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Kenneth Williams

05 Sep 00 - 09:49 AM (#291341)
Subject: Rambling Syd Rumpo
From: Rick Fielding

Just finished reading "The Kenneth Williams Diaries" for the third time. Whooo, amazing book. It's painful to read the words of someone who made so many laugh, and be as miserable as he was. The one character of his that I'm not familiar with (other than the name...and that it was an obvious send-up) is "Rambling Syd Rumpo". Can any catters fill me in on the nature of his songs. My guess is there's some connection with Ramblin' Jack Elliot, but I would doubt if Williams was familiar with him. Brahms and Schubert seemed to be his thing.


05 Sep 00 - 10:04 AM (#291348)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Naemanson

I humbly stand before you, hat in hand, and ask nervously, "Who was Kenneth Williams?"

05 Sep 00 - 10:06 AM (#291350)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Bagpuss


He was narrator of Willo the Wisp!

Oh and I think he did a bit of acting and comedy on the side.

Ooooh Matron!


05 Sep 00 - 10:09 AM (#291353)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Skipjack K8

Comedy British actor, most famous for the Carry On films, now deceased.

Rick, the only Rumpo character I can remember was Sid James as the Rumpo Kid in Carry On, Cowboy, with Jim Dale as Marshall P Nutt. Immortal.


05 Sep 00 - 10:12 AM (#291356)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Ian M.

Rambling Sid's songs were brief travesties of English agricultural songs using the vocabulary of such songs to create double-entendres.

05 Sep 00 - 10:18 AM (#291360)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Patrish(inactive)

Rambling Syd Rumpo was a character in a radio programme called "round the horne" He used to sing in a fake west country accent and called everyone his "dearios" and Iremember him singing a song about his "mangleworzels" He was very funny and I wish I could have seen a live performance. I too have read his diaries and was very upset to find him such a tortured individual

05 Sep 00 - 10:26 AM (#291365)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Bagpuss

All the great comedians seem to be tortured. Williams, Tony Hancock, Spike Milligan (who has manic depression).


05 Sep 00 - 10:27 AM (#291366)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Rick Fielding

Yah Patrish, the guy seemed to hate everything about himself EXCEPT his talent.

Thanks Ian. I thought they might be parodies on "the ramblin' (American) hobo" theme. Never heard the "Round The Horne" shows, but I gather they were hilarious. I've heard folks say that they were superior to "Hancock".

Hi Naemanson. I wanted to post this last night before I went to bed so that the Brits would see it, but couldn't get it through. Not surprised you haven't heard of Ken W. He never came to North America and the only reason I'm familiar with him is from his connection with the Hancock program. (oh, and the "Carry Ons"...but they weren't his best work)


05 Sep 00 - 10:28 AM (#291368)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Naemanson

Oh! Thanks.

05 Sep 00 - 10:30 AM (#291369)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Crazy Eddie

Rick Fielding,
Ramblin' Sid Rumpo' was a radio character. I think it was in a programme called 'Round the Horne' but not sure.
A friend lent me a tape once, and he was instantly recognisable as Kemnneth.

From the one episode I heard, Ramblin Sid was a spoof folk-music artist & collector.

The format seemed to be that he gave a short account of his recent travels, discussed the source of a song, then sang it. The one I heard had lines like: "I've been a ramble-o, a wander-o,around the country-o, a drivin' of by Bently Continental-o" He then explained that he'd learned this song from the herring fishermen of the village of (ridiculous made-up name) who fish from traditional wooden rowing boats. They are a sad & contemplative people, 'cos the village is 50 miles inland. He then sang a slow air with much innuendo, and many nonsensical made-up words which ALMOST sound like a dialect. The only words I remember are "I've broken my cord-wangle."
Naemanson, Kennith Williams was an English comic. He was usally camp in the extreme. He featured in most of the best "Carry on" movies ........'Ooooooh Matron' well as other movies.He also did stage and radio.

His delivery of the line 'Frying Tonight' in "Carry on Screaming" still makes me almost ill with laughter, and is widely regarded as a classic comedy moment. Many would regard him as a comic genius, but as Rick said his private life was far from happy.

05 Sep 00 - 10:36 AM (#291372)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Dave the Gnome

I believe the BBC re-released Rambling Syds recordings on CD soon after KW's demise but I have not been sucesful in acquiring a copy - Anyone out there know how I can lay my hands on one?

Incidentaly I think it was Kenneth, as caesar, who delivered the line "Infamy, Infamy. The've all got it infamy" in Carry on Cleo - another classic.

05 Sep 00 - 10:36 AM (#291373)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Rick Fielding

Jeezus Crazy Eddie, I'm convinced! Just the premise (the inland fishing village) makes me laugh. Now to try and find out how to get one of these recordings!


05 Sep 00 - 10:45 AM (#291384)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: sledge

Round the Horne is available on BBC tape, not sure about CDs.

05 Sep 00 - 10:50 AM (#291389)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Ian M.

A large number of "Round the Horne" programmes are commercially available on audio cassette over here in Britland published by BBC Publications.

05 Sep 00 - 11:02 AM (#291399)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GMT

The Round the Horne shows and the songs Ramblin Syd Rumpo sang were written by Barry Took and Marty Feldman. The show was rather naughty in places and Mary Whitehouse (a campainer for so called good taste and morals)tried to have it stopped.

