Thursday 10 September 2015

Ear Worm

My dears, I had an absolutely wonderful day. B.A. and I took the ferry from North Berwick to the village that had Saint Adrian (martyred by Vikings) buried in it, and then we walked to the village of Pittenweem, which has St. Fillan's cave (which we visited) and then we continued walking to the village of St. Monan, where we prayed in the mediaeval church (built by King David II), ignoring all the Church of Scotland rearrangement to kneel on the edge of the original sanctuary, facing the giant windows to the East. Then we hiked back for the ferry, running like billy-o for the last half mile.

From time to time, on this journey I would sing, "It's the real thing. Soap on a string." I had no idea why I kept doing that. There we were in Pittenweem, in a glorious chocolate shop with real drinking chocolate, and I began to sing "It's the real thing. La on a string."

I really wasn't sure what it was on the string. Soap seemed close, but not exactly right.

When we got home--still slightly damp from the choppy ferry ride back--I asked B.A. what on earth it was I was trying to sing. And, poppets, the horror, it is a Rangers Football Club sectarian (i.e. anti-Catholic) song. It's not "soap on a string". It's "pope on a string." (Hanging the pope was a popular theme in the British anti-Catholic songs of the pre-1990 era.)  And the only possible reason  I know this song at all is the nice Catholic convert I am married to. But as he never goes to football matches, why does he know it?

Please do not ask about the rest of the song. I am pretty sure that under the Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act transcribing it is a criminal offense. Besides, you don't want to read it.


  1. The only thing I can add is this:
    I don't know why, but I find this really hilarious!
    (Although I must admit that I had never heard of your football song before, so it's probably not that funny...)

    1. Sadly, like most football songs, it is hilarious. There is nothing like a British men's football chant. They can be obscene and appalling and cruel, but they are also hilarious, if sometimes in a sick way that makes you feel really bad about laughing. Case in point... No, not going there. Really, as a genre, British Men's Football Chant is something else. As is being in a mostly male Scottish sporting crowd when they start singing a song that I can only re-title "Floo-er of Scott Land".


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