15 Comments

  1. Ah, that was nice to see again. This was a big hit during my teenage years and spurred me to dig into The Kinks back catalogue, which was rewarding.

    Maybe Vevo doesn’t have the rights to make it available in certain countries. The rights are from a pre-Internet age and so they could be quite fragmented. Which is a nuisance. This is reasons to use a VPN.

    “Expat” is short for “expatriate” (which I have seen someone guess at as “ex-patriot”). Neither is hyphenated.

    While I was living in Singapore, I was technically an expat, but never considered myself one or referred to myself as such. The other foreigners I knew working there weren’t really expats either, not to our minds. We were all living and working there on jobs we had found locally and been hired into locally and being paid at a level similar to what a local person in the role would be. To us, “expats” were the people who had been sent to Singapore by their companies, holding a lofty title, having a huge salary, fancy apartment (in the $10k/month range) paid for by company, tuition paid for kids in the American School (or equivalent if from another country), country club memberships, company car (in a country where buying and registering a Toyota Corolla would cost you $100,000 at the time). Due to the nature of my work, I would interact with these people regularly. Some were quite nice, but they lived in an entirely different world.

    The biggest difference, though, is that they lived in that bubble with the idea that they weren’t there to stay and they weren’t often too interested in interacting with the local culture. My friends and I were integrated into local life and, while we mostly had the idea we’d move on at some point, we weren’t in a rush.One got the sense that the expats would have been happier to still be in Ohio or Frankfurt and this was something to be endured (though they were often living well above the station they’d have back home). Sometimes, though rarely, I’d meed an expat that had “gone native”. They’d been sent out and never gone back. Maybe moved from posting to posting around the region. Had no interest in returning.

  2. I love that song. It makes me cry a little, now especially with the quarantine where there’s no in person dancing anywhere. I am happy to have danced at the Wonderland Ballroom in Revere, MA to the local swing bands in the 90’s. The dance floor was larger than most roller rinks and there were 2 band stages for the times when 2 big bands would be passing through and take turns playing on the same night. There was even a small band area and dance floor behind the far wall for more private affairs. Fortunately, that treasure of a social spot lives on as a Latin club, waiting for some lottery winner to bring swing glory back to the public.

  3. I wish I had been around to see the Totem Pole ballroom at Norumbega Park (just west of Boston), a classic venue through the swing era.

    It wasn’t until recent years I finally understood what was being sung in the Kinks song above when I heard “pally”. Only in the internet era did I find out the word was “Palais”. I do hear the song from time to time at work, and there is still one or two words I don’t catch that describe the various reuses of the former ballroom property.

  4. Grawlix, I hope this helps.
    FYI, saying his sister is “married and lives on an estate” is a bit ambiguous, because a “housing estate” in the UK can be anything from a densely packed public-housing high-rises to very posh suburbs. He almost certainly does not mean she lives on some grand estate of the Downton Abbey type. I think in this context it’s the same as a US singer saying she lives in the suburbs. Implying staid, middle-class conformity.

    They put a parking lot on a piece of land
    Where the supermarket used to stand
    Before that they put up a bowling alley
    On the site that used to be the local Palais
    That’s where the big bands used to come and play
    My sister went there on a Saturday

    Come dancing
    All her boyfriends used to come and call
    Why not come dancing?
    It’s only natural

    Another Saturday, another date
    She would be ready but she’d always make him wait
    In the hallway in anticipation
    He didn’t know the night would end up in frustration
    He’d end up blowing all his wages for the week
    All for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek

    Come dancing
    That’s how they did it when I was just a kid
    And when they said come dancing
    My sister always did

    My sister should have come in at midnight
    And my mum would always sit up and wait
    It always ended up in a big row
    When my sister used to get home late
    Out of my window I could see them in the moonlight
    Two silhouettes saying goodnight by the garden gate

    The day they knocked down the Palais
    My sister stood and cried
    The day they knocked down the Palais
    Part of my childhood died, just died

    Now I’m grown up and playing in a band
    And there’s a car park where the Palais used to stand
    My sister’s married and she lives on an estate
    Her daughters go out, now it’s her turn to wait
    She knows they get away with things she never could
    But if I asked her I wonder if she would

    Come dancing
    Come on sister have yourself a ball
    Don’t be afraid to come dancing
    It’s only natural

    Come dancing
    Just like the Palais on a Saturday
    And all her friends will come dancing
    Where the big bands used to play

  5. Like a lot of songs from “Ol’ Gap Tooth”, this pulls from his life growing up in a large family (seven older sisters) in North England in the 1950’s. I was going to suggest another song from this time period, “Better Things”, for the daily song and then, trying to find a link, I found this at a suburban Chicago newspaper site who posted the video “to help lift you out of your coronavirus funk”. https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20200427/a-song-to-make-you-smile-better-things-by-the-kinks

  6. CIDU Bill: No, they would not say that. The estates are in towns and cities and they would say something like “she lives on a housing estate in Dalkieth”. Because of the broad way it is used, it could mean the sister is living in a lower-class estate, but I don’t think it is supposed to be that dark. Just that things change and she’s grown up and settled down. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Housing_estate#United_Kingdom_and_Ireland

  7. That’s why I asked, SBill: I thought it might be one of those cases where Americans and Brits use slighting different phrasing.

  8. Yep. Like Brits go “to hospital” when they are injured and USers go “to the hospital”. Based on the people I know in both group, there is no crossover on this. Like “fanny”, it is not something where the groups overlap in usage. Canada is almost exclusively “to the hospital”, with a small minority doing the UK “to hospital” version.

  9. The thing I find odd in US English is that you go “to college”, but “to the university”.

  10. Arthur, I do think in recent years I’ve heard an increase among Americans of saying “go to university”.
    This may be the flip side of loosening the reluctance over here to apply “college” to anything other than post-secondary undergrad education.

  11. Are you sure that living in an estate in England doesn’t mean “living in a station wagon”? Better than living in a saloon I guess.

  12. Mitch4, in Canada “college” is used to refer to going to what the USA would call “community college”. Though there has been creep and many of those institutions are now offering three and four year courses of study and, through partnerships with universities, running degree programs (previously it was certificates and diplomas you got at college). And we say “go to university” here. We’d only say “go to the university” if it was already understood which specific one we were talking about. If you were in a city that only had one university, you could say “I go to the university” when asked what you do. But here in Toronto, where there are multiple universities in the city an many more within a 90 minute drive, you’d either say “I go to Western” (assuming you go to the University of Western Ontario) or “I go to university” (and they’ll ask which one if they care).

    CIDU Bill: Here’s a weird use thing based on age: Almost everyone under 40 in the USA says “on accident” (I was showing him my butterfly knife and I stabbed him on accident) for what us geezers would say “by accident” for. It’s been a rapid and thorough shift. https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/on-accident-versus-by-accident

    MiB: Well, even if they do live in the saloon, be sure you don’t call them “tired and emotional”.

    Though it is a good solo song from Billy Bremner, guitarist for Rockpile. Trivia bit: Billy recorded some singles and published some songs under the name Bill Murray.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s