A couple of titles I have found are The Bogle-Clencher's Ditty ("tis my delight on a shining night and a foggy night as well"), The Cordwangler's Ditty, and Master Fumblers Traddling Air (sweet lass of hackney wick).
I don't think the Best Of CD is available anymore but there is a BBC tape still available (I think). (no blue clicky)

here ya go

05 Sep 00 - 11:07 AM (#291403)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Bert

Brilliant Man.

One of his funniest things was talking gibberish. He'd be talking away and all of a sudden you couldn't understand what he was saying, even though he was still talking. Just disjointed syllables that sounded like words but weren't. Of course he was English, so it was English gibberish. Then he kinda drifted off into French gibberish, then German, then Welsh, then Irish and Scottish and Indian and so on and so on. You knew exactly which language it was supposed to be but he still hadn't said one recognisable word.

He needs a mention on the 'Lost Forever' Thread.

05 Sep 00 - 11:23 AM (#291412)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: AndyG

There's a tape available
Order it here.

A bit of Rambling Sid Rumpo I found on the net:

What shall we do with the drunken nurker,
What shall we do with the drunken nurker,
What shall we do with the drunken nurker,
He's bending his cordwangle.

Hit him in the nadgers with the bosun's plunger,
Slap him on the grummitt with a wrought iron lunger,
Cuff him in the moolies with the Captain's grunger -
Till his bodgers dangle.

& a bit I remember:

There is a tavern in the town
(in the town)
Where you can put you moolies down
(put them down)
And nurd your splods for a very modest fee
And plight your artifacts to me

Fare the well for I must nurdle
Do not let your brassets curdle
For you know that I must wurdle
In the Old Mill Stream

Adieu adieu kind friends
(adieu, adieu, adieu)
I can no longer work it through
(work it through)
I'll nurd my splods for a very modest fee
And plight my artifacts to thee.


05 Sep 00 - 11:25 AM (#291415)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: AndyG

Hoo cant spel "href" ?

There's a tape available
Order it here.


05 Sep 00 - 11:38 AM (#291424)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Anglo

"I was walking through the farmyard the other day and a young girl came towards me on a popular sort of fatm vehicle."
"A tractor?"
"Well, I suppose I must have done."

05 Sep 00 - 12:10 PM (#291444)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: A Wandering Minstrel

I'm pretty sure that there is a tape of the collected works. Curiously enough some of the terms KW uses in the Rambling syd songs are derived from Romany and some apparently from ancient agricultural catalogues. My favourite aside of his has to be:

So he stood under her bower a-plighting of his troth, and he had to kneel down cos she had a very low bower but she refused him 'cos he only had a very small troth!

I remember listening to Round the Horne on sunday lunchtimes and the arrival of Rambling Syd always signalled much uproar. Laugh? I thought my trousers would never dry.... i guess he was also a precursor of the Kippers!

05 Sep 00 - 02:50 PM (#291519)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,alanabit

That's all correct about the "Round The Horne Shows". There was a published book of scripts from the shows, which I believe contained some of the lyrics. KW wrote about some of the words which he used (or made up) for the songs. He commented about one word that it didn't mean anything but sounded as if it might. In a way that summed up his style, which was the skillful use of innuendo.

05 Sep 00 - 02:53 PM (#291520)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: sophocleese

Please, please, can you keep the funny bits coming. I'm enjoying reading these.

05 Sep 00 - 06:02 PM (#291616)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Micca

Rick or Sophocleese, I might be able to get a copy of the apes, PM me if you would like... a copy or details...

05 Sep 00 - 06:21 PM (#291631)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Rick Fielding

Micca, you're a godsend!


05 Sep 00 - 07:09 PM (#291675)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Melbert

There is indeed a collection of these songs on cassette.

The album is "....the best of Rambling Syd Rumpo" from EMI Comedy classics on the "Listen for pleasure" label LFPS1552. I bought it about three years ago. Not sure if it's still available.

05 Sep 00 - 07:12 PM (#291679)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Julie and his friend Sandy

If you troll over to the BBC World Service and listen for a while, you may enounter Beyond Our Ken, Round the Horne or other shows by the Kenneths Horne and Williams.

05 Sep 00 - 07:18 PM (#291688)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Susanne (skw)

Nobody has mentioned Kenneth's involvement with 'Just A Minute' - the radio show where the panel were supposed to talk about a given topic without hesitation, repetition and deviation. I still have some tapes made in 1981 when I was living in Wales: Some of Kenneth's ad-libbing was outrageously hilarious! I can still laugh at it although I almost know the tapes by heart. A lot depended on his peculiar style, however, so it's not much use repeating things here. (You wouldn't find the line 'I came down here all the way from Great Portland Street' particularly funny - but it was when he wailed it!) Glad to find he isn't forgotten yet. - However, I have to agree with Rick - his diaries and letters make sad reading. Susanne

05 Sep 00 - 07:21 PM (#291690)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Snuffy

I have an old LP called "The Best of Rambling Syd Rumpo" with 15 tracks (original publication dates 1967-70). To confirm GMT's posting all are credited as "Trad - adapt. Took-Feldman"

