In the early 80s, on a Saturday night, I could be found down the road at my friend’s house. We used to sit up in her room and listen to music. We did the usual girly thing, dressed in our ra ra skirts, swaying to and fro, flicking our hair back, singing to the latest records.
When The Belle Stars came on the scene, we worshipped them. They were new, cool and exciting. The Clapping Song, in particular, stood out. Lyrics about a goose drinking wine, a monkey chewing tobacco and choking? It was genius to an impressionable eleven-year-old. I remember trying to follow the style of the lead singer, complete with head gear. I cringe when I think about it now. Surely someone should have told me how ridiculous I looked? Still, it was the 80s.
The Belle Stars had a couple of other hits, but I can’t remember much about them. I’ll never forget The Clapping Song, though; I recall thinking it was actually quite sweet that they all went off to Heaven in a little rowing boat.
In between our renditions of The Clapping Song, and other hits, we needed refreshment, which consisted of Ribena and marmalade on toast. Why marmalade on toast? Because we both loved marmalade. I remember one particular time having a competition to see who could eat the most. After ten slices each I think we called it a draw.
My fifteen-year-old daughter recently heard The Clapping Song and just shook head. “Have you listened to the lyrics, Mum?” she asked, “that’s just so wrong.”
I could say the same of many of the lyrics she listens to, but I think it wise not to make comment.
I still love marmalade on toast. Though I restrict myself to two slices at a time.