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Lyr Req: Decimalisation (Tom Lehrer)

DigiTrad:
ALMA
BE PREPARED 2
BRIGHT COLLEGE DAYS
CHRISTMAS TIME
CLEMENTINE (2)
ELEPHANTS (The Force of Habit---ROUND)
FIGHT FIERCELY, HARVARD!
HUNTING SONG
I WANNA GO BACK TO DIXIE
I'LL HOLD YOUR HAND IN MINE
IN OLD MEXICO
LOBACHEVSKY
MASOCHISM TANGO
MY HOME TOWN
NEW MATH
OEDIPUS REX (2)
POISONING PIGEONS IN THE PARK
POLLUTION
PROUD TO BE A SOLDIER
SMUT
SO LONG, MOM
THE CHEMICAL ELEMENTS
THE FOLK SONG ARMY
THE FORMULARY SONG
THE IRISH BALLAD (RICKETY TICKETY TIN)
THE OLD DOPE PEDDLER
THE RED LINE SONG
THE WIENER SCHNITZEL WALTZ
THE WILD WEST IS WHERE I WANT TO BE
VATICAN RAG
WE WILL ALL GO TOGETHER WHEN WE GO
WERNHER VON BRAUN
WHEN YOU ARE OLD AND GREY


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pavane 22 Jun 01 - 07:38 AM
Morticia 22 Jun 01 - 08:07 AM
pavane 22 Jun 01 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,SharonA 22 Jun 01 - 08:56 AM
pavane 22 Jun 01 - 09:07 AM
Jim Cheydi 22 Jun 01 - 09:14 AM
Mrrzy 22 Jun 01 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 22 Jun 01 - 11:34 AM
pavane 22 Jun 01 - 12:09 PM
Wolfgang 22 Jun 01 - 12:29 PM
8_Pints 22 Jun 01 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,SharonA 22 Jun 01 - 02:48 PM
rangeroger 23 Jun 01 - 12:53 AM
rangeroger 23 Jun 01 - 12:59 AM
Ritchie 23 Jun 01 - 07:08 AM
Mrrzy 23 Jun 01 - 08:40 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 23 Jun 01 - 09:03 PM
rangeroger 24 Jun 01 - 12:28 AM
rangeroger 24 Jun 01 - 12:41 AM
Morticia 24 Jun 01 - 06:37 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 24 Jun 01 - 08:37 AM
pavane 24 Jun 01 - 08:52 AM
pavane 24 Jun 01 - 08:56 AM
pavane 24 Jun 01 - 11:35 AM
Morticia 24 Jun 01 - 07:19 PM
pavane 25 Jun 01 - 02:47 AM
GUEST,SharonA 25 Jun 01 - 10:33 AM
pavane 25 Jun 01 - 10:38 AM
mousethief 25 Jun 01 - 11:37 AM
rangeroger 25 Jun 01 - 11:41 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 26 Jun 01 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,SharonA 27 Jun 01 - 02:54 PM
Genie 13 Jun 08 - 04:05 AM
Genie 13 Jun 08 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Flashback Caruso 08 Jul 08 - 07:35 AM
pavane 08 Jul 08 - 07:41 AM
Jim Dixon 10 Jul 08 - 01:43 AM
pavane 10 Jul 08 - 04:09 AM
Jim Dixon 10 Jul 08 - 07:32 AM
GUEST 10 Jul 08 - 08:55 AM
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Subject: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: pavane
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 07:38 AM

I remember seeing Tom Lehrer on The Frost Programm (or whatever it was called then) about 1970 singing what was at the time a topical song about the decimalisation of the pound. Do the lyrics survive anywhere? I haven't found them in my searches.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Morticia
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 08:07 AM

just been for a quick look and I can't either....seems odd that Tom Lehrer would write a song about a Brit subject.....are you sure it was him? Or perhaps this clickie was what you were thinking of?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: pavane
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 08:50 AM

I am pretty sure it was him. Maybe it was a bit earlier than 1970, but it can't have been much later, because decimalisation happened not long after. And it is not New Math, which I know well. I am sure he DID appear, apparently live, on one series of David Frost's programmes, and maybe he wrote songs specifically for that. I read that in 1965, he did That Was the Year That Was, (American version) both album and concert.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: GUEST,SharonA
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 08:56 AM

I've got the three-CD set of his works at home but I don't remember if that particular song is there. I'll check on my lunch break.