The track listing (and what they're based on is
  1. Song of the Australian Outlaw Waltzing Matilda
  2. Song of the Bogle Clencher Lincolnshire Poacher
  3. Sussex Whirdling Song (?)
  4. Tinker's Lament Cock of the North/Aunty Mary
  5. The Ballad of the Royal Scottish Pretender (Posselwaite Lament) Ye Banks and Braes
  6. Pewter Woggler's Bangling Song The Flowing Bowl
  7. Runcorn Splod Cobbler's Song (?)
  8. The Ballad of the Woggler's Moulie Clementine
  9. Sea Shanty Medley Drunken Sailor
  10. Clacton Bogle Picker's Lament (?)
  11. A Lummockshire Air Foggy Foggy Dew
  12. The Terrible Tale of the Somerset Nog Uncle Tom Cobley
  13. Soldier, Soldier (?)
  14. The Black Grunger of Hounslow Villikins
  15. Green Grow My Nadgers Oh! Green Grow the Rushes-o

If I can clear the way to the turntable, I might be able to post these in the coming weeks.

Wassail! V

05 Sep 00 - 08:33 PM (#291737)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Jon Freeman

Thread creep but seeing the usage of camp in this thread leads me to ask, am I alone in seeing threads titled "camp songs" and interpreting that as "songs which are camp"?


05 Sep 00 - 09:14 PM (#291771)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Callie

Next to the picture of my beloved boy on the wall is a newspaper photo of Kenneth Williams, holding a cup of tea and flaring his nostrils. I don't knwo why, but I like it there on my wall. My boy doesn't understand it either.

There's a fair bit about Kenneth W also in the (Joe) Orton Diaries, edited by John Lahr.


05 Sep 00 - 10:49 PM (#291828)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Rick Fielding

Ahh, the Joe Orton Diaries! Now that's another can of worms entirely. As I've said, I'm fascinated by diaries. Apparently Ken asked Lahr to excorcise some of Orton's descriptions of him.

The Sid Rumpo stuff looks hilarious. Obviously one (or both) of the writers knew something about traditional song.

Thanks for all the feedback folks.


06 Sep 00 - 02:30 AM (#291916)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Seamus Kennedy

And now my dearios, it's time for a rollicking sea-shanty,
So hoist your artifacts, keelhaul your dandoes
And away we go....
(Into the Drunken nurker)
All the best. Seamus

06 Sep 00 - 02:56 AM (#291926)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: The Shambles

A woman walks into a pub and asks the barman for a double entendre. So he gives her one.

06 Sep 00 - 03:41 AM (#291935)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GMT

'Ear, stop it Shambles. lol

06 Sep 00 - 06:00 AM (#291967)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Bagpuss

I loved Just a Minute. They even made up a new rule for Kenneth Williams. No hesitation, repitition, deviation or eeeeeeelongaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaation.


06 Sep 00 - 08:15 AM (#292008)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: The Shambles

'Ere, stop messin' about.

06 Sep 00 - 09:18 AM (#292029)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: A Wandering Minstrel

Thanks Seamus isn't that the one with the chorus that goes

Fare you well my dearios,br> Fare you well I say
Fare you well my pretty young gel
My Futtocks be bound away

with gradual deterioration of the futtocks in question as the song progressed

06 Sep 00 - 09:19 AM (#292031)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: A Wandering Minstrel

(for none-sea faring folk - the futtocks are the small shrouds used to climb round a joint in the mast. one occassion on which Ken clearly new what he was one about!)

06 Sep 00 - 09:49 AM (#292046)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GMT

That's the one Shambles.

06 Sep 00 - 11:10 AM (#292081)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Upstreeter

Kenneth Williams! As a subject for Mudcat discussion...and why not?

It is said that the character of Rambling Sid was devised in order to lampoon the activities of the BBC's folk song and dialect collecting scheme. This admirable operation (the collecting, that is) was conceived I believe by legendary BBC producer Brian George and people like Seamus Ennis, Peter Kennedy and Bob Copper were recruited, amongst others to become collectors. The scheme was a great success and samples of recently garnered material were played weekly to huge radio audiences. Much of this material went into the permanent archive of the BBC and much was lost or cast aside for the sake of expediency; magnetic tape being at a premium, it was not unknown to overecord songs which were 'duplicates' - what we'd now call variants! Nevertheless, some fine songs and voices were caught before they disappeared forever...just listen to Bob Copper's recording of Ned Adams' 'Bold Princess Royal' the only song he knew incidentally, but it's fairly awash with salt water and atmosphere.

Anyway, like lots of good comedy, feeding off satire and current affairs, Kenneth Williams and his team of writers obviously saw a suitable case for treatment in the collecting scheme. Rambling Sid was born and some alternative country ballads were thus preserved for posterity.

It's food for thought, however that the various shows in which KW performed have endured and recordings can be bought almost anywhere, whilst the fruits of the BBC's historic collecting scheme are extremely difficult to track down.

I guess that's folk music.

06 Sep 00 - 12:17 PM (#292126)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Great Portland Street was of course the next street along from Broadcasting House, where he was went he made the remark. He was the first in "Just a minute" to go the distance, and I think the subject thrown at him on that occasion was Diogynese. (He was something of a classics scholar, and heavily into Gibbons' Decline & Fall.

