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The Ballad of Helen Titchener

GUEST, Paul Slade 11 Apr 16 - 07:07 AM
GUEST, Paul Slade 11 Apr 16 - 12:14 PM
JHW 11 Apr 16 - 03:12 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Apr 16 - 03:45 PM
BanjoRay 11 Apr 16 - 07:44 PM
Dave Hanson 12 Apr 16 - 03:08 AM
GUEST 12 Apr 16 - 03:15 AM
GUEST, Paul Slade 12 Apr 16 - 03:31 AM
Leadfingers 12 Apr 16 - 04:18 AM
GUEST 12 Apr 16 - 04:19 AM
Keith A of Hertford 12 Apr 16 - 05:43 AM
GUEST, Paul Slade 12 Apr 16 - 05:53 AM
GUEST 12 Apr 16 - 06:21 AM
GUEST, Paul Slade 12 Apr 16 - 06:27 AM
Johnny J 12 Apr 16 - 07:55 AM
GUEST, Paul Slade 12 Apr 16 - 03:19 PM
Steve Shaw 12 Apr 16 - 06:20 PM
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Subject: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: GUEST, Paul Slade
Date: 11 Apr 16 - 07:07 AM

I spent yesterday evening composing the following verses about recent events in Ambridge. If anyone thinks they're worth putting to music, I'd love to hear the resulting song.

The Ballad of Helen Titchener

Helen's heart always got damaged,
She never had much luck with men,
The winged god of love always managed,
To pick her a wrong 'un again,

First it was Greg the gamekeeper,
He wasn't a barrel of fun,
Greg made a date with the Reaper,
Shot himself dead with his gun,

Helen thought, "I know the answer,
"I must be too fat for romance,"
Developed an eating disorder,
Led all her family a dance,

Cheese-making proved her salvation,
Thank God for Borsetshire Blue!
Helen enjoyed its creation,
Set up a shop for it too,

Alone, she could not be contented,
Decided she wanted a brat,
Her parents both thought her demented,
When she used a sperm bank for that,

Henry was born nine months later,
They both lived in bliss for a while,
Helen climbed out of her crater,
Helen was learning to smile,

But then ? and we all might have guessed it,
For Helen's just put here to sob,
Her next swine from out of the cesspit,
Was married and bullying Rob,

Rob left his wife to wed Helen,
Soon she was pregnant again,
Though sometimes they seemed to be gellin',
Poor Helen was losing her brain,

Rob moulded Helen like putty,
Wormed his was into her head,
Told her her dresses were sluttly,
Forced himself on her in bed,

Threatened to send Henry packing,
Made her quit work at the shop,
Told her, "Your sanity's lacking",
Told her her driving must stop,

Kirsty saw what he was weavin'
Rob was destroying her friend,
Kirsty told Helen to leave him,
Bring this abuse to an end,

Helen screwed up all her courage,
Told Rob he was ruining her life,
Told him, 'I'm ending the marriage',
Rob handed Helen a knife,

"Go on, then, Helen," Rob told her,
"Your suicide's much for the best,"
Helen grew suddenly bolder,
Stabbed rotten Rob in the chest,

Now Helen's awaiting her trial,
And Rob's in a hospital bed,
For all of his cunning and guile,
Rob might very well end up dead,

Will Helen face charges for murder?
Will Henry be put into care?
Will Ambridge discover what stirred her?
Just tune in tonight ? if you dare.





[Lyrics by Paul Slade, April 11, 2016.]


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Kitchener
From: GUEST, Paul Slade
Date: 11 Apr 16 - 12:14 PM

That headline should read "Helen Titchener", of course. Damn you, auto-correct!

[Could Mudcat's guv'nors make a correction for me, please?]


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: JHW
Date: 11 Apr 16 - 03:12 PM

I used to listen to the Archers but gave up after 'the fall'


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Apr 16 - 03:45 PM

That is bloody brilliant, Paul. Any chance of you singing it? 😜


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: BanjoRay
Date: 11 Apr 16 - 07:44 PM

It goes well to the tune usually used for The Sexual Life Of A Camel.
How apt is that?

Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 03:08 AM

Who is Helen Titchener then ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 03:15 AM

Is "The Sexual life of a Camel" sung to the Eton Boating Song?

