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Brahn Boots

by R P Weston and Bert Lee (1940)

Brown Boots
Brown Boots

The song-monologue Brahn Boots separates itself from the other Northern monologues in this series, in that it is decidedly Cockney; even though none of the distinctive Cockney rhyming slang is used.

Cockney was originally the dialect of the working class of the East End of London. Perhaps because it is from the more affluent south of England, some Northerners feel the Cockney dialect sounds rather posh.

Like the working class of the East End of London, the working class of the Northern counties such as Yorkshire and Lancashire, have had an equally restricted level of education. As a result, the Northern dialect has retained many Middle Ages English terms such as "thee" and "thou" in everyday speech. To some Southerners, this gives an air of Shakespearean sophistication.

These two viewpoints go some way in explaining the lingering mutual suspicion between Northerners and Southerners.

Credit then to performers such as Stanley Holloway, who shows that Northern or Southern, their feelings and values have much in common.

Anyway, let's get on with the funeral.

(Isn't it ironic that the first three letters of 'funeral' spell 'fun'.)

Our Aunt Hannah's passed away,
We'd her funeral today,
And it was a posh affair -
Had to have two p'licemen there!

The 'earse was luv'ly all plate glass,
And wot a corfin! oak and brass!
We'd fah-sands weepin', flahers gaore,
But Jim, our cousin - what d'yer fink 'e wore?

Why Brahn boots! I ask yer- brahn boots
Fancy comin' to a funeral in brahn boots!
I will admit 'e 'ad a nice black tie,
Black finger nails and a nice black eye;

But yer can't see people orf when they die in brahn boots!
And Aunt 'ad been so very good to 'im,
Done all that any muvver could fer 'im,
And Jim, her son, to show his clars

Rolls up to make it all a farce
In brahn boots - I ask yer - brahn boots!
While all the rest
wore decent black and mourning suits.

I'll own he didn't seem so gay,
In fact he cried best part the way,
But straight, he reg'lar spoilt our day
Wiv 'is brahn boots.

In the graveyard we left Jim,
None of us said much to him,
Yus, we all give 'im the bird,
Then by accident we 'eard

'Ed given 'is black boots to Jim Small,
A bloke wot 'ad no boots at all,
so p'raps Aunt Hannah doesn't mind
She did like people who was good and kind.

But brahn boots! I ask yer - brahn boots!
Fancy coming to a funeral in brahn boots!
And we could 'ear the neighbours all remark
"Wot, 'im chief mourner? Wot a bloomin' lark!

Pennies from heaven
It's wonderful you were able to take it with you.
But now what are you going to do with it!

"Why 'e looks more like a Bookmaker's clerk - in brahn boots!"
That's why we 'ad to be so rude to 'im,
That's why we never said "'Ow do!" to 'im,
We didn't know - he didn't say.

He'd give 'is other boots away.
But brahn boots! I ask yer - brahn boots!
While all the rest
wore decent black and mourning suits!

But some day up at Heaven's gate
Poor Jim, all nerves will stand and wait
Till an angel whispers "Come in, Mate,
Where's yer brahn boots?"


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