This introduction appears from its content to have been made on a TV or radio programme with Ralph McTell some time in late 1982. It may be part of the TV programme recorded at the Highcliff Hotel folk club in Sheffield that Ralph refers to in his obituary note on Jake (see Ralph's website).
Incredible clappers, aren't they! Ace clappers! Start throwing them mackerel!
I don't know whether I've sung this in front of you, Ralph; I don't know whether you've heard this song. I think you might've done.
In our house at the moment, I thin- it seems to me that I've got 'elluva lot of kids - they seem to be all over the bloody place - they do! I mean . . . open a drawer and one pops out and - you know; it - and the thing is they're all male children: they're all "nippers". And there's - there's one peculiar thing that I'm beginning to noti-. I don't know what it's like in a household of girls, I've not a clue; I just know about these . . . lads. They're always running! They never s- they never walk; they always- they're always bloody trotting. And me and Sheila stand in the hall and we're watching them whizzing by and, you know, like a bunch of bloody ponies, they are. I've got- I've got this theory that children- that boys actually slow down and start walking at the age of sexual awareness. At - th- you know, they - ooof [loud intake of breath], then they blush, all - gulp! er - you know, er . . . "Mrs Wilkinson, er, is your child walking yet?" "Oh hell, no; he's only - he's only eight!" You know, it's . . .
Well . . . The nippers at the - the little trotters, the younger end, they've discovered war, they've discovered erm - well they've got a real - they've had some real live wars, you know, I mean they missed Vietnam and all they've see- all they know about war is the John Wayne sort-of version. And since April, since the South Atlantic, they've discovered war. They read about it in the paper and we get maps out, and they play at it. And, d'you know, it appals me; it appals me. They're playing at Argies and Brits: "Look, I'll tell you what: I'll be the 3rd Para, and you go and lie down in the mud over there and be an Argie." They do! But I hear them and - it - it appals me and . . . at night-time, when they go, when they go to bed, on our way to bed we, you know, you look in - you look in the children's room, in the dormitory, and their night-time conversation goes like this: "Eeeeow! Uh-uh-uh-uh! Boom! Krrrr!" I- I find it so appaling, you know, especially as . . . it's an irony that at the same time as th- as children are discovering the world of sexuality, the best things about life, you know, they're also, they're discovering . . . er - moral confusion: to be confused about . . . who is responsible. You know, after the bloody massacre, people would ask "Who did it?" "We didn't do it. They did it." "Oh no, we didn't do it, oh no. They did it, over there." "Ah, no, but, er . . ." You know, all this dodging and chicanery and . . .
Now we're, we're adults; we're adults, and we know that important people, people in important places, are more often than not . . . fiddlers, and dodgers, and duckers, and weavers. I mean, we know this, but you know, to see a child getting the message . . . Er . . . Uh - de -
You don't mind me going on like that? It just came on; it just came on; it -. See what you think: it's a peculiar song, but I quite like it.
This introduction is from a session at the Red Lion Folk Club, Birmingham, November 1986, clearly just after Remembrance Sunday
With last Sunday being what it was I’ll, I’ll just whop this little song - it’s a little peculiar song and, er . . . I’ve had it hanging about in a drawer for bloody ages and I sing it to friends and family and they, they look at me and they say "Well, yes, Jake old love, we er, you know, we know what you’re on about, but, for goodness’ sake, don’t go and sing it in front of real people". Erm . . . It’s – it’s a – it’s a – it’s a peculiar little thing; it’s an odd little bugger; but I do like it. I’ll – I’ll tell you what: I’ll just whop it in and see what you think.