E: Estelle, nice to see you. Let's start with The Perfect Face, which starts "Hullo clouds! Hullo sky!"
EW: Actually, it's "I saw the grass, I saw the trees," Eccles. But your version is just as good.
Hullo clouds! Hullo sky!
E: Oh yes. Saw, not smoked, the grass, eh? And then you saw the boats along the shore?
EW: Yes, I was on holiday in Great Yarmouth.
I made my way into the town, To the busy crowded streets: The shops and stores and alleyways, Through the squalor and the heat.
E: Still, you had a nice day for it, eh? By the way, this is a hymn, isn't it?
Note the reference to bacon (which will be important later).
EW: Well, I'm coming to that. You see, I was very unhappy because I had seen the perfect face:
Of a real and proper man: The man who brought me from the dark Into light — where life began.E: I'm guessing that this has something to do with Christ, although you never actually mention Him? Still it had a very strange effect on you.
EW: Yes, every face I saw after that, including my own, was hideous to me:
The lines of envy around their lips And the greed and the hate in their eyes.Your face isn't much to write home about, now, is it, Eccles?
E: Cruel words, Estelle. Do you think God wants us to regard all his creation as hideous?
An ugly face (pulled specially for this blog).
EW: Too bad, I just can't stand "ordinary" faces any more. Eek! Put that mirror away!
E: Well, let's move on to what may be an even worse hymn. This one's all about grass, as well.
Autumn days when the grass is jewelled, And the silk inside a chestnut shell, Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled, All these things I love so well.
EW: I'm also fond of raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens. But apparently that hymn has already been written.
Brown paper packages tied up with string...
E: Now what I look for in a hymn is a little spiritual nourishment. Do we get round to mentioning God at all?
EW: Aaagh, I knew I'd forgotten something! Still, there's always the chorus.
E: So I mustn't forget, no I mustn't forget To say a great big thank you.Although it isn't clear whether you're thanking the people who made the jet engines, or what.
EW: You'll like verse 2:
Smell of bacon as I fasten up my laces And the song the milkman sings.E: Help, I don't understand you at all, Estelle. Why do you have bacon in your shoes? And what is this song he's singing?
Estelle White's milkman, Ernie, sings a merry song.
EW: This isn't really your sort of hymn, is it, Eccles?
E: No, but Estelle, thank you for coming, and don't worry too much about the lack of religious content. It goes down very well with modern congregations, I'm told.
Previous entries for the Eccles Bad Hymn Award:
Lord of the Dance.
Shine, Jesus, shine.
Enemy of apathy.
Walk in the Light.
Kum Ba Yah. Follow me. God's Spirit is in my heart. Imagine. Alleluia Ch-ch.
It ain't necessarily so. I, the Lord of sea and sky. Colours of day. The red flag.
Go, the Mass is ended. I watch the sunrise. Bind us together, Lord. Our god reigns.
My way. Ding-Dong! The witch is dead. If I were a butterfly.
Journeys ended, journeys begun. The Galilee song.