Monday, 26 March 2012

Have a Cuppa Tea

Was sent a YouTube video of a Kinks cover (thanks Elaine), and I thought this would be the perfect beginning for a blogpost. Here's Elasticated Waste Band singing Have a Cuppa Tea:

It might not be the most in-tune song you've ever heard, but the original isn't much better (Sorry Mr Davies).

Here are the lyrics to Have a Cuppa Tea:

Granny's always ravin' and rantin'  
And she's always puffin' and pantin',  
And she's always screaming and shouting,  
And she's always brewing up tea.  
Grandpappy's never late for his dinner,  
Cos he loves his leg of beef  
And he washes it down with a brandy,  
And a fresh made cup of tea.  
Have a cuppa tea, have a cuppa tea,  
have a cuppa tea, have a cuppa tea,  
Halleluja, halleluja, halleluja, Rosie Lea  
Halleluja, halleluja, halleluja Rosie Lea.    
If you feel a bit under the weather,  
If you feel a little bit peeved,  
Take granny's stand-by potion  
For any old cough or wheeze.  
It's a cure for hepatitis it's a cure for chronic insomnia,  
It's a cure for tonsilitis and for water on the knee.  
Tea in the morning, tea in the evening, tea at supper time,  
You get tea when it's raining, tea when it's snowing. Tea when the weather's fine,  
You get tea as a mid-day stimulant You get tea with your afternoon tea  
For any old ailment or disease For Christ sake have a cuppa tea.  
Whatever the situation whatever the race or creed,  
Tea knows no segregation, no class nor pedigree  
It knows no motivations, no sect or organisation,  
It knows no one religion, Nor political belief. 

Now, I must admit that this video and its text are really enough content for a blogpost. I could leave it at that, and be quite satisfied in my efforts as a respected and influential teablogger. But let's be candid here. If I did only the bare minimum, I'd be letting down my horde of tea drinking fans.

Let's dissect the song then, why don't we

The song begins with Granny, and I can't imagine a better place to start. Yes, Granny brews a lot of tea. She simultaneously raves, rants, puffs, and pants. Put that together with her screaming and shouting, and you have a very fiery kind of elderly lady.

However, just because she's a bit emotionally imbalanced doesn't necessarily mean the tea is to blame. Many people confuse causation with correlation. You know...that she drinks a lot of tea and then freaks out. As a matter of fact, my theory is that Granny would be much worse without her tea. That she's naturally a bit unhinged, but swilling at her tea actually balances her out. Even if only a bit.

That leads us to Grandpappy. He's a character, isn't he? He's what I like to call a raconteur. A man about town.  A bit of a sensualist, as well. If you know what I'm saying. Eats with enthusiasm, has a bit of fire water to wash his meal down, as a gentleman will do. How do I know Grandpappy's a gentleman? Well, he has that 'fresh made cup of tea' to round out his voracious hunger and thirst.

Then we sing praises to (or possibly with) a woman called Rosie Lea. Aren't you curious who she is? Me too. I'm going to assume with Granny hollering and Grandpappy nipping at his hipflask, that Rosie Lea could very well be one of those ladies of the evening. Seems only appropriate.

Tea will help whatever ails you - we've talked about the medical benefits of tea on this blog before. Just recently, I wrote tea will cure everything...all of it. Here're a few more items for your list of things tea will cure. Hepatitis, insomnia and even a tonsilitis? Well, of course. Fun times. But what about 'water on the knee'?

But this also promises relief if one feels 'a little bit peeved'. I'm nearly always just a bit peeved. I'm very doubtful if tea's done anything about that.

Or...maybe without the tea, I'd be incredibly peeved. Massively peeved. I don't like the thought of that. Need to think about something else quickly.

I also appreciate the mention of tea at every meal. Breakfast? Check. In the evening? Check. When Mr Davies says 'Suppertime' here, he means his midday meal. Shall we have tea then, as well? Yes, please. I believe we shall.

Good weather or bad weather - any meteorological situation calls for tea. Any time of day, as well. Wait, we've already been over all this. And again with the health benefits. We get it. Does the songwriter think we haven't been paying attention?

And finally, we get to the best part. The 'tea is an equal opportunity elixir' section. Race or creed? You can be one or even both and drink tea. Do you have any class? Well, have some tea. Uncooth? I know the thing for you. You guessed it - a nice hot cuppa.

I do have one difference of opinion here, though. Tea 'has no motivations'? Oh, really? This has certainly not been my experience. Plenty of motivations if you ask me. Plenty. And then some.

And right at the end there's the whole John Lennon Imagine thing. The 'no countries' part and the 'nothing to kill or die for' part and the part that makes some religious people irritable, as well as that little 'people living life in peace' afterthought.

Repeat the chorus (again with the Hallelujas and that tramp of a Rosie Lea) and there you have a nice little song about a spot of tea. What more could you want?


  1. i always thought it was spelled rosie lee, but either way, a cup of rosie is the tea itself. and like all cockney rhyming slang, you can drop the part that rhymes to make sure of your secret intents re a swift cuppa.

  2. Oh Elaine, you should translate the Cockney rhymes for us.

    What's he really saying here?

    1. well, all the 'rosie lee, halleluja' in the chorus is just 'tea! hooray!', which i think we can all get behind.

      the kinks were VERY english, so you have to look at anything they do with that in mind.

      a sidenote; i think supper is never had at lunch time. a northerner may call it dinner, but no on calls lunch supper. however, supper is a moveable feast, being a meal which can happen any time from teatime to bedtime.

  3. As a resident of the Costa del Lea/Lee [1] elaine4queen should know its a grey area. innit.
    Rosie Lee wins (13:1) the googlefight [2], but as a possible relation of Bruce, she may have an advantage. Speaking of which: is Chinese tea, Rosie Li? Someone should write google brawl for multiple search terms.

    The Other Mr T :


  4. and the video (which is only a rehearsal/ taster) doesn't do justice to the awesome power and majesty of the live 9 piece band. I saw them last Sunday at their goodbye/chapeau/Save the Wenlock Arms gig (which was the first venue they played).

    \m/ Rawk Us \m/

  5. I really want to see this band when they come through Germany.

    Mealtime in the UK always confuses me. I like that many Northerners refer to their evening meal as 'having tea'. Something I can get behind.