Bondi

Some years ago (first guess, last century, more likely the 1980s than the 1990s) I heard a song Is ’e an Aussie, is ’e Lizzie? by the duo Mr Flotsam and Mr Jetsam (I seem to remember simply ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’). At the time I didn’t have access to the resources of the internet but I have recently found that they were the English songwriter/pianist/tenor Bentley Collingwood Hilliam and the New Zealand bass Malcolm McEachern. They performed light comic “with mild social commentary” and sentimental songs. (I also accidentally found the thrash metal band Flotsam and Jetsam, who presumably don’t.)

Is ’e an Aussie is apparently typical. (I recently included a link in a comment to a recent post, and my number one commenter of recent times, Batchman, said that it didn’t work in the USA. Try here or here or here, or search for ‘Is ’e an Aussie Flotsam Jetsam’.) It features rapid-fire and witty rhyming, almost all of it to do with Australia. In fact, in the first rhyme, Lizzie tells her girlfriend:

Mary-Anne I’ve met a man who says he’s an Austray-lee-an 

She says that he:

Throws a fond eye, talks of Bondi

But later we learn that:

He, being well-born, lived in Melbourne

Hang on …

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Yesterday, now – grammar in pop songs

Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away

Yesterday is a good word to prompt for past simple tense: Every day I ____ pizza, Yesterday I ____ pizza, Every day this week I ____ ____ pizza.

Most past simple verbs are regular and made by adding -ed to the base form (seem, seemed), but about 100 of the most frequently used and important are irregular and change in other ways (eat, ate, eaten) or not at all (put, put, put).

Now it looks as though they’re here to stay

Now is not a good time to demonstrate present simple. For action verbs, now usually uses present simple: Now I am eating pizza, not *Now I eat pizza. Compare now meaning ‘nowadays’: When I was young I didn’t eat pizza and Now I eat pizza. But looks here is a state verb, which rarely uses present simple: Now it looks as though they’re here to stay v ?Now it is looking as though they’re here to stay. Compare something which is more changeable: An hour ago the sky was clear. Now it looks/it’s looking as though it is going to rain/like it will rain/like rain. (A better prompt for present simple is ‘every day’.)

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