It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing...
So, are we in the dazzling, exciting, unpredictable world of jazz?
Just the opposite.
We're in a place where everyone plods. Even the fire and rescue service plod. Even when there's an emergency.
Plod. Plod. Plod.
Captain Flack is the chief fireman, and before his men plod dutifully to their fire engine to sort out the next emergency they make a point of wasting even more valuable time having a roll-call.
That's Captain Flack on the right. The other firemen are called:
Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb!
So, where are we? We're in Gordon Murray's 1960s stop-frame animation for pre-school children, Trumpton. Alison Prince wrote the script, which was chiefly about the firemen being marvellous. The only slight constraint on her was that she couldn't involve any fire, smoke or water in the stories because that would be too hard to animate.
The very excellent music was by Freddie Phillips, and the very excellent lyrics to the very excellent songs were written jointly by Phillips and Prince.
Phillips also claimed credit for introducing the first Pugh in the roll call, to fit in better with the swing of his six-eight music.
So that now, if you say Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew...to someone, more or less anyone, in Britain, they will respond with huge enthusiasm: Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb!
In fact, you'll be lucky if you get past the second Pugh without everyone in the room joining in.
What makes this string of names so irresistibly satisfying? Is it the six-eight rhythm? Is it the sheer infectious pleasure of the SHOUTING? Is it the random silliness of the names?
In a way it doesn't matter. These small firemen have given millions of people much joy for many years, and will continue to do so for many more.
What more could we possibly want?
Word To Use Today: Cuthbert. Hints for use:
St Cuthbert's beads are the fossils of the stalky bit of a sea lily:
(you can put on string to help you count your prayers) and St Cuthbert's duck:
is the eider, which St Cuthbert protected on the Farne Island.