Boaty, Boaty, Spit in the Cut

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I’ll sing you a song of the Junction Cut
I’m wedding you over the mopstick
Whether you like it or whether or not
I’m wedding you over the mopstick

Chorus:
Boaty, boaty, spit in the cut
Spit in the cut, spit in the cut
Boaty, boaty spit in the cut
I’m wedding you over the mopstick

I knows a girl at Sutton Stop
I’m wedding ...
Give her a tanner and then she’ll drop
I’m wedding ...

I knows a girl at Leyton lock
I’m wedding ...
Who likes the length a boatie’s got
I’m wedding ...

I knows a girl in Linslade town
I’m wedding ...
Who drops her kecks for half a crown
I’m wedding ...

When up to Maffers she do climb
I’m wedding ...
It costs you 7 and 6 a time
I’m wedding ...

When up near Bletchley you do lay
I’m wedding ...
It costs you all you’re laying pay
I’m wedding ...

When you’re down the Brentford docks
I’m wedding ...
She’ll give you a time and a dose of the (measles)
I’m wedding ...

The moral of this stories plain
I’m wedding ...
’Tis quicker and cheaper to stay on the train
I’m wedding ...

A bawdy ballad whose words may be replaced by ruder terms. The polite refrain given above (which at least makes some sense) is taken from the recording by 'The Boatmen' (to the best of my ability). I have also seen it quoted as 'Wiping your nose on the mopstick'; the words 'spit' and 'nose' being liable to replacement. 'Jumping the broom' was an accepted form of marriage in many communities and 'jumping over the mopstick' is obviously a variation of this. 'Maffers' (verse 5) is apparently a reference to Marsworth which sits at the junction of the Grand Union Canal and the Aylesbury Arm.

David Blagrove in the sleeve notes to Straight from the Tunnel's Mouth writes : Sometimes known as 'The mopstick' a bawdy ballad whose chorus is based on a time honoured chant by canal-side urchins in most big towns. The words 'spit' and 'nose' were of course replaced by ruder terms, or by the use of a raspberry inserted in place of 'spit' and explicit actions replacing or supplementing 'nose'. Various stopping places between the Midland Coalfields and London are quoted; canal enthusiasts may care to identify them.
David Blagrove has made the following additional comments : The chorus is even ruder than the one John Grace sings on 'Straight from the Tunnel's Mouth'. It can even now give great offence to boat people when sung, which is why I don't sing it myself. In places like Paddington, Oxford and Birmingham, where the cut passed through some pretty slummy parts, the local kids would often torment the boaters and chant 'Boaty, boaty, shit in the cut. Wipe your arse on a mopstick!'. The proper order of verses follows the course of the Grand Junction Canal(part of the Grand Union since 1929) and the first place mentioned is Braunston Stop (which is where the GJC began), then Leighton [Buzzard] Lock, Linslade, 'Maffers' [Marsworth], 'The Cowroast' [i.e. Cowroast Lock near Tring, which was a traffic control point and where boats were sometimes forced to wait for several days before unloading berths were available lower down the canal. 'Laying pay' in the 1960s was 22s 6d (£1.12½p) per day for this particular item]. Finally Brentford, a very long day's run from Cowroast too!


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