Convoy GB!

In 1975, only a couple of months after C. W. McCall's original "Convoy", a parody of it was recorded by "Laurie Lingo and the Dipsticks". The perpetrators of this sacrilege (two DJ's employed by BBC Radio 1, Dave Lee Travis and Paul Burnett) should rightly have been burned at the stake for heresy, but we'll let them off because it's actually quite funny.

So now, download the record here (convoygb.mp3 - about 2.9MB), unwrap a Yorkie, and sing along!

(Non-British visitors - want to know what it all means? Read the Glossary!)

Plastic Chicken

It was a foggy day on the sixth of May
In a Scammell haulin' bricks
It was just crackin' dawn and I started to yawn
Cos I couldn't find any nice chicks.
I'd tried Newport Pagnell, Toddington,
And even Watford Gap,
But after so many eggs and chips, sausage and beans
What I really needed was a nap.
It's a lonely life, truck driving
But it's better than a bike
Cos when you're up in the cab, you're the king of the road
And it's dead romantic, like.
And then I remembered my two-way radio,
So I started feelin' better,
And I thought "I'll start a convoy"
"You know, just like that American feller."

Thus began the saga
On the M1 Motorway
Of the biggest bloomin' convoy
Outside the USA.
Why not join our line-up?
It's completely free.
All you need is transport
And a current MOT.

[On the CB]
Hello, this is Super Scouse callin'. Anyone out there, come on?
Hello, hello, this is Plastic Chicken, go off?
That's "come on" - what's your load, Plastic Chicken?
Er, well it would have been quick-drying cement, but the rain got in - do you know anyone who wants to buy a three-ton brick?

So there we were, the two of us,
At the start of something big.
There was Plastic Chicken with his brick on wheels,
And me in my big rig.
With every junction that we passed
Others would tag on
There was even a London Transport bus
"Hey, that's a nice wagon - fares please..."
It certainly was an impressive sight,
To see us on the road
There was vehicles of every shape and size
It certainly had growed.
Suddenly there was this commotion,
There was a circus, and a fair.
There was an animal acrobatic act
"Ooh look - a bear in the air!"

You're listening to the saga,
On the M1 Motorway.
Of the biggest blooming convoy,
Outside the USA.
We're half-way through our story,
But please don't go away.
They're on Spaghetti Junction
"We could be here all day..."

[On the CB] Hello, Plastic Chicken to Super Scouse, gerroff, I mean come in, er, come on - oh, do I have to say this every time?
Yeah - have you seen any fuzzboxes? - that's slang for police cars.
Er, Jackanory, Super Scouse - that's slang for No!
That's Negatory, you berk...
Ooh I say, is this a private convoy or can anyone join in?
What's your wheels, our kid?
Would you believe, a camper...?

Spaghetti Junction was coming up
So we were bound to lose a few.
And sure enough, the fork-lift truck,
Disappeared heading up towards Crewe.
The combine harvester shred a wheel,
And the driver lost control.
And a mobile DJ crashed his van,
So we ain't gonna play no Soul, 10 - 4.

So we end our story,
On the M1 Motorway.
Of the biggest blooming convoy,
Outside the USA.
This record is good value,
As you can plainly see.
It's labelled as a tax disc
Though it's [words indistinct]

[On the CB]
Er, Plastic Chicken to Super Scouse, there's a big black limo coming up behind...
Er, what about it?
Well it's got a flag on the front and a funny number plate - "HRH 1"
Mercy sakes, good buddy, you'd better give it the front door and wave her on, like...
Will do, Super Scouse, I'm waving her on - ooh look, she's waving back, isn't that nice...
Plastic Chicken, do you want to stick it in behind that suicide jockey?
What's a suicide jockey?
As it happens, How's about...
Er, Plastic Chicken, don't you think you'd better change gear for this hill?
What's wrong with the gear I've got on, doesn't it look right?
Change gear, ram your foot on the floor and change the gear, what you talking about, you don't know how to drive a truck do you, you've no idea how to drive a truck, you're mad... (continue to fade)


Chips - Not what the Americans would call chips (we call those 'crisps'), chips are a bit like french fries, but thicker, greasier and much, much nicer...

M1 Motorway - British Motorways (designated by the letter 'M') are high quality, high speed roads, usually with three lanes of traffic in each direction, with a central dividing strip between the two opposing carriageways. There is a spare lane, or 'Hard Shoulder', at the side, which drivers should try to get their vehicles onto if they break down or have an accident, to get clear of the running lanes. Pedestrians, learner drivers, and some classes of vehicle are prohibited on motorways, and all junctions are grade-separated interchanges. (Rough equivalents would be American Interstates and German Autobahns.) The M1 runs more or less due north from London, ending in Leeds 190 miles away.

MOT - The 'MOT' is the annual test of roadworthiness for cars, or the certificate issued to vehicles which pass. 'MOT' stands for 'Ministry of Transport', and although we haven't had a Ministry of Transport for about 25 years (it became the Department of Transport, then part of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and is now part of the Department of Local Government, Transport and the Regions) the name MOT has stuck.

Nap - Short period of sleep.

Newport Pagnell - A service area (place where you can get off the motorway to park, rest, use toilets, eat, go shopping and refuel your vehicle) on the M1.

Scammell - British make of lorry. Absorbed into Leyland Trucks in the 1970's, the name is (I think) now defunct, though it was used as a brand name within the Leyland model range for a number of years.

Spaghetti Junction - Junction 6 on the M6 motorway (nowhere near the M1!) near Birmingham, and opened around 1972, this is the junction where the M6, the A38, the A38(M) Aston Expressway, and a few other lesser roads meet. Called 'Spaghetti Junction' because of its apparent bewildering complexity, with roads going over, under and past each other like strands of spaghetti on a plate, it's not really as complicated as it looks. Contrary to popular belief (and as suggested in the song) you can't actually go round and round it all day. Whatever happens you're through it and out again in a matter of seconds, though it's quite conceivable that if you weren't reading the signs fast enough you now might not be going in the direction you were hoping for.

Scouse - I wasn't sure whether to put this one in - surely everyone in the world knows that 'scouse' is someone or something from Liverpool?

Suicide jockey - This is a bit of an in-joke. The expressions 'As it happens' and 'How's about...', and the ululation, were catchphrases of one of Dave Lee Travis and Paul Burnett's fellow disc jockeys at Radio 1, Jimmy Savile OBE. Travis (in his persona of Super Scouse) is sending up his colleague.

Tax disc - Technically known as a Vehicle Excise Licence, this is a disk which is required to be displayed in a vehicle's windscreen to show that one part of the huge tax burden on British drivers has been paid.

Toddington - Another service area on the M1 (see Newport Pagnell)

Watford Gap - Another service area on the M1 (see Newport Pagnell)