Falling Down



This is a lament of a different kind today.  Thanks to Matt Bellamy of Muse for allowing me to reproduce the lyrics here of the song “Falling Down”.  It reflects the feelings of growing up in a small seaside town, but it could also symbolise the angst of youth and the place where they live wherever it may be in the country.

It caused a bit of a stir when it was released as part of the Showbiz album.  But as local councillor and youth worker Mary Kennedy reflected at the time:

“I think we should listen to what young people say about the town and try and make it more appealing for them …. it is surprising how many want to come back after they have travelled around a bit and seen other parts of the country”

Falling Down
(Matt Bellamy, Muse)

I’m falling down, and 15,000 people scream
They were all begging for your dream

I’m falling down, 5,000 houses burning down, yeah
No-one is gonna save this town

[Chorus #1]
Too late, I already found what I was looking for
You know it wasn’t here, no it wasn’t here

I was calling your name
But you wouldn’t hear me sing
You wouldn’t let me begin

So I’m crawling away
‘Cuz you broke my heart in two, yeah
No I will not forget you

[Chorus #2]
Too late, I already found what I was looking for
You know it wasn’t you. No, it wasn’t you. No

Falling away, you never see me fall
No I could not forget you

Falling down, a thousand houses burning down
No-one is gonna save this town

[Chorus #2]

Falling down, now the world is upside down
I’m heading straight for the clouds

For more information check out:

Falling Down – commentary …..
Muse – the Band …..
Muse – street art …..


A Lament

Turning on the Christmas Lights in the Triangle

Turning on the Christmas Lights in the Triangle

Things change and very often people fear the worse, not liking the idea that something they have lived with for years will be different.

This poem, going back over twenty years, reflects such a thought. It’s about the change of the Triangle in Teignmouth.

Yet we look at the Triangle now and think how vibrant a place it can be with its outdoor cafes, farmers market, Christmas lights, frequent music etc.

Anyway, here’s the contemporaneous thought of 1993 from Marjorie Whittington’s collection ‘Miscellanea of Happiness”.

A Lament

What have they done to Teignmouth?
Why have they spoilt our town?
No wonder the folk who live here
Walk round it with a frown.

The charm therein was the Triangle
Where friends would always meet
And admire the stone beds filled with flowers
So colourful – what a treat.

An empty Triangle

An empty Triangle

It now is one large flat pavement
Not a flower is in sight
Can’t somebody come to our rescue
And put things back to right.

(Marjorie Whittington, 1993)



Farmers' Market

Farmers’ Market

Farmers' market

Farmers’ market

and with the farmers’ market …..


Teignmouth to her District Council

coat of armsThough I have a strong affinity with Teignmouth I must also remain impartial on this blog. We have had a number of poems describing the attractions of Teignmouth, so now to balance that a few (small number) which I suppose you could say have a less favourable view of events here. The first, from his collection Vagabond Verse is by the Railway Poet, Thomas Aggett, and bemoans the local politics of over 100 years ago. Many might say that politics hasn’t changed!

Teignmouth to her District Council
(Thomas Aggett)

With lamentations loud and deep
Great cause have I, alas! to weep,
My Council members seem asleep,
I’m so dejected
For I whom they profess to keep
Am quite neglected.

Bt Nature clad in beauty’s dress,
Ye members surely must confess
What great attractions I possess,
Which you abuse,
When you could much improve I guess
Me if you choose.

But no, a dilatory curse
Seems settled on you, quite averse
To all improvements, worse and worse.
Your attitude
And money from the public purse
Does me no good.

I cannot now enumerate
Your foolish actions, neither state
Your time-waste in so-called debate;
With grief I see
Less water for more water-rate;
But list to me –

Just cease your foolish altercation,
My visitors want recreation,
Give this your best consideration,
You must agree
If you desire not condemnation,
Attractive be.

And to the public weal attend
In future better, and amend
The foolish way in which you spend
The public pence,
And pray that Providence will send
You better sense.

Cruise-Ship Sailing

Hebridean Princess and the Ness (from original by David Caunter)

Hebridean Princess and the Ness (from original by David Caunter)

This is the last in a series of posts about attractions of Teignmouth.

A few months ago history was made here – the arrival of the first ever cruise-ship in Teignmouth. It was greeted on the quayside by the new Mayor, Jacqui Orme, and the passengers were entertained with a few songs from the Back Beach Boyz and a talk by Viv Wilson MBE.

I thought it was only fitting to pen something about this event in a style that reflected Teignmouth’s seafaring tradition. So here is a modern take on an old shanty from the mid-nineteenth century – Donkey Riding.

Cruise-Ship Sailing
(Keats Ghost)

Mayor of Teignmouth, Cllr Jacqui Orme; Prof Mark Horton, BBC Presenter; Capt Trevor Bailey, Master Hebridean Princess; Viv Wilson MBE, Local Historian; Tracy Scranage, Town Centre Development Manager (by David Caunter)

Mayor of Teignmouth, Cllr Jacqui Orme; Prof Mark Horton, BBC