Tried by the Centre Court
At the Drop of a Hat
At the Drop of Another Hat
The Bestiary of Flanders and Swann
And Then We Wrote...
May I first of all introduce, at the piano, the distinguished pianist, composer, linguist and troglodyte, the man of whom Kenneth Tynan once said, Donald Swann. I'm Michael Flanders, no relation to the Moll of the same name. I hope. We write songs, I write the words of these songs, Swann here writes the music, and this evening we hope to bring you all that is best in England's remaining cultural heritage with some more of our respectable songs for responsible people.
We've had an absolutely marvellous time since we saw you last. We've been all the way round the world, er, visiting the Commonwealth while it's still there. We went to Hong Kong, we went to the late Singapore, we spent six dreadf - delightful months in Australia, entertaining the Australians, whose need, let's face it, is greater even than yours. Still quite a lot of them there, hopping around all over the place. We found of course their way of life is wholly different from our own, for example they have Coronation Street on a Tuesday. We were told, though, that their seasons, in Australia, were the other way 'round. This is complete nonsense, because they had their winter in August just the same as we do, and we get another one just about now. DS: We do and all. MF: Donald took some marvellous photographs of the world (. . .?) shipped 'round you know, from an altitude of four feet, showing conclusively that certain parts are white with blurry edges, and the remainder black with crosses on it; a very considerable scientific achievement. I do mention this because there was a rumour going around that we only went abroad in order to get some honour for our services to exports. Now this is wholly untrue. As I think it's been rightly said that today an honour is not without profit except in your own country. Thank you very much.
We're all right, we have about 300 estate agents and mortgage brokers here this evening; no wonder we never get a house, my goodness. Ought to be home, mugging up the new rent act, I think, really, so that they can break my mortgage, that'll be something.
Let's get started on the first song; he likes it, he's got worries of his own. Not to worry, we have a good time. Think we're going to get any down here? I hope so. Never mind. Mind your feet. This is a sort of test piece, it doesn't count really, it's the first one. Helps us to get the pitch of the hall; see if we're all right for quantity. It's all about shyness, it's called Twice Shy.
When a man comes bouncing into a pub
With a couple of girls in tow,
When he sets up a shout of 'Drinks all round And a table for six please, Joe!'
When he kisses the barmaid, Knocks down the dart-board, Yells for the cabaret ...
When you're wondering whether you might move on
Someone is sure to say:
I say, you know what his trouble is really, don't you?
Underneath all that noise, he's really a very shy person.
He's shy, he's shy,
Though he wears a fluorescent tie.
With a deep-down need to assert himself,
We know the reason why:
He's shy, he's shy
Give him another try:
When you hear his voice in a crowded room
And that laugh (Ha! Ha!) like a sonic boom,
Go right on over to meet your doom
'Cause underneath he's shy,
He's really terribly shy.
When it's Ladies' Night at the Carlton Club
And a young woman comes in
Smoking a six-inch Burmah cheroot
And playing a violin-,
When she leaps on a table,
Strips off her sable, Shouting
'Who wants a lark?'
Then the elderly member who signed her in
Will tentatively remark:
'Yes, well I'm afraid she does tend to over-compensate for a basic lack of self-confidence.
She's shy, she's shy,
She's as sensitive as you or I.
Too bad she has to behave like this,
It makes you want to cry. She's shy, so shy,
We know the reason why.
Though her private life is a public mess
And she's written a book called, I Confess
Still she looks quite sweet in her topless dress,
And underneath she's shy,
She's really dreadfully shy!
Well of course there are times when we're all ill at ease
Though we try to act suave and cool-,
When everyone seems to know everyone else
It's just like that first day at school.
It can be a nuisance
Trying to mix with the crowd:
Knowing that one is probably talking just-that-tiny-little-bit-too-fast
And laughing a lot too loud ...
MF: Well, where's the laugh then?
DS: But I did it last time
MF: Well, you do it again.
DS: But there are people looking!
MF: Well I'm not going to do it! For goodness' sake!
DS: It's embarrassing.
MF: Oh, it's like acting with Lassie!
We're shy, we're shy,
You'll have spotted it with half an eye;
And it does no good to conceal that fact, it's useless to deny:
You're shy, I'm shy,
However hard we try:
Though we've got the music and words off pat,
Every blessed time that we Drop Our Hat
We can't help wondering what we're at -
Cause underneath we're shy,
We're really terribly SHY!
Originally from the album 'Tried by the Centre Court'.