I seem to remember reading, though, that he made a comment to the effect that there were a lot of songs he'd written and performed for television that he didn't think merited preserving for posterity. Apparently there are quite a few "lost" Tom Lehrer songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: pavane
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 09:07 AM

It is not in any of his published recordings - I have already searched them - but thanks anyway. That comment is probably the answer.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Jim Cheydi
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 09:14 AM

There is a Barron Knights piece, 'Decimalisation' which is mainly spoken, but with occasional snippets of decimalised songs e.g. '2.54 centimetre worm'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 11:17 AM

If anybody digs this up, I'd like to hear about it.

Meanwhile (TCA), what was the old system, I never did get it well explained, how you could pay 4 pounds for something and get 7-and-sixpence back in change... and which was a bob and which was a quid? What about shillings and half-crowns? Sorry, creep off.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 11:34 AM

One pound (also a "quid" or "nicker") contained twenty shillings (a "bob" in slang). Twelve pence to the shilling. Six pence was a "tanner". There was also a threepenny piece known as a "thrupenny bit". A crown (long obsolete) was five shillings (a "dollar" in slang)but the two shillings and sixpence coin was called half-a crown (or "two and a kick", or "half a dollar" in slang). In my youth we had halfpennies (Ha'pennies) and farthings ( a quarter of a penny). Contrary to scurrious rumours I don't remember the groat (fourpence) or the guinea (One pound and one shilling). The horsey fraternity still trade informally in Guineas, hence the race names. Racing slang has pony, monkey etc for larger sums.
We changed over to decimals in ?1971-ish. I can remember three column cash books giving way to two column ones.
RtS (and the euro to come, no doubt!)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: pavane
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 12:09 PM

Actually, that is just one snapshot in time. In the old days, money was judged by weight. At one time, 243 of the then current silver pennies weighed one pound, hence the 'Pound Sterling'. This was rationalised to 240, probably to make the arithmetic easier (!)
The crown was known as a dollar for the reason that it was approximately the same in value, i.e. 4 dollars to the pound. Been a few devaluations since then!
The guinea was a foreign coin, I believe brought into the country as a result of raids on Spanish shipping. It was slightly heavier than the gold Sovereign, and therefore worth just a little more.
The florin was introduced in the 19th century as a first step in decimalisation
Thrupenny bits came in two forms, one 12-sided and brassy, and the other a small silver coin. I can just remember them being in use, as well as farthings.
If you were a shopkeeper or similar, it was common to have a book with multiplication tables for a selection of amounts (Quick, what's the cost of 17 items at 2s and thruppence three farthings each?)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Wolfgang
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 12:29 PM

Ah, the good old days when we were not so good and the German 2 Pfennig coins matched exactly the sixpence coins. To think you could get an icecream at the vending machine for only 0.01 Euro.

GUEST, XYZ (too lazy to log out and eliminate the cookie)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: 8_Pints
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 01:31 PM

For all the proclaimed advantages of "going decimal" I wonder in retrospect what was gained.

It is more dificult to divide items equally using a decimal base than using a base of 12. [2 x 6; 3 x 4; 4 x 3; 6 x 2, etc]

Probably one reason Napolean's attempt at introducing decimal time measures failed! [60 x 60 x 24 x ...]

Could it also account for better mental arithmetic skills generally, or is the decline more to do with calculators, electronic tills, bar code readers, etc?

I suspect it could be due to all of the above.

