An Ode to Depression


Woke up this morning to learn that the banking sector and stock markets have just gone into yet another collective spiral of doom, gloom and despair. The pound is now at a 5 year low against the dollar (won't be holidaying in the US next year then!) and Nissan cars have just announced that they are about to go on a 3 day week. I thought I had been transported back to 1973!

The news is unremittingly grim. Which prompted my wife, Sally, normally of a sunny disposition, to start singing "There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner" a little ditty by the late great Noel Coward.

It's actually entitled "An Ode to Depression" (an illness that Coward himself apparently suffered from) and is to be found in 2 versions. The original British one, which was performed by Graham Payn, Dora Bryan, Joan Heal and Ian Carmichael at the The Globe Revue in 1952, and a later internationalised one which Coward himself performed at his cabarets in Las Vegas and elsewhere. Sadly I cannot find recording on the world wide wonder web... Although I did find a live version by Robbie Williams which is not to be encouraged.

I had briefly tinkered with the idea of updating the lyrics to fit our current context, but messing with Noel Coward lyrics is almost an act of hubris, and anyway, they fit quite well without an amateur like me fiddling with them. So here are the lyrics of the original and best version. Enjoy.


They're out of sorts in Sunderland
And terribly cross in Kent,
They're dull in Hull
And the Isle of Mull
Is seething with discontent,
They're nervous in Northumberland
And Devon is down the drain,
They're filled with wrath
On the firth of Forth
And sullen on Salisbury Plain,
In Dublin they're depressed, lads,
Maybe because they're Celts
For Drake is going West, lads,
And so is everyone else.

Hurray-hurray-hurray!
Misery's here to stay.

There are bad times just around the corner,
There are dark clouds hurtling through the sky
And it's no good whining
About a silver lining
For we know from experience that they won't roll by,
With a scowl and a frown
We'll keep our peckers down
And prepare for depression and doom and dread,
We're going to unpack our troubles from our old kit bag
And wait until we drop down dead.


From Portland Bill to Scarborough
They're querulous and subdued
And Shropshire lads
Have behaved like cads
From Berwick-on-Tweed to Bude,
They're mad at Market Harborough
And livid at Leigh-on-Sea,
In Tunbridge Wells
You can hear the yells
Of woe-begone bourgeoisie.
We all get bitched about, lads,
Whoever our vote elects,
We know we're up the spout, lads.
And that's what England expects.

Hurray-hurray-hurray!
Trouble is on the way.

There are bad times just around the corner,
The horizon's gloomy as can be,
There are black birds over
The grayish cliffs of Dover
And the rats are preparing to leave the B.B.C.
We're an unhappy breed
And very bored indeed
When reminded of something that Nelson said.
While the press and the politicians nag nag nag
We'll wait until we drop down dead.

From Colwyn Bay to Kettering
They're sobbing themselves to sleep,
The shrieks and wails
In the Yorkshire dales
Have even depressed the sheep.
In rather vulgar lettering
A very disgruntled group
Have posted bills
On the Cotswold Hills
To prove that we're in the soup.
While begging Kipling's pardon
There's one thing we know for sure
If England is a garden
We ought to have more manure.

Hurray-hurray-hurray!
Suffering and dismay.

There are bad times just around the corner
And the outlook's absolutely vile,
There are Home Fires smoking
From Windermere to Woking
And we're not going to tighten our belts and smile, smile, smile,
At the sound of a shot
We'd just as soon as not
Take a hot water bottle and go to bed,
We're going to untense our muscles till they sag sag sag
And wait until we drop down dead.

There are bad times just around the corner,
We can all look forward to despair,
It's as clear as crystal
From Bridlington to Bristol
That we can't save democracy and we don't much care
If the Reds and the Pinks
Believe that England stinks
And that world revolution is bound to spread,
We'd better all learn the lyrics of the old 'Red Flag'
And wait until we drop down dead.
A likely story
Land of Hope and Glory,
Wait until we drop down dead.

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