Book Famous folk songs as reported by English tabloid newspapers


This was a reader's competition that appeared in the Oct.-Dec. 1984 edition of The Southern Rag (No. 22), an English folk music magazine that later changed its name to Folk Roots.

The competition was "to encapsulate a famous folk song in as tasteless a manner as you could manage", in the style of English tabloid newspapers such as The Sun.


The winner is from Jimmy Thomson of Nairobi, Kenya:

The Famous Flower of Serving Men

BABY DEATH SEX-CHANGE MOTHER TO MARRY KING
Granny dies in revenge blaze

Two stories in one from Greg Byrne of Lexington, Kentucky:

CAPTAIN ADMITS PEDERASTY AFTER SHIP SAVED
Handsome Cabin Boy testifies Golden Vanity Captain confused two ballads

The Great Silkie (Catherine Side, Lexington, Kentucky):

15 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN GIVES BIRTH TO TWIN SEALS
Baffled Orkney Gynaecologist says "usually just one"

Davey Lowston (Nick Beale, Exeter):

SEAL CULL BLUNDER
Ship's crew feared lost

Poor Old Horse (Nick Beale, Exeter):

ANIMALS IN NAVY HORROR TESTS
Sailors tell of years of abuse

I think the next one from Mick Tems is supposed to be The Bush of Australia:

WHAT A CORKER, COBBER, SHE SAID
Love-child judge told how naked billabong binge turned world upside down

The Coal Owner and the Pitman's Wife (Peter Dawson, Swansea):

PETTICOAT PICKET SLAMS MACGREGOR
"You can go to hell", she says

(I think Macgregor was one of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet ministers during the coal strike. Perhaps some British person with a long memory can provide more information.)

Sheath and Knife (Chris Ridley, Cornwall):

BOY SCOUT SLAYS SISTER IN DOUBLE SEX CRIME
Sheath clue to woodland horror: My baby, he says

Sovay, Sovay (Nick and Fiona Jenkins):

STAND AND DON'T DELIVER
Mystery sex-change girl in roadside love-test

The Little Drummer Girl (Jimmy Thomson, Nairobi, Kenya):

TRANSVESTITE TO LEAVE BRITISH ARMY
'I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened her tunic' says sergeant
—see page 3

Note: English tabloids generally feature pictures of topless women on page 3.


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