Saturday, January 17, 2015

Song of the day

"Banana Boat (Day-O)", by Stan Freberg.

Notwithstanding that it bears the same relation to the ancient and noble sport of cricket as World Championship Wrestling bore to the ancient and noble sport of wrestling, the almost-15-year-old and I have been inexplicably glued to this year's Big Bash League. I don't think either of us is interested in it as a sporting contest as much as we are observing with morbid fascination how a thing can become commercialised to within an inch of its life and then a bit more, and yet still retain some slight vestige of the thing that it once was.

Heck, there is even a sponsor for the innings break.

What I have noticed is that every so often the cry of "Day-O", from Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song", erupts from the ground's loudspeakers. Aside from there being one or two West Indians scattered amongst the teams, I have no idea what purpose it serves. But at some point it brought back a childhood memory.

I spent a good amount of my primary-school-era downtime at the house of my best friend, Weary. On one such occasion Weary played me a seven-inch single that belonged to his mother, called "Banana Boat (Day-O)". It turns out to have been a parody of the Belafonte song, although I wouldn't have known that then. It amounted to a couple of grown-ups talking like beatniks (man) and occasionally singing a bit. It had us in stitches, to the point where, after a while, if one of us said "it's too loud, man" we would both be rolling around on the floor laughing unstoppably and gasping for breath.


And now I've got the next generation doing much the same. (Although instead of rolling around on the floor laughing they adopt the faintest hint of a smile, throw a pair of air quotes, and deadpan the word (if it be a word) "lol". And occasionally shout the word "Bunch!" As I said, "Kids.")

(Weary and I also got a good amount of mileage from the b-side, "Tele-Vee-Shun". ("I'm sick of it.") I haven't introduced the boys to that one. Yet.)