I say this because about 45 years ago (December 1970/January 1971) I went on a (so-called) educational cruise to the West Indies along with other schoolchildren (for reasons which I have never discovered, we were the only school there from Northern Ireland, the rest being kids from England, Scotland, etc, as well as so-called "First Class Passengers who were paying 4 or 5 times what we were) and remember some English schoolboys (they may have been from Holland Park Comprehensive, which actually I think was rather posh although the only reason I had heard of it was because there had been a riot there not long before) singing a bawdy song to this tune. At the time I probably didn't know the Eton Boating Song), one verse of which began "The Sexual Life of the Camel" (too rude to print here, kids might be reading this!).

Anyway, the tune fits the words above reasonably enough.

In imitation of the "Free Deirdre Rachid" campaign some years ago (taken up by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair) can we expect a "Free Helen Titchener" campaign?

I rarely listen to the Archers so wasn't aware of the liaison between Helen and the gamekeeper - this has echoes of Lady Chatterley's Lover. I tried to read this some years ago but it wasn't what I expected - there was practically nothing about pheasant rearing in the book. Similarily I tried reading a biography of Gandhi but found it full of gratuitous non-violence.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: GUEST, Paul Slade
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 03:31 AM

Believe me, Steve, no-one's going to want to hear me sing it - or anything else for that matter.

I'm OK at writing fairly straightforward lyrics like these, but I don't play any musical instrument and I can't sing to save my life. If any Mudcatters would care to perform the song, though, they're very welcome to do so.

The model I had in mind as I wrote the verses was Frankie & Johnny, which has that same relentless three-beat rhythm. Now I've got The Sexual Life of a Camel running throughly my head instead.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 04:18 AM

Being a regular Radio 4 listener I am fed up with the constant repetition of the Archers 'trail . NO criticism of the writing ,but if anyone sang this in my local club , I think I would adjourn to the bar for the duration !


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 04:19 AM

I don't think the tune of "Frankie and Johnny" (at least the one I am familiar with) quite fits the Ballad of Helen Titchener, as the verses are basically 6 lines:

Frankie and Johnny were Lovers
Lordy how they could Love
They swore to be true to each other
Just as true as the Stars above
He was her man
He wouldn't do her wrong

I always liked the last verse:

This story has no moral
This strory has no end
This story only goes to show
That there ain't no good in Men
He was her man
But he done her wrong!

To make the tune of F and J fit the Ballad of Helen Titchener, you would need to add another 2 lines to each verse of the latter (basically a chorus); it could be "She stabbed her man, 'cos he done her wrong"

Can I have one third of any royalties?


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 05:43 AM

Eton song would require the verses to be paired together.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: GUEST, Paul Slade
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 05:53 AM

There's another version of that Frankie & Johnny chorus which would suit Rob and Helen's tale rather well:

He was her man,
But he done her wrong.

I've also had a suggestion that the lyrics be sung to the tune of My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean - which I think is identical to The Sexual Life of a Camel anyway.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 06:21 AM

My Bonnie lies over the Ocean is not the same tune as The Eton Boating Song but perhaps the Sexual Life of the Camel can be sung to the former.

Most so-called Bawdy songs have no great artistic merit and are rarely worth writing a new tune for, as there would be plenty of existing tunes which could be pressed into service.

The bawdy song "Violate Me in the Violet Time" does have quite a good tune in my opinion but whether this was specific to the words, I do not know. Unlike some other bawdy songs, which run to many verses (e.g. Eskimo Nell) it seems to have only one verse:

Violate me in the Violet Time
In the vilest way that you know
Desecrate me, savage me, utterly ravage me
On me no mercy bestow
To the best things in life I am cold and oblivious
Oh, give me a man who is lewd and lascivious
To violate me in the violet time
In the vilest way that you know


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: GUEST, Paul Slade
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 06:27 AM

Someone on Twitter has just suggested singing Helen's ballads to the tune of Spongebob Squarepants. I'm not familiar with that tune, though, so I can't say if it works or not.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: Johnny J
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 07:55 AM

The Archers have never been the same since Grace died.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: GUEST, Paul Slade
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 03:19 PM

Thanks to Philip Lyons of Colchester, we now have my ballad's first online recording. Hear it now on Philip's Soundcloud page.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Helen Titchener
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 06:20 PM

Brilliant! Send it to the Beeb!


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