Opie collection of children's games & songs

Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie (part 2 of 2)

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  • Subjects

    Children's games; Children's songs

  • Recording date


  • Is part of (Collection)

    Opie collection of children's games and songs

  • Recording locations

    Birmingham, England

  • Interviewers

    Opie, Iona (speaker, female)

  • Speakers

    unidentified (children)

  • Abstract

    Part 2 of 2. [00:00:00 - 00:30:18]. This recording continues to interview children from Abbey Junior School, Birmingham. Throughout the recording there are sudden drops in volume and periods of sustained silence therefore some of the interview is inaudible. The children continue to perform their singing games and rhymes, and demonstrate ball game rhymes. The recording begins with the children and Iona discussing terms that the children use when they wish for respite during a game. They explain that they either say 'arley barley' or sing the short rhyme: 'arley barley, touch the floor, play no more, arley barley' [00:00:00 - 00:00:37]. The children then move on to discussing and performing singing games which are popular on their playground. They begin by discussing a game that they call 'Egg, Bacon, Cheese or Fat?' To play this, the children must form a circle and place one child in the middle. This player then walks around the circle singing: 'egg, bacon, cheese or fat, ballet shoes or wedding hat, which one do you want for your tea tonight, dear madam or dear sir?' Whichever child they have reached when they finish the rhyme must then choose which they would 'like'. Once every player has decided this, the child in the middle then shouts 'turn the light on' and the players must freeze, mimicking the item that they have chosen. For example, if they chose bacon, they must pretend to be frying in a pan. Before the children have finished their explanation, however, there are abrupt silences and much of their explanation is lost [00:00:37 - 00:03:54]. Other singing games that the children perform include 'Rosie Cheeks and Cherries' [00:11:56 - 00:16:16]; 'Sunny Side Up' [00:21:47 - 00:23:18]; 'We're Going to the Country' [00:17:15 - 00:18:05]; 'Oranges and Lemons' [00:26:47 - 00:27:57];  'Simple Simon Says' [00:23:28 - 00:24:28] and 'This Old Man' [00:20:54 - 00:21:42]. The clapping game 'When I was One' is performed, however, the children sing the song rather than clap to it [00:19:20 - 00:20:53]. A number of short rhymes are heard throughout the recording. The girls sing 'We are the Abbey Girls', a song originally noted by the Opies as 'We are the Barbie Girls'. There are sudden losses of volume throughout this performance [00:03:56 - 00:05:05]. They also sing the rhyme, often sang at the end of term, entitled 'We Break Up, We Break Down' [00:05:06 - 00:05:33] and 'Come to the Abbey,' which is customised by the girls so that it refers to their school [00:06:15 - 00:07:05]. Lastly, the girls sing 'Sally is a Naughty Girl' [00:07:07 - 00:10:48]. The recording contains three ball rhymes that the children use when playing the game 'two ball'. They sing 'Oliver Twist' [00:24:29 - 00:24:40]; 'Plainsy Garden Wall' [00:24:49 - 00:25:42] and 'Queeny, Queeny' [00:25:51 - 00:26:05].

  • Description

    Item notes: Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie. Speakers' notes: Group of Birmingham schoolchildren

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