard previously on C898/38/02 and a group of schoolboys in Broughton, November, 1970. From [00:00:00 - 00:12:57] the group of girls perform clapping, skipping and two-ball rhymes, alongside a few singing games. These include the skipping rhyme 'When Susie Was a Baby' which is continued on from the C898/38/02 recording [00:00:00 - 00:02:10]; a skipping game that they call 'England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales' [00:05:42 - 00:06:22] and the two-ball rhymes 'Plainsy, Billy Balloo' [00:02:56 - 00:03:40]; 'Jimmy Giraffe' [00:03:40 - 00:04:01]; 'Have a Cigarette, Sir' [00:04:03 - 00:04:32]; 'Can't Come to School, Sir' [00:04:38 - 00:04:45] and 'One, Two, Three, Alairy' [00:08:12 - 00:08:30]. The girls also perform the singing game 'On a Mountain' [00:04:45 - 00:05:30] but do not sing 'Ring a Ring o'Roses' as 'it's too babyish!' [00:02:43 - 00:02:56].  Iona asks the children what their favourite pop song is and while one child suggests 'Round the Clock', the others begin to sing 'Hey Big Spender!' [00:12:06 - 00:12:44]. The children also briefly sing a football song that begins with the line 'I hear the sound of distant drums', although one of the children laughs and explains that at football matches they actually sing 'I hear the sound of distant bums' which refers to the Manchester City players [00:06:22 - 00:08:11]. The group of girls also perform rhymes and jokes for Iona. These include the rhyme: 'silence in court, the judge is dead, somebody's farted and blew off his head' [00:09:00 - 00:09:16] and 'there once was a man named Paul, who went to a fancy dress ball, he decided to risk it and dress as a biscuit and a dog ate him up in the hall!' [00:09:16 - 00:09:28]. The children also tell question and answer jokes [00:09:30 - 00:10:49]. These include the joke: 'What's green and hairy and goes up and down?' Answer: 'a gooseberry in a lift'. After these jokes, the recording breaks and a new interview starts with a group of schoolboys from Broughton. Iona and the children discuss in detail marbles and the different games that they can play with these. They begin by explaining the different types of marbles that they collect. These range from glass marbles, pot marbles and large steel marbles. One of the children explains that they consider the large glass marbles lucky because they do not chip as easily and therefore last longer [00:12:57 - 00:19:34]. The children play many different games with their marbles. These include a game called 'Sticky Follow' which involves two players, one of whom must follow carefully the movement of the other player's marble. They must then attempt to 'tip' the marble to win [00:19:31 - 00:20:31]. They also play a game called 'Griddie' which one of the children tells Iona is a game that he brought with him to the school. To play this, the child must create a grid in a box that contains 'alleys' or marbles. The player must then try and get their marble in one of the boxes on the grid to win the marbles inside [00:21:10 - 00:22:08]. Other games that the children describe include games with marbles and a pack of cards in which you must roll your marble onto a high value card and a game that one of the boys calls 'Six Questions'. Each player must have six marbles and then be asked six questions. For each question they get wrong, the other player may take one of their marbles. However, as one of the boys explains, these questions often have no answer. For example, one question may be: 'how many grains of sand are there in the Sahara?' [00:32:00]. The recording then finishes shortly after the description of this game.

  • Description

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

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