Saturday 10 Dec 2016

Greenland Fisheries
David Simmonds

This is a classic whaling song, co-opted by Pete Seeger, the noted socialist proponent of free speech. The conventional lyrics, of this song, are ostensibly attributed to Seeger, who won't allow publication, without payment, and there's some contention about the origin and ownership of the actual lyrics. It's likely this folk song existed, in one form or another, for several hundred years prior to Seeger, who's older than Fred Flintstone.

Performers, notably "The Pogues," use their own versions, of the lyrics. Click here for the lyric used by "The Pogues."

David Simmonds also uses his own, up-dated lyrics, when performing "Greenland Fisheries." Here are his lyrics from a recent show, a tad less salty, but still definitely fun.

'Twas the year two thousand and 0 0 6
On June on the 18th day
That our gallant ship got its feng shui fixed
And for Greenland bound away brave boys - and for Greenland bound away

The lookout in the crows nest stood
And he yelled out through the fog
There's a curd there's a curd there's a giant curd he cried
And we cheered with non fat grog brave boys - we cheered with non fat grog

The captain stood on the quarter deck
Clenched a glass of herbal tea
Time to haul time to haul grab your sandals one and all
Or there'll be vegan miso-ry brave boys - there'll be vegan miso-ry

So the boats were launched with the men aboard
And that curd came in full view
Then the cabin boy said let us eat bok choy
If we land that great tofu brave boys -- if we land that great tofu

We struck a lump with a monstrous thump
But it broke free as a bird
The boat capsized and four men were drowned
And we never caught that curd brave boys - we never caught that curd

To lose four men the captain said
Fills my heart with much defeat
But now my crew has lost that big bambu
It's muesli we will eat brave boys - it's muesli we will eat

The winter star it now appears
No time to waste and brood
So it's anchors away leave the giant curds to play
While we search for natural food brave boys - while we search for natural food

Yes Greenland is a dreadful place
It's so hard to land tofu
And if you've just heard that your market's out of curd
Don't blame it on this crew brave boys - don't blame it on this crew

Now a year has passed since we raised our mast
And we've met to swap some lies
But to keep up our good cheer we drank alcoholic beer
With burgers rings and fries brave boys - with burgers rings and fries

Click here for all comments by David Simmonds

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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