Would not have been able to recall those Rambling Syd lyrics, so thanks for the memory. But a line or two from his camp creations Rodney and Charles always stuck in my mind:

"Hello Rodney"
"Hello Charles."
"How's your bottom, Rodney?"
"Shut up!"
"So's mine. Must be the weather..."

06 Sep 00 - 03:36 PM (#292309)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: The Shambles


06 Sep 00 - 03:46 PM (#292320)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: The Shambles

An interesting article on Nadgers

06 Sep 00 - 03:56 PM (#292323)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: ac362

Ramblin' Sid was a warning to pretentious singers. He should still be heeded.

His preamble was funnier than the songs.

06 Sep 00 - 05:02 PM (#292364)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Noreen

Shambles, that article is wonderful!! My sister and I used to be in pleats over Rambling Sid, and this thread brings it all back. Must get a recording.


06 Sep 00 - 06:45 PM (#292437)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: BanjoRay

Can anyone remember Ramblin' Sid's version of Widdecombe Fair, called Ganderpoke Bog? I just about remember the first verse:

Reg Pubes, Reg Pubes lend me your great nog
Rollock me pussetts and griddle me noves
I wants for to go to Ganderpoke Bog

---and here he sang a superb version of the Widdecombe Fair list of names (Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer etc) which went vaguely like this:

With Reg Screebly, Foo Too Robinson, Pegleg Loombucket, Scotch Lil, Able Seaman (unknown), and Uncle Ted Willis and all, old uncle Ted Willis and all.

If someone could remember all the exact names and correct order etc, I would be eternally grateful

06 Sep 00 - 06:48 PM (#292438)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Micca

Noreen, there is a BBC "talking book" recording of Rambling Sid available from shops and Amazon.

06 Sep 00 - 06:54 PM (#292442)
Subject: Add: Song of the Australian Outlaw
From: Snuffy

Here's the first track from the Rambling Syd Rumpo LP, as promised. Double (or treble) entendre rules, UK.

(Words by Barry Took & Marty Feldman)

Well, hello my dearios. Well, tonight I shall have great pleasure ... but first of all I'd like to sing you a few songs. So loosen your grussets, traddle your thrums, let your bossocks down, and away we go.

Now first here's something I picked up down under ... and 'tis an Australian outlaw song, and tells of a squatter in the outback ... camping by a billabong ... and the billabong reports him to the police ... and up come the troopers and they catch him having a jumbuck in his tucker bag.

Well, that's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

So anyway, as they bind up his polyps [pollips?] and carry him off, he sings this haunting lament:
Once long ago in the shade of a goolie bush
Toasting his splod in the faggot's gleam
Rested a ganderman, a knobbling at his woggling iron
And stuffing a sheep in the old mill stream.

Then up come the troopers and hung him by the billabong
They twisted his woggling irons, 1-2-3
Now his ghost sits and moans as it grunges in his gander can
Who'll come a-woggling his jumbuck with me

tune: Waltzing Matilda (2 x verse only - very slowly, minor chords for last two lines)

Wassail! V

06 Sep 00 - 06:58 PM (#292445)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Lanfranc

Shambles, you're a marvel - If we ever meet I owe you a pint or six! That site has been added to my Bookmarks.

Can't add much to the KW thread, but he provided more laughs than many more conventional comedians. He is irreplaceable.

Must replay my Round the Horne tapes in the car tomorrow!

06 Sep 00 - 07:35 PM (#292464)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Round the Horne has been much appreciated, but no-one has mentioned the quirk for which I remember it best: the double-laugh effect. The audience would at first laugh uncertainly and politely, sensing that a punchline had just been delivered. Then, even before that token gesture had fully subsided, there would come the genuine gale-force reaction, telling us that the the multiple entendres had at last sunk in.

If you ever queued to get into these shows, and killed time by surveying the (predominantly octogenerian) company around you, you would marvel that the second reaction ever came at all. O les beaux jours, as Sam Becket used to say.

Thanks for posting the question, Rick. Wonderfully evocative thread. But three times through those diaries must have been a real labour of love.

06 Sep 00 - 08:19 PM (#292493)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Seamus Kennedy

I was told that Kenneth played guitar himself for the songs. If so, it's really fine finger-picking and superb chording on a nylon string-guitar. I don't think he could have made such fun of the genre without knowing it very well. All the best. Seamus

06 Sep 00 - 10:47 PM (#292559)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Art Thieme

the Waltzing Matilda parody is on a cassette I made a while ago of some favorites from diverse sources---"The Bogle Clencher" too and "Nadgers". I taped 'em off of WFMT-FM radio out of Chicago over 40 years ago---the show called THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL that's still on the air with Rich Warren as host. You can hear it on the web. Ray Nordstrand and Norm Pellegrini used to do that show and played excerpts from the LP all the time. It's great to know some more about Mr. Williams. Rick, could you tell us something of the down side of his life??? I'd be fascinated to know some of the things you referred to.


07 Sep 00 - 12:35 AM (#292609)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Rick Fielding

Well, the diaries are fascinating, simply for the fact that he'd change his opinions on his work, his friends, his goals, and his own person almost daily. One thing that didn't change was his resolve to commit suicide. Hardly a week goes by for forty years without him mentioning it.