Bob vG


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: GUEST,SharonA
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 02:48 PM

Okay, I'm back from lunch with the (hardcover!) booklet from the CD collection, "The Remains of Tom Lehrer" (©2000 Warner Bros. Records Inc. & Rhino Entertainment Company). Here are some quotes:

From a Q&A on page 28:
Q: How come the song you wrote for the Rock Hudson movie '"A Gathering of Eagles" ("The SAC Song") was never published or recorded?
A: It was writtenn to illustrate a particular point in the plot of the movie and is not clever enough to be of interest out of context.
Q: Your record "That Was The Year That Was" included nine songs from the TV show TW3 ("That Was The Week That Was"). Were there other songs from that show that you didn't include but that exist somewhere?
A: There were a few others, but they weren't interesting enough to record. (Trust me.) Some kinescopes or audiotapes of the show no doubt exist somewhere, but I doubt that they include any of those other songs.
Q: Do you have any unreleased songs that may someday see the light of day?
A: I have none that I think are worth recording [other than the ones which were added for this box set], but—who knows?—some day my standards may decline.

From a bio on page 20:
"He had done a few television shows along the way, mostly in Australia and Europe...." This is the only mention of personal appearances on TV. He never appeared on TW3; the regulars on the show sang his songs.

In 1971 and 1972, Lehrer was asked to contribute songs for the public TV children's show "The Electric Company". His recordings were used as soundtracks for animation: "In 'O-U', for example, I was the voice of a dog." (page 42). The CD collection includes five of those songs but there's no mention of the total number of pieces that he created for this program.

So there ya go. We can only hope Tom Lehrer lowers his "standards" and records these songs during his lifetime, or that at the very least he hasn't destroyed them. Just because they don't interest HIM doesn't mean the rest of us have forgotten them... obviously!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: rangeroger
Date: 23 Jun 01 - 12:53 AM

I immediately got out my "Too May Songs By Tom Lehrer" song book,and couldn't find the song either.

I spent some of my teen years growing up in London and remember well the thrupence ad farthings.

At that time,1959-1962, the exchange rate was $2.80 to the Pound so the 10s note was $1.40 and so on.

And for Wolfang's benefit he wasn't the only one using pennies. An American penny was exactly the same size andweight of the six-pence piece which was about a dime. They worked perfectly in the candy machines and I could get my dosages of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut,cheaply.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: rangeroger
Date: 23 Jun 01 - 12:59 AM

As an addedum to the above,U.S.Forces in England at the time, were just changinf over from a military script system to use of American currency.It was really interesting on change-over day.We did it in school and converted our script to cash.It was a bit of a loss,however, as I thought it was kind of neat to have bills for pennies,nickels, dimes and quarters.

Talk about wallet stuffers.

rr


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Ritchie
Date: 23 Jun 01 - 07:08 AM

Ha Wolfgang, the old shilling or 5 pence piece as it was renamed was exactly the same size as the mark. Many a phone call home was made with them, that's the problem when you don't smoke you have n't got as many options.

Roll on the euro !!

regards ritchie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Jun 01 - 08:40 PM

Thanks. I wish I could say I was all edified...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 23 Jun 01 - 09:03 PM

Morticia, can't think why you'd be surprised that Tom Lehrer did the song. And as for thinking any Mudcatter could confuse Lehrer with someone else....

Lehrer was a regular on the show (called the Frost Report, I think), alternating with either Jake Thackeray or Julie Felix - can't remember which. Most of the songs he did were topical, and don't appear in the published canon.

I can confirm that he did a song about decimalisation, but can't remember any of the lyrics. One that does stick in my mind listed who disliked who around the world, ending with: "And everyone hates the jews." Can anyone add to that?

One other point: does any versions of the songbooks include scores that even remotely approximate to Lehrer's scintillating piano accompaniments, or has anyone attempted to write out transcriptions?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: rangeroger
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 12:28 AM

Fionn, I'm not a piano player,nor do I read music,but my songbook has the score written out in three clefs,so I assume it is piano.The chords for guitar are written above the top line.

Now translating that into his scintillating playing is another matter.

rr


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: rangeroger
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 12:41 AM

I must ammend my previous post. There is musical direction given in the songbook.Something I just now noticed, after having had this book for years,was that the musical directive given at the start of the music,matches the song...IE; The Irish Ballad- Authentcally

Be Prepared- Trustworthily,loyally,helpfully,etc.

