Auntie Elizabeth - story

A story told by Jake on 'Jake Thackray and Songs', BBC TV 20 January 1981

I’ve got an auntie, er, a maiden aunt, Auntie Elizabeth; she’s a bit bloody doolally. Er, I’m not d – I’m not doing – I’m not being disloyal to her by telling you that in, you know, in public, because she knows she’s doolally. She’ll say "Hullo, I’m Elizabeth Thackray. I’m doolally". And . . . well . . .

About, oh, eight or nine years ago she had a bad patch in her life where she kept on . . . having to go into hospital. And the reason wh – for that was because she kept on falling down stairs. In the darkness. It was always in the dark and it was always down the stairs, and she kept on breaking bits of herself; you know. And there was hardly a week went by where there wasn’t some bit of Auntie Elizabeth that wasn’t covered in plaster. So after a bit the GP thinks: ‘Well, I don’t know, this is a bit funny, you know’. He sent her to see a psychiatrist. Because of – he – he thought of course that she was . . . taking a bit of a dive, you know, trying to go. And it was ty – typical of Auntie Elizabeth that she’d – she would do it in – if she was going to commit suicide, she’d do it indoors. I mean she wouldn’t chuck herself out of the bedroom window onto the pavement because of what the neighbours might think. So they sent her to see a psychiatrist.

Now the reason why . . . Lizzie was . . . going headlong down the stairs was something other. The fact was that ou- on the landing just outside her bedroom door there was a loose floorboard. Not loose enough for her to trip over, but what had happened was that th – erm – the floorboard had come out of the joist, see, and the nail was still stuck in. And when it had been replaced the nail went neatly into an electric cable. So Auntie comes . . . out of the bedroom, stands on the nail, into the cable, electricity up the nail, into Auntie, the lights go out and phttt! down she goes. And – and they sent her to a psychiatrist! You know. I mean, a couple of minutes with a National Health electrician would’ve done the job.

[Followed, for some reason, by The Remembrance]

Buy the DVD

jake bbc dvd

The DVD of the BBC series 'Jake Thackray and Songs' is now available to buy online via Amazon.

'Magnificent' (The Independent)

'Jake Thackray and Songs', broadcast in 1981, captures him at the height of his powers; it paints an intimate portrait of Jake as a live artist, playing to audiences in the small venues where he felt most comfortable.

This BBC-licensed DVD, professionally produced from the original BBC masters, features all of Jake's performances from the series: thirty of his greatest songs, along with his inimitable between-songs chat and storytelling.

Also included are previously unreleased performances by three outstanding guest artists: Ralph McTell, Alex Glasgow and Pete Scott.