Saturday, 11 July 2009

Brahn Boots

We have almost completed Stanley Holloway's monologues - Albert and Sam certainly. There remain some miscellaneous works, including something a bit different. I obtained from the net a youtube of Stanley performing a very famous classic called Brahn Boots in which he speaks in a broad Cockney accent. For those who do not know what this is, it is simply those who are born within the sound of Bow Bells in the heart of London. It is there great classic phrases originate like trouble and strife = wife, Play the Joana = play the piano, apples and pears = stairs, Adam and Steve = believe, butcher's hook = look, Ruby Murray = curry. It's almost another language sometimes. There is a popular TV 'soap' running here called East Enders - that's another name for it. Now after that little flavouring here is a very touching little monologue about a funeral, Brahn Boots followed by the text.

by R.P.Weston and Bert Lee (1940)

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 what a 'corfin' - oak and brass!
We'd 'fah-sands' weepin', flahers galore,
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 then 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 in 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

'E'd 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!

"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
'Til an angel whispers, "Come in, Mate,
Where's yer brahn boots ?"

Quite touching isn't it?


  1. Eddie, I loved this poem. I could visualize the funeral, the people and the brown boots. I thought Jim was a very kind soul to give his black boots to Jim Small. We could use more Jim's in this world.......:-) Bernie

  2. And the angel will surely say that to Jim.
    I think he is a dear....'brahn boots' and all.
    Thank you, Eddie.
    Smiles from Jackie
    P.S. I guess 'the bird' is a world-wide symbol, eh... :))

  3. Very nice post.


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