Seamus. I'd be very surprised if Ken played guitar. There's absolutely no mention of it in the many things I've read about him. But....this is a great question....who DID play the accompaniments? Anyone have a clue?


07 Sep 00 - 06:13 AM (#292666)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Patrish(inactive)'sGanderbag.html
Above is the URL of a site where you can get lyrics and introduction material of syds. below is an attempt to provide a blue clicky link.

some lyrics of Rambling Syd

07 Sep 00 - 11:12 AM (#292828)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Tony

Refresh - Kennith Willians was one of the best

07 Sep 00 - 03:07 PM (#292980)
Subject: Lyr Add: SONG OF THE BOGLE CLENCHER (Took, Feldman
From: Snuffy

(Words by Barry Took & Marty Feldman)

Now I should like to burst forth ... with a traditional Lincolnshire air. 'Tis the song of the Bogle Clencher, and goes after this fashion:
When I was a clencher's bogleman in famous Lincoln town
I often clenched my bogling fork for less than half-a-crown
And I would joggle and nurk, my boys, as I shall quickly tell
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night, on a foggy night as well.

Oh, once I took my moulies and set them in a snare
'Twas there I spied a scroper's man a whirdling a hare
But I was not afeared, my boys, of that there is no doubt.
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night when the coppers aren't about

Although I'm over 80 now, my boggles still I clench
And I will flutter my artefacts at any passing wench
I've tickled many a screebling nut as on my way I go
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night at one-and-nine a throw.
Tune: Lincolnshire Poacher

Wassail! V

09 Sep 00 - 12:30 AM (#293903)
Subject: Lyr Add: SUSSEX WHIRDLING SONG (Took, Feldman)
From: Snuffy

(Words by Barry Took & Marty Feldman)

Well, I've been dipping into my old ganderbag and I've come up with a a very tender and furtive madrigal, which has been passed down from father to son until the handle dropped off. It is an old Sussex courting song and tells the story of a swain who stands beneath his loved one's bower.

He's a very small swain, but then she's got a very low bower. It's the prevailing winds, you see. Anyway, he stands there in the full moonlight, a-plighting his troth. It's best to plight it where you can see it, otherwise you're liable to make a dog's breakfast of the whole rigmarole. So there he is, a-plighting his troth ...

A troth, by the way, is a small furry creature with fins. It's a cross between a trout and a sloth or slow-th, and it's a curious match. I often wonder what they saw in each other in the first place, though I suppose the sloth, hanging upside down, tends to have a different slant on things.

Anyway, nowadays people do say that they're extinct. But I believe they're hanging about somewhere, and that they'll come round when they're hungry.

Anyway, this lover is under this tree, singing to his light-'o-love, and he tells her of his desires as follows:
Will you still love me Mary-O
When my grussets be bended low
When my pubes grow dim and my orbs grow white
And my cordwangle makes an ugly sight
And my grussets be bended low-oh-oh
My grussets be bended low..
And she sings back to him
You ask me if I'll love you-O
When your grussets be bended low
Though your pubes grow dim and your orbs grow white
And your cordwangle makes an ugly sight
If I feel the way I do tonight
My answer will still be-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee (LONG PAUSE)
Wassail! V

09 Sep 00 - 04:01 AM (#293949)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Micca

The Rambling Sid tapes issued by the BBC in the UK claim to have 40!!!!! songs on!!!!!!, a veritible Bogle Clenchers Moulie bag of festive cheer. and if any of the Trans-ponders need a copy we can arrange to send.. PM me.

09 Sep 00 - 06:33 AM (#293997)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: The Shambles

'Long be your cordwangle'

09 Sep 00 - 10:18 AM (#294075)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Noreen

Thanks, Micca, I'll look out for it, and one for my sister!


10 Sep 00 - 04:07 AM (#294464)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,beachcomber

What an absolutely hilarious and delightful discussion. I too remember the old Kenneth Horne shows. His dialogue with "Ramblin' Syd" was an essential part of the act I feel, as he played the straight (?) interviewer with "regular questions" for the edification of the listeners. Yes , I'd love to know who played the little intros on guitar, doubt if it was nylon strung though, as I remember the sound

20 Sep 00 - 04:59 AM (#301230)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

Rick, this thread came up while I was on leave. If you have any trouble getting hold of the Williams' "Ramblin'Sid Rumpo" recordings, send me a PM.

20 Sep 00 - 05:32 AM (#301234)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

PS: favourite line (spoken at the end of the Black Grunger of Hounslow I think)"there's a supermarket on the site now and they do say that some nights his ghostly horse can be seen galloping down the aisles and manifesting itself by the bacon counter" (quoted from bad memory- made even worse by trying to give myself a frontal lobotomy by walking into the corner of the up 'n' over garage door just before going on holiday!)

21 Sep 00 - 08:58 AM (#302152)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

... now I've listened to the LP again I see it was "galloping along the bacon counter and manifestin' hisself behind the crystallised fruits"
I thint the spoken bits are even better than the songs> One I might use is: "the most boring song in my niggardly repertoire".
RtS (Just because I'm pompous, opinionated and pedantic doesn't mean I'm right)

21 Sep 00 - 10:29 AM (#302212)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Rick Fielding

Thanks to the amazing kindness of a couple of Mudcatters (Micca, and Seamus Kennedy) our little home has been filled with dangling cordwangles for a few days now.

