Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lord Bonkers' introduction to the new Liberator songbook

Even as I post this, Liberal Democrats are gathering for the Glee Club in Bournemouth. There is a new Liberator songbook on sale there, with this introduction from Rutland's most celebrated peer...

Bonkers Hall
Tel: Rutland 7

Whether one thinks of the traditional Christmas carol ‘Oakham All Ye Faithful’ or the more recent song ‘The Only Way is Uppingham’, there is no doubt that Rutland is rightly called ‘The Land of Song’.

I was myself deeply involved in the Rutlandbeat movement of the 1960s, not least as owner of the legendary Cavern Club, which was housed in the cellars of the Bonkers’ Arms. Many a band made its public debut there, amongst the beer barrels and spare mantraps, and the locals were never slow to make their displeasure known if any act on the bill did not cut the mustard. It is wonderful how fast someone in loon pants can run when pursued with pitchforks and flaming torches!

The contacts I established in the music industry were soon put at the disposal of our beloved party. It was I who commissioned ‘We Gotta Get Out of Third Place” for The Animals in 1965 and I who first recorded ‘Young Shirl’ – a tribute to Shirley Williams, then a Labour MP – later a hit for Gary Pluckett and, indeed, the Union Gap.

My recruitment song for the Women’s Liberal Federation – ‘Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter’ – was, it has to be admitted, more controversial.

There are those, I know who question whether the Glee Club can survive in these days of iPods and eight-track cartridge players. Today’s young people, they argue, are no longer schooled in communal singing.

Let us prove them wrong, fellow Liberal Democrats, by raising the roof with ‘The Land’, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Nellie the Elephant’.

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