Jo Bell. Have a Go Jo, Come and Have a Go . . .

Hey ho doods, turns out that they have finally given the Year 1 poetry strand of my old MMU job to Jo Bell. It’s Jo’s first venture into higher ed tutoring, apparently, so all good wishes to her from me. I’ve met Jo a few times and she looks young enough not to have to tread in fear of the MMUC’s ageist policy – for a year or two anyway :-)

ON A NEW YEARS DAY

People have been asking for the lyric to this song of mine about the Sneyd Colliery Explosion in 1942.

This event, although belonging to what feels like an entirely different world, is still in living memory. I recently met a fella who was a 17-year-old lad at the time of it and remembers it well as well he might. He escaped the tragedy as he worked a different shift to the victims.

I know I told the story of the Sneyd disaster in an earlier blog, but did not (in so far as I can remember and I’m feeling far too idle right now to check it out) actually post the words, so here they are:

ON A NEW YEARS DAY

He who dares cut the coal, old pitmen say,
On a New Years Day
Has a wife make his snappin’, a widow take his pay
On a New Years Day

Bomber planes are flying, back to work it is
On a New Years Day
Sally stop your crying, give me one more kiss
On a New Years Day

The winding wheel is turning, the cage at the drift
On a New Years Day
Collier lads and Bevin Boys start their morning shift
On a New Years Day

At the Banbury Crut jig a rope begins to fray
On a New Years Day
The air is choked with powdered coal, the coal tubs runaway
On a New Years Day

The first down-coming tub scrapes up a spark
On a New Years Day
A coal dust blast rips apart the dark
On a New Years Day

At the pithead wives are waiting in sorrow and in grief
On a New Years Day
Their silence only broken by words of disbelief
On a New Years Day

Collier wives and Bevin Boys and boys in soldier suits
On a New Years Day
When bells ring out for war, we are all recruits
On a New Years Day

When the names are numbered, the roll of honour called
On a New Years Day
To the spoil heaps of the battlefields add fifty-seven more
On a New Years Day

© W. Terry Fox

If you want to actually hear this song sung, come to see StringFing at the New Inn, Derby Street, Hanley, on the evening of Thursday, October 21st. I have promised to put OANYD into our programme. Come down anyway even if you don’t want to hear it sung. You’ll be among some of the finest people walking this whole round earth – excluding the band of course.

May your steps be light and lead you along the road to happiness,

Terry


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