Poor man, that Kenneth Williams, so tortured in his personal day to day life, and so funny in his public one. An excellent singer, I might add.


21 Sep 00 - 10:40 AM (#302227)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

So I don't need to send you another horse's head, Rick?

07 Oct 00 - 04:49 PM (#314258)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Roger in Sheffield

KW on UK TV right now. Friend just asked where he could get recordings of KW from, I know where to find out says I and so here I am in search of recordings.......

10 Sep 02 - 04:17 PM (#780699)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: MMario

be fresh

10 Sep 02 - 11:17 PM (#780973)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Jon Bartlett

Have these songs ever formed the subject of a festival workshop, and why not?

11 Sep 02 - 12:00 PM (#781322)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Trevor

Reg Pubes, Reg Pubes, lend me your grey nog,
All along out along down along lea,
For I am a-going to Ganderpoke Bog
With Bill Brewer....etc

Just in case you were wondering, according to the preamble, a nog is a cross between a horse and a dachshund. It stands four hands high and fourteen foot long.

'I'll sing you one-oh, green grows my bogling fork....'

In my callow youth, when I first heard Peter Bellamy I thought it was Rambling Sid...(hangs head in shame!)

11 Sep 02 - 12:02 PM (#781324)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Trevor

And I was forgetting, the line which I occasionally use myself...

'Tonight I shall have great pleasure....but first I'm going to sing you some songs....'

As I dip into my ganderbag........

11 Sep 02 - 02:12 PM (#781408)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams

I'm very surprised that amongst all the contributions on this thread that acknowledge Marty Feldman as the wordsmith for many of Ramblin Sid's songs, no one has further praised Marty for other musical efforts.

I have a tape from about 1970 ish of an album of songs sung by Marty. All are spoofs of various styles including folk and included are such classics as a list of the ingredients of HP sauce sung in fake french, the 'five to eleven waltz', 'Is it wrong to love an elephant?' (I still sing this occasionally!!)etc etc etc.

He had a real genius and from the feel of the pastoral songs on this album, I would guess that it was Marty that had the knowledge of, and feel for, traditional music in the Ramblin Sid team. Kenneth was wonderful as well, but Marty was a real one off.

12 Sep 02 - 07:15 AM (#781905)
Subject: Lyr Add: D'YE KEN JIM PUBES (Kenneth Williams)
From: Mr Happy

D'YE KEN JIM PUBES (Kenneth Williams)

D'ye ken Jim Pubes with his splod so bright
As he traddles his nadger in the bright moonlight?
He wurdles his posset all through the night,
But he can't turn it off in the morning.

Oh the sound of his groat threw me from my bed,
As he blew up his mooly fit to waken the dead,
Oh the noise of his grunge nearly blew off me head,
And removed all the paint from the awning.

D'ye ken Jim Pubes? Now his splod's turned white,
And his nadger's been struck with an awful blight,
And he can't find his posset without a light,
And he can't turn it on in the morning.

Oh his poor old groat, it has sprung a leak,
And the sound of his mooly's reduced to a squeak:
Though he blows and he blows till he's blue in the eek,
We'll no more hear him grunge in the mor-or-or-orning.

12 Sep 02 - 07:20 AM (#781909)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,CrazyEddie

Just in case you were wondering, according to the preamble, a nog is a cross between a horse and a dachshund. It stands four hands high and fourteen foot long.
"Well, it gets very foggy on the moors...."

12 Sep 02 - 08:58 AM (#781961)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Trevor

And it gets foggy on the moors.

12 Sep 02 - 12:27 PM (#782164)
From: Amos


Come fellows raise your fumbeljugs,
Until your cringe is plunging.
Come raise aloft your nut-brown grot,
For soon we'll all be munging.
For tonight I'll drain the posset dry,
Every man shall do the same as I,
If he don't I'll wurdle in his eye.
Tomorrow we'll be grunging,
Tomorrow we'll be grunging.

This guy is a world-class Jumbuck in his own Wurdle!!


12 Sep 02 - 01:33 PM (#782219)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: MMario

*gleeful laughter*

oh boy they are gonna love these at the pub sing!

16 Sep 02 - 04:44 PM (#785410)
Subject: Lyr Add: MY GRANDFATHER'S GRUNGE (Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,The Fantum


Authors probably as above

Singer Ramblin Sid Rumpo ( K Williams)

Tune My Grandfathers Clock

My Grandfathers grunge was to large for the house
So he left it outside by the door
It was almost as big as the old fool himself
And it weighed half a hundred weight more
He could whirl it around
With a mighty booming sound
While my Granny stood by in surprise
But he lost grip dented the tip
And it caused his untimely demise

Now he left it to me and its plain for to see
Its the pride and the joy of the broads
Every Michaelmas Day it is here on display
And its already won many awards
All the summer I munge
As I whirled that mighhty grunge
And my Granny regards me with pride
But I stopped short never to grunge again
When its cold outside


half a hundred weight is 56lb about 28kg Broads-in England a series of small lakes in Norfolk are known as "The Broads"

In Yonder Green Valley

Authors probably as above

Singer Ramblin Sid Rumpo ( K Williams)

Tune The Ash Grove?

