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Spots Through the Ages (1936)

--By "Den"

In America now (says a traveller) canned beer has practically replaced the bottled product.
Twelve ounce tins are told for 15 cents in the U.S.A., and tin-openers are supplied.

ROMANCE goes out of everything in these days of ill-grace,
And even old John Barleycorn grows "standardised" apace;
Once henchman of gay gallantry, a kindlier part he played.
Scene: Tavern door. A sonsy wench. A merry, ruffling blade.
He stops. She smiles. Arm round her waist, "Could Eve be more divine!
See, a kiss, my pretty sweetling. Then, I pray, a stoup of wine."

Twas in a "silver tassle" that Rab Burns pledged his lass
(The current one, 'tis understood). But days grow drab, alas,
But still old England's cockney borrowed glamour from afar.
Scene: London pub. Tiles. Glittering glass; and there, behind the bar,
A brass-haired goddess, proud, aloof from this meek gutter child.
"A pot o' four-'arf, thank yeh, Miss. An' please to dror it mild."

The scene shifts to Australia, "where a man can raise a thirst."
(See Kipling.) From "long-sleevers" now they drained the stuff acurst.
Back of beyond, by Clancy's run they've had a six months' drought.
Scene: Old bush shanty. Summer. Flies. Six shearers "cutting out."
A shirt-sleeved, whiskered barman. Says Bill: "By gum, it's 'ot!
Breast up, blokes. Name yer gargle. Rybuck, boss; mine's a pot."

But mass-production now debunks old John for olden sins;
They've "synthesised" him, "standardised" him, soldered him in tins.
Grog goes no more with gallantry, nor wine with poesy.
Scene: Chain store-grocer's. Pickles, clothes-pegs, jam, tinned salmon, tea.
Smug grocer (strict abstainer). Enter cove in working duds.
He slings a sprat across the joint: "Hoy! Gissa tinna suds !"


From the Brisbane Newspaper the Queenslander 19 Mar 1936 p. 3.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory