Henry's Songbook

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Ye Cannae Ban Polaris When It's Raining

  • (Adam McNaughtan)

    The Committee of a Hundred summoned marchers one week-end
    Two thousand people volunteered to sit doon once again
    But they only got four-hunnerd, 'cos' the rest of them got skunnered (disgusted)
    Oh ye cannae ban Polaris when it's rainin'

        The British Railways ran a cheap excursion tae Dunoon
        They've kept that branch-line open so that people can sit doon
        When they saw the dirty weather, the marchers wouldnae gather
        Oh ye cannae ban Polaris when it's rainin'

    There were only forty folk sat on the pier at Ardnadam
    The others wouldnae trust their bums to that damn tarmacadam
    There'll be nae sit-doon dramatics if it's bad for your rheumatics
    No ye cannae ban Polaris when it's rainin'

        The CND are gonnae have tae modify their creed
        The next time there's to be a protest this is what you'll read
        There will only be a sittin' God willin', weather permittin'
        No ye cannae ban Polaris when it's rainin'

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1984:] In 1961 an event occurred which induced an immediate reaction and which spawned some of the best protest songs of this century: The American submarine depot ship Proteus, along with smaller ships, sailed into the Holy Loch near Dunoon. "Polaris" was the name of the submarine-launched ballistic missile (A-2) which it carried. Public hostility came from a wide cross-section of thought: the Peace Movement, spear-headed by the C.N.D. (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), the Committee for Non-Violent Disarmament, church people and Quakers, the Committee of 100, and members of at least three political parties - Labour, Communist and Scottish Nationalist. 'The Scotsman', 22/5/61, reported fully on the first of the larger demonstrations. About a thousand people marched from Dunoon to the Holy Loch where they split into two groups, one to take part in the seaborne attack on the Proteus and the other to demonstrate on shore. A bonfire was lit on the beach and Scottish C.N.D.-ers stayed for an all-night vigil. (Those arrested were later released, but many were fined.) (Munro, Revival 68)

    Adam McNaughtan found the strong influence of socialist politics came as "rather a shock ... with my good Church of Scotland non-political upbringing [...] so being a thrawn kin' o' character, some of the early stuff I wrote was on the other side, e.g. Ye canny ban Polaris when it's raining and other ditties. I've a bit of the rebel in me ... the establishment in folk song clubs was the Left, and if anything that turned me the other way." (Munro, Revival 78)

  • [1994:] But even among the Eskimos [as the protesters called] themselves there were some who had reservations about all of this, and when one of the demos turned out to be a miserable failure - only forty folk turned up to be arrested due to bad weather - this guy had the nerve to turn the Eskimos' own weapons on them, taking the micky out of fiasco. The Eskimos got their own back by adopting the song as one of their own favourites. This evil person is with us today. - Rotten McNaughtan, stand up and explain yourself! (Gordon McCulloch, The Eskimo Republic - show at Glasgow Folk Festival)

    Different performers look for different audience reactions. Some people would give their right arm for a standing ovation. Others go for the more immediate reward of laughter. I've always favoured stunned disbelief. (Adam McNaughtan, The Eskimo Republic - show at Glasgow Folk Festival)

Quelle: Scotland

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aktualisiert am 14.09.2000