This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Saturday, 29 July 2017

Saturday Rave: ging gang goolie.

On 29 July 1907 Sir Robert Baden-Powell set up a camp for boys on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, England. He charged £1 for the public school boys and 3s 6d for the others (a public school in Britain is a particularly old and famous one for which you pay fees to attend). This camp is regarded as the beginning of the Scout movement.

The Scout movement has many fine principles and, I'm sure, does a lot of good. I was both a Brownie and a Guide and quite enjoyed it, especially the bonkers bits of which there were many. Examples included dancing round a plastic toadstool, and an odd way of welcoming strangers where we had to squat down in a circle, then repeatedly half-rise to our feet while hooting like an owl before suddenly jumping up, clapping our hands, and shouting welcome welcome welcome.

An odd way to greet people, to be sure, though I can't remember anyone actually running out screaming.

The best thing of all about being a Brownie or a Guide, though, was the singing. 

Some of it was educational: 

Oh you can't go to heaven (oh you can't go to heaven)
In a baked bean tin (in a baked bean tin)
'Cos a baked bean tin ('cos a baked bean tin)
'Sgot baked bins in ('sgot baked beans in).

But lots of it was utter gorgeous nonsense. 

Ging gang goolie goolie goolie goolie watcha
Ging gang goo, ging gang goo.

Ging gang goolie goolie goolie goolie goolie watcha
Ging gang goo, ging gang goo.

Hayla, oh hayla shayla, oh hayla shayla, shayla, oh-ho.
Hayla, oh hayla shayla, oh hayla shayla, shayla, oh.

Shally wally, shally wally, shally wally, shally wally,
Oompah, oompah, oompah, oompah.



This was hugely liberating, though why I have no idea at all. I should imagine it's partly the tune, which has been said to be from Mozart's Symphony No 1*. 

Word To Use Today: goo. It is said this word for a thick sticky substance was made up in the 1900s, but from where it came isn't clear. It might even be the case that the song got there first.

By the way, pleasingly, the song was designed to be complete nonsense in all languages.

*Mozart's Symphony No 1 is well worth listening to (especially when you consider that Mozart was eight when he write it) though it doesn't, as far as I can spot, include the tune to Ging gang goolie.


No comments:

Post a Comment