Rude grammar

And in the theme of comic songs that are far better than they superficially appear, here’s Flanders and Swann’s wonderfully obscene ‘Have some Madeira M’Dear’.

(“Swann’s nephew thinks it’s about cake… So does Swann.”)

This is apparently the only known composition in English that contains a three-stage zeugma/syllepsis, and it contains three of them.

As can be expected from a live performance, they’re all slightly different. In this version he talks about his ‘finesse’. In the original it’s ‘prowess’.

Socially, there’s something else unusual – Michael Flanders is publicly using a wheelchair, at a time when society felt the ‘decent’ thing for him to do was to disappear and rot. He’s showing that it should make no difference.  “But of course you only see the people that have got the wheelchairs licked, those who didn’t get the wheelchair licked are mouldering away somewhere.”

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