Fight Fiercely Harvard!- Loyally

The Old Dope Peddler- Wistfully

The Wild West is Where I Want to Be- Westerly

Etc. et.

They are all quite appropriate and very funny. I would do the entire list,but I don't think I can stay awake that long.

rr


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Morticia
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 06:37 AM

Well, it was a bit before my time Fionn, but I knew that Jake Thackray appeared on the show and thought it just possible that Pavane had confused the two. The song you are referring to is National Brotherhood Week click here


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 08:37 AM

Thanks for the link Terri (Mort). I really should start to do some of this hoking around the net for myself. Anyway, I've just wiled away an hour or so at that site. I should have been doing other things of ocurse, but that site really is a terrific resource.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: pavane
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 08:52 AM

How the HELL can you confuse Jake Thackray and Tom Lehrer???? I remember them BOTH quite clearly. I can even remember Muffin the Mule (can we say that here?), not to mention the coronation.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: pavane
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 08:56 AM

By the way Ffion, thanks for confirming that Tom DID do a song on decimalisation. I just about seem to remember the last few words, which were '..two fifths of a pound'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: pavane
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 11:35 AM

I suppose the BBC has wiped THOSE tapes as well.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Morticia
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 07:19 PM

Pavane, I didn't mean any insult,honest! Just thought it might have been a possible and I was trying to help.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: pavane
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 02:47 AM

That's OK, I appreciate that! No offence taken.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: GUEST,SharonA
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 10:33 AM

Any chance of anyone finding out whether the BBC preserved or destroyed the tapes of David Frost's programs?

Alas, that's how we lost so much of Ernie Kovacs's work; at the time, the videotape was considered more valuable than the contents.

SharonA


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: pavane
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 10:38 AM

I can sympathise with the BBC though. At the time I bought my first cassette recorder (1971), cassette tapes were very expensive, and I used them as sparingly as I could. I too recycled tapes, and also stopped and started recording between songs, so I didn't get the boring guitar tuning, and the chat between songs.


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Subject: Lyr Add: NATIONAL BROTHERHOOD WEEK (Tom Lehrer)
From: mousethief
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 11:37 AM

Fionn, the song you're thinking about is:

NATIONAL BROTHERHOOD WEEK
(Tom Lehrer)

Oh, the white folks hate the black folks,
And the black folks hate the white folks.
To hate all but the right folks
Is an old established rule.

But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
Lena Horne and Sheriff Clarke are dancing cheek to cheek.
It's fun to eulogize
The people you despise,
As long as you don't let 'em in your school.

Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks,
And the rich folks hate the poor folks.
All of my folks hate all of your folks,
It's American as apple pie.

But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
New Yorkers love the Puerto Ricans 'cause it's very chic.
Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can't stand.
You can tolerate him if you try.

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
And everybody hates the Jews.

But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
It's National Everyone-smile-at-one-another-hood Week.
Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you.
It's only for a week, so have no fear.
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: rangeroger
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 11:41 PM

The musical direction for that song is;
Fraternally.

rr


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 07:57 PM

Appreciated Mousethief. If you follow Morticia's link higher up the thread you come up at those lyrics together with a midi rendition of the backing. All his other (published) song lyrics are there too, and in some cases the midi versions are really good.

I've no idea whether the site has reached a copyright agreement with Lehrer, whether he just turns a blind eye, or what, but it's a damn good facility to have available for free.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: GUEST,SharonA
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 02:54 PM

While you're there, check out the song "That's Mathematics". It's not the decimalization (sorry, decimalisation) song but, y'know, while we're on the subject...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer - Decimalisation
From: Genie
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 04:05 AM

You can watch a video of a rather young Tom Lehrer playing and singing this song here:
National Brotherhood Week: Tom Lehrer


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tom Lehrer -National Brotherhood Week
From: Genie
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 04:08 AM

Oops!   When I searched for "National Brotherhood Week" I was directed to this thread. Mousethief's post of the lyrics to that song are indeed in this thread, but I see now the title of this one is "Decimalisation," not NBW.   
Seems I posted my link in the wrong thread?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Decimalisation (Tom Lehrer)
From: GUEST,Flashback Caruso
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 07:35 AM

Hi - I've uploaded Tom's song about Decimalisation from The Frost Report onto YouTube. Go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIpr0s52yVk


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Decimalisation (Tom Lehrer)
From: pavane
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 07:41 AM

At last - the answer after 7 years ((and a few days)
Thanks FC.
Now all I need is access to a machine where YouTube isn't blocked...

