Sunday, 17 November 2013

Fings ain't wot they used t'be

I've tried looking on the Web for the original lyrics to the title song from the Cockney musical comedy Fings ain't wot they used t'be, by Lionel Bart, but all I can find are the different lyrics sung to the same tune by Max Bygraves. As I have on CD the original-cast recording of the show from 1960, here's my transcription from the sound. This is undoubtedly garbled, because I can't make out all the words clearly. However, I was rather pleased to make out the reference to the Wolfenden Report on homosexuality and prostitution, published in 1957. If you can improve my transcription, please let me know.

I used to lead a lovely life of sin
(Dough! I charged a ton!)
Now it's become an undercover game
Who wants to read a maggis in a window
Massaging done
Somehow the business doesn't seem the same.

It's a very different scene
Well, if you know what I mean
There's toffs with toffee noses
And cooks in coffee houses
And fings ain't wot they used to be.

There's short-time low-cast mysteries
Wivart proper histories
Fings ain't wot they used to be.

There used to be class
Doing the town
Buying a bit of vice
And that's been a grass
Couldn't go down
Under the union
(Christ, not likely!).

Once in golden days of yore
Ponces, killed and lazy whore
Fings ain't wot they used to be.

Cops from universities
Dropsy, what a curse it is
Fings ain't wot they used to be.

Big hoods now are little hoods
Gamblers now do Littlewoods
Fings ain't wot they used to be.

There used to be schools
Thousands of pounds
Forcing across the bay
There used to be tools
Flashing around
Oh for the bad old days
Remember...

How we used to fall for 'em
I got news for Wolfenden
Fings ain't wot they used to be
(Did they love they used ter)
Fings ain't wot they used to be.