Opie collection of children's games & songs

Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie (part 1 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

    London, England

  • Interviewers

    Opie, Iona (speaker, female)

  • Speakers

    unidentified (children)

  • Abstract

    Part 1 of 2.00:00:00 - 00:33:24. This recording was taped in London at a Puffin Books exhibition at which Iona Opie was present. Throughout the tape, a number of schoolgirls approach Iona and describe to her an assortment of their favourite clapping and skipping songs and games. The schoolgirls come from a number of different schools throughout London, allowing Iona to map the prevalence of certain songs and rhymes throughout the city. Initially, Iona discusses French skipping with one of the girls. The girl describes a rhyme called 'Jingle, Jangle' [00:00:36 - 00:02:22] which they sing regularly and a song called 'You're the King and I'm the Queen' [00:02:42 - 00:02:57].  The girl singing this song forgets the words half way through the song and blames this on the fact that she has not sung it for nearly two years and only sang it when she was much younger[00:02:42 - 00:02:57]. Later in the recording, Iona gives her own brief summary of the history of French skipping [00:20:04 - 00:21:26]. She explains that it was known of in Peking in the 1940s and posits that the Japanese then brought the game over. The recording also contains a multitude of traditIonal skipping rhymes including 'Cowboy Joe of Mexico' [00:04:00 - 00:04:46]; 'I'm a Little Girl Guide' [00:10:57 - 00:11:09]; 'Not Last Night but the Night Before' [00:13:59 - 00:14:14]; 'Under the Bram Bush' [00:14:14 - 00:14:34]; 'Jonnie Broke a Bottle' (sung to the same tune as 'Under the Bram Bush') [00:14:35 - 00:15:57]; 'See, See, My Playmate' [00:15:20 - 00:16:36]; 'Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear' [00:16:40 - 00:17:00]; 'A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea' [00:18:20 - 00:19:25]; 'On the Mountain' [00:11:27 - 00:13:52]; 'Jelly on the Plate' [00:28:14 - 00:28:34] and' When Susie Was a Baby' [00:29:55 - 00:31:59]. An older girl of thirteen also explains other skipping games she enjoys playing, including one called' Paper on the Floor' in which you have to bend down and pretend to pick something up while skipping [00:28:35 - 00:28:45], a simple skipping game 'Keep the Kettle Boiling' [00:21:36 - 00:22:08] and a rhyme called 'Burglar's in the House' [00:28:45 - 00:28:58]. There is also a brief discussion concerning the permanence of these playground games. Two sisters aged thirteen and nine discuss whether the games the older sister played are still played by the younger girl. They note that although the game 'Orange Balls' decreased in popularity when the thirteen year old girl was at school, it is now popular again in the same school that the nine year old girl attends [00:22:19 - 00:24:24]. The recording also contains brief references to Two-Ball rhymes including 'Matthew, Mark, Luke and John' [00:08:07 - 00:08:56] and 'Fudge, Fudge, Call the Judge' [00:10:04 - 00:10:25]. Lastly, an older girl and her mother discuss the game 'Jacks' and different variations of it [00:25:29 - 00:28:08].

  • Description

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

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