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Origins/lyr: The Grangetown Whale

Reiver 2 22 Mar 10 - 11:50 PM
Splott Man 23 Mar 10 - 04:41 AM
Geoff the Duck 23 Mar 10 - 05:02 AM
Geoff the Duck 23 Mar 10 - 05:05 AM
Nigel Parsons 23 Mar 10 - 05:24 AM
Reiver 2 23 Mar 10 - 11:46 AM
Jim Dixon 24 Mar 10 - 02:46 PM
Anne Lister 24 Mar 10 - 06:03 PM
GUEST,Peter Meazey 01 Nov 10 - 02:54 PM
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Subject: Folklore: The Grangetown Whale
From: Reiver 2
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 11:50 PM

I'm looking for information on the event commemorated in the song written by Frank Hennessey called "The Grangetown Whale" or "The Mighty Grangetown Whale." I have some sketchy information but would like to get the complete real story behind this song. I tried emailing Frank Hennessey a few months ago but never received a reply. Frank may never have seen my request. A Lyrics and Knowledge search turns up no reference to the song in the Mudcat archives.

Here's what I know [or think I know]. The carcass of a whale washed up on shore somewhere in south Wales. Some enterprising men found the carcass and decided that they could turn a profit by exhibiting it. So they loaded it on a flatbed truck and created a mobile exhibet. After a time the carcass became so "fragrant" - in spite of "pickling" it with formaldehyde - that they buried it somewhere near the town of Grangetown on the outskirts of Cardiff.

Some time later [in the 1970s?] a major flooding of the River Taff unearthed the remains. This event inspired Frank Hennessee to write the fine "tongue-in-cheek" song about hunting the mighty Grangetown Whale.

I'd like to know how close the above is to the actual event. Any information that can fill out the details of the story, and correct any errors or inacuracies in the above, would be most welcome. I'd also like to see the lyrics posted here on the Mudcat. Thanks in advance. The song can be found on the Oceans Apart CD, entitled "Tethered To The Foam," www.oceansapartmusic.com


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyr: The Grangetown Whale
From: Splott Man
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 04:41 AM

Cardiff did indeed suffer flooding on 27 December 1979.

Catter Nigel Parsons may be able to shed more light.

Try Frank Hennessy again via his BBC Celtic Heartbeat web page

Splott Man.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyr: The Grangetown Whale
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 05:02 AM

When I saw the thread title, my reaction was "I've seen the same question asked before. Like you I tried the forum search which drew a blank, but I am aware that recently there have been comments about forum search not working, so tried google and similar, which picked up this thread but not earlier ones, and a couple of extrenal references to the whale story.
I then went back to the thread title filter on the main page, put in Grangetown and set it to search "all" threads and got a result. There are three threads listed, one from 2002, which was refreshed by you in 2008, and a second started by you in 2008.
Between them, the two threads cover the external links I found via google, plus an attempted transcription of lyrics from a recording followed by correction of place names, but maybe someone reading this thread can shed light which earlier contributors couldn't.

BBC Wales web site still lists Frank Hennessy as presenting their folk show, but also as co presenter of another one "I'll Show You Mine "which has a "contact the show" box. You could try another attempt at direct contact there.

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyr: The Grangetown Whale
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 05:05 AM

That should, of course have been have been "external references", and nothing to do with kidneys at all.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyr: The Grangetown Whale
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 05:24 AM

Little by little:
This site: Ninian Park School gives:

The school adopted a new logo, designed by a pupil. The whale on the logo symbolises the Grangetown whale, which is the true story of how a dead whale was washed up in the 1930s on the banks of the river Taff, near the Marl playing fields. People came from far and wide to see it. The Bluebird on the logo is the symbol of Cardiff City F.C., who are nicknamed the Bluebirds. Our school is named after their ground, Ninian Park.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyr: The Grangetown Whale
From: Reiver 2
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 11:46 AM

My bad, here. I thought I had asked about this a few years ago. I wonder why the thread didn't turn up when I searched for it yesterday? Anyway, my apologies for missing it. I think most of my questions were answered, and I can piece together the salient points and places. I'm in awe of the incredible resource that is The Mudcat Cafe! These two threads should probably be combined, but I don't know how to do that. Maybe Joe Offer can take care of that?

A sad footnote: Ocean's Apart is no longer performing. A fine musical duo, I miss them.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyr: The Grangetown Whale
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 02:46 PM

The lyrics to THE GRANGETOWN WHALE have already been posted here. The text there has a few errors that are corrected in later messages.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyr: The Grangetown Whale
From: Anne Lister
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 06:03 PM

Frank is easily contacted via the BBC ... he's also very good at replying to emails. When in doubt, go to the writer! (at least, that's my motto)


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyr: The Grangetown Whale
From: GUEST,Peter Meazey
Date: 01 Nov 10 - 02:54 PM

I've seen so much garbage written about this that I think it's time to set the record straight.I scribbled the first few verses of this on the back of beer mats in The Conway the day after the floods in 1979. The rest was written at home the same evening (28th December). I read it on a BBC Wales programme on the 1st of January then at several folk clubs (The Keys, Chapter). At the time I was producing quite a lot of this sort of verse, intended to be read in public. Frank Hennessy subsequently fitted music to the Whale and Billy the Seal.
I knew a bit about Billy, my dad had seen him, but the Whale is totally imaginary - if there ever was a whale in Grangetown I've certainly never heard about it.
I'm not really surprised that there are some far-fetched stories going round, that's Canton for you, but one or two people would do well to calm down a bit.
The funny bit is that none of them have picked up on the story of the Brain's Brewery lorry being used to save a small menagerie from the Sophia Gardens. We called it the Daark Aark.
Ta ra


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