In the meantime, anyone want to post the words? (Pleez?)


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Subject: Lyr Add: DECIMALISATION (Tom Lehrer)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Jul 08 - 01:43 AM

DECIMALISATION
(Tom Lehrer)

[SPOKEN:] I don't know why it is, but people in London invariably take me for an American, and they come up to me and they say either one of two things: Either they say, "Get out of Vietnam" or they ask, "Tell me, how do you Americans manage with your ridiculous decimal currency?" Well, I'd like to take this opportunity of assuring you that the decimal system is really much simpler. In fact, we have a saying about your money: "Pennywise, the pound is foolish." It's one of those things that hardly anyone says. Tonight, as a sort of hands-across-the-sea gesture, I'd like to explain how easy it will be for you to get used to decimal currency. Supposing you are purchasing a certain item the price of which is now six shillings and five pence, six and five. Now this is how you'd convert it.

[SUNG:] Now five pence is five-twelfths of a shilling
And a shilling of course is five-hundredths of a pound
So five pence then is two cents plus a twelfth of a cent
But of course there's no such thing as a twelfth of a cent,
So you call it two cents and already you've made a profit.

Now six shillings is thirty-hundredths of a pound,
And you add the two cents and get thirty-two cents
And you look for a thirty-two-cent piece
But of course there's no such thing as a thirty-two-cent piece
So you give him a fifty-cent piece and hope for the best.

[SPOKEN:] So he gives you eighteen cents in change, but what you want to know is, how much is that in real money, right? Well...

[SUNG:] As anybody with a master's degree in math can tell you,
If a shilling is five percent of a pound,
Then it's five-hundred percent of a cent,
And so per cent is five times as much as per shilling. Isn't that thrilling?
So how many shillings in eighteen cents?
Why, three, of course, with three cents over,
And that three-fifths of a shilling, or thirty-six fifths of a penny,
Which is seven cents and a fifth of a penny--
But of course there's no such thing as a fifth of a penny,
So you call it seven pence, and there goes the profit you made before,
And it serves you right, you greedy thing!

[SPOKEN:] Now, I can see by your faces that I made my point, and that pleases me, because tonight was a sort of educational experiment, using you as guinea-, I mean, hundred-and-five-cent-pigs. And in a few years I know you'll all be happily singing songs like this:

[SUNG:] I've got two-and-a-half cents.
I've got two-and-a-half cents.
I've got two-and-a-half cents
To last me all my life.
I've got five-sixths of a cent to spend,
And five-sixths of a cent to lend,
And five-sixths of a cent to send home to my wife.

[SPOKEN:] And I do hope that it's all clear to you now, and I'd like to stay and answer questions, but you'll have to excuse me; I have to spend, uh, five-twelfths of a cent. [EXIT.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Decimalisation (Tom Lehrer)
From: pavane
Date: 10 Jul 08 - 04:09 AM

Perfect!
Thanks Jim


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Decimalisation (Tom Lehrer)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Jul 08 - 07:32 AM

Lehrer failed to foresee that Brits would continue to use the term "pence" and not "cents" after decimalization. I don't think I've ever heard British people call their money "cents." In fact, the letter "p"—pronounced "pee"—which is obviously an abbreviation for "pence"—is even more common than "pence." For instance, a price might be written as 85p or spoken as "eighty-five pee." Am I right in thinking this usage arose only after decimalization?

Lehrer, however, uses terms "pence" and "cents" to distinguish between what the Brits would call "old pence" and "new pence."

I do believe, however, that "cent" is the usual term for one-hundredth of a Euro.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Decimalisation (Tom Lehrer)
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jul 08 - 08:55 AM

Yes, you're right Jim, because the symbol for (old) pencs was 'd' - denarii.

Stu


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