In yonder green valley
I first met sweet Sally
When twilight was falling
We both held our tryst
Mid groves that were gloomy
She vowed her love to me
But it was so light there
We had to play whist

Amidst the bright barley
We stopped for a parley
Whilst hoot owls were calling
We plighted our grunge
Above us the stars shone
My grummets got caught on
A rambling rose bush
And nadgered my munge

Now with sorrow deep sorrow
My wogglers are laden
For Sally's departed
She married for wealth
Although I still wander
In yonder green valley
Its not so much fun
When you wurdle yourself

Advice given by Ramblin Sid
This song should be sung Lugubriously

Good Luck to all singers of this unique branch of the folk singer art

The Fantum

17 Sep 02 - 08:18 AM (#785941)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: pavane

I remember one song called, I think, 'Spotty Lil in the Balls Pond Road'. Anyone know where these words are?

18 Sep 02 - 05:47 AM (#786495)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Jim Clark...London...England

Wow !!!!!,

I am amazed and delighted to see a discussion of the late British comic genius Kenneth Williams at mudcat.....I grew up in Kings Cross the same part of central London he did,and I even attended the Argyle primary school in the sixties the same infant and primary school as he went to...but obviously a different generation...I have always found his humour to be such a familiar part of my life...there is something about his saucy postcard view of life that is very Kings cross in character...the areas changed a lot since i left in 1976,but during my first 16 years of life there it was a friendly if generaly poor area of London to live (i grew up in the 1880's tennemant blocks "Midhope buildings" built for the Victorian poor by the east end dwellings company.Until i was six years old we didnt have bath or toiletry facilities in the apartment we used to share a toilet on the balcony,and go once a week to the communal baths in the block (how things have changed???)..neighbours knew each others names,and we knew the local shopkeepers like family friends...We might not have been millionares,but my childhood memories are morre happy ones than sad,and I only have to think of Kenneth Williams who's father owned a barber shop off of Judd street for all those memories sweetened by the passing of time to flood was very sad to hear of how in reality he was the archetypal sads clown of popular myth haunted by his own inability to come to terms with his own sexuality and in later life by obsessive behaviour patterns and arthritic pain..but for me their could never be a more amusing or greater practicioner of the comic art..

The definitive website about Kenneth Williams can be found at


Jim Clark...London....England

18 Sep 02 - 11:06 AM (#786691)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Rick Fielding

Hi Jim. I'm the guy who started this. Obviously a huge fan of Kenneth's even though I'm Canadian. Thanks for the memories of his (and your) neighbourhood. I tried to find an e-mail address on your website, but couldn't. Most likely my fault'cause I still don't know what I'm doin' on a computer.


Rick (

19 Sep 02 - 05:13 AM (#787304)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Jim Clark

Dear Rick,

I've emailed Steve Arnold who runs the Kenneth Williams appreciation society's email address...


Jim Clark...London..England

08 Jul 03 - 04:22 AM (#978847)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Billy the Bus


Since NZ Public Radio is broke, they revive the classic BBC Wireless programmes of the 40-60s on a 6-monthly basis 'Just a Minute' finished a few weeks back (modern, minus KW). As stated above, and thrown at me by my mates in the late 50s...

"Hello Rodney."
"Hello Charles." (My 'real' name)

Aww.. Shucks.. I only got onto KW when one of his ballads sidetracked be from the 'Giant Squid' thread.

Thought we should revive this thread to get sanity into the MudHouse.

Cheers - Sam

08 Jul 03 - 04:42 AM (#978849)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,David Neale

Haven't been through the huge number of replies, so my own might well be repetition, for which my apologies.

Rambling Syd Rumpo was a charatcer played by KW in a BBC radio programme of the 1960s called "Round The Horne," starring straight man Kenneth Horne. Rambling Syd himself was a West Country yokel, full of country knowledge (so he thought) and colourful Williamesque country expressions. He was also a "folk singer" whose repertoire consisted of almost unintelligeable yet very double-entendre country lyrics sung very tongue-in-cheek, of course, by Kenneth.

"Round the Horne" was also the home of Julian and Sandy, in which KW played alongside Hugh Paddick. They were a clearly gay couple (very risqué at the time!) with a new angle in work each week. Again, full of double-entendre, much of which was probably lost on a great deal of the listeners at the time, as this was something completely different, of course.

You can read more about the show at

08 Jul 03 - 06:07 AM (#978890)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Dave Bryant

A lady friend of mine worked in the BBC light entertainment department and had some wonderful tales to tell of KW.

Once she was left alone in the office with him, while her boss went out to get a couple of other people. They heard their footsteps coming back along the corridor, and just before the door opened, KW dropped his trousers. As the door opened he was dicovered struggling to get them on again, he then turned to my friend and said "My God Cathy, you can really get your knickers back on fast". Mind you everyone would have known it was a joke as "Julian and Sandy" portrayed his true sexual inclination.

On another occasion she managed to get me a pass into the BBC canteen when she was taking him to lunch (it wasn't easy as a lot of people liked listening to him holding forth on different topics). I found him hilarious - I can remember a story about theatrical landladies.
Evidently to save money when they advertise in "The Stage" etc, they used to use abreviations - ie BSF meant Bathroom Same Floor. He would ask them if the lodgings were LTC - and invariably they'd say yes. When we enquired what LTC meant, he said "Landlady takes Cock".

08 Jul 03 - 08:49 AM (#978952)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Sandra in Sydney

Billy - thanks for reviving this thread. He was fantastic & Round the Horne was fun. I'm getting all nostalgic, so I had a look at my comedy books - mostly Goon Show, I ight head to the library tomorrow & see what I can find. Maybe put on some of my Goon show tapes, too. Maybe I'll head for the ABC shop & see what BBC classics they have.

I've never owned a TV & have always listened to radio & I've been a fan of the old English radio comedies for decades. Radio National was re-playing 'em yet again at 5.30am on weekdays last year & maybe still are but I no longer wake at that ungodly hour.

There is nothing to beat the old time British comedians - they were all masters of comedy & timing.

I also read his biography when it came out.


08 Jul 03 - 10:29 AM (#979017)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Rick Fielding

Hmmm....I may just dig out the diaries for a fourth read!


08 Jul 03 - 10:37 AM (#979029)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Dave Bryant

More about "Julian & Sandy".

"Beyond our Ken" was the precursor to "Round the Horne" - the "Ken" in the title referred to Kenneth Horne rather than KW.

In latter years he was known for his wonderfully petulant outbursts on "Just a Minute" in which he would describe himself as a "Media Superstar" and expect to be given preferential treatment.

08 Jul 03 - 02:41 PM (#979179)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: jacqui c

I saw Kenneth many years ago on stage in a review show. I must have been about eleven or twelve and can't now remember the name of the show. I think that it might have been called 'One Over the Eight'. He was superb, even for a kid of that age to appreciate. He did one sketch as a bank robber trying to tell the clerk put up your hands and give me the money but couldn't get the words out right. That bit has stayed with me for over forty years now and I don't think I'll ever forget it. I've loved the man ever since.

It seems that a lot of gifted people pay a high price for their talent, but what they give to us......

08 Jul 03 - 05:29 PM (#979283)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Charley Noble

Thanks, Sam, for reviving this thread once again.

Wurdling away,
Charley Noble

09 Jul 03 - 05:26 AM (#979599)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,jim

round the horne is on bbc 7 today at 12 or 12.30, you can get it on
digital radio or streaming on a pc
go to and follow the links

09 Jul 03 - 02:28 PM (#980009)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Jingle

Whatever happend to Rambling Sid's close relative, J. Peasemould Gruntfuttock Esquire ??

09 Jul 03 - 08:05 PM (#980212)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: The Walrus

And don't forget that oriental criminal mastermind Dr Chou En Ginsberg.

10 Jul 03 - 03:04 AM (#980336)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams

Where i come from leadfingers is nicknamed "Ramblin' Sid"

10 Jul 03 - 01:12 PM (#980696)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Jingle

Wasn't Chou En Ginsberg the one who said "They've stolen the World Clup (sic) - now we'll have to drink out of the World Saucer"? They don't write em like that any more, to coin a phrase.

23 Sep 03 - 11:20 PM (#1024077)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: The Fooles Troupe

No small part of the influences on "The Fooles Troupe"

was Kenneth Williams. And The Goons. And Round the Horne. and many other BBC Radio Shows.

The Virtual Fooles Troupe

30 May 11 - 07:27 AM (#3162548)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams

I am just listening to this, and found this thread, brilliant lol

30 May 11 - 08:41 AM (#3162582)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Ann N

re-read this thread when it surfaced again and I'm still smiling from the memories it brought back :) Here's a link to Rambling Syd at Amazon

30 May 11 - 10:51 AM (#3162632)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Gail

The song I love best isn't one of his folk parodies, it's 'Ma Crepe Suzette'. It's just a load of common French words strung together to make pure nonsense ("all night garage!") but I find it oddly touching.

Kenneth Williams singing 'Ma Crepe Suzette'

30 May 11 - 07:04 PM (#3162835)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: Lox

sorry ....

.... 100   :-)

31 May 11 - 08:16 AM (#3163048)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: A Wandering Minstrel

Looking back Banjoray asked for the list of names of the riders of the great nog so herewith:

Reg Pubes, Reg Pubes
You lent your great Nog
Rollock me fusset and grindle me nodes.
And now my remains are in
Ganderpoke Bog - with...
Len Possett, Tim Screevy
The Reverend Phipps, Peg Leg Loombucket
Solly Levi, Ginger Epstein
Able Seaman Truefitt
Scotch Lil
Messrs Cattermole, Mousehabit, Neapthigh and Trusspot
(Solicitors and Commisioners for Oaths)
Father Thunderghast, Fat Alice
Con Mahoney, Yeti Rosencrantz
Foo Tong Robinson and Uncle Ted Willis and all
Uncle Ted Willis and all.

04 Jun 14 - 09:15 AM (#3630244)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,norman cummins

The bit that always made me laugh was when Ramblin Sid said "Up came the troopers 1, 2, 4. So Kenneth Horn says 1,2,4? and Ramblin Sid said "It was 3's day off"

05 Jun 14 - 06:24 AM (#3630475)
Subject: RE: Kenneth Williams
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel

Sid: "...and he plighted his troth to a tall pine tree"
Ken: "I've always wondered - what actually is a 'troth'?"
Sid: "It be a cross between a trout and a sloth. Ugly brute".

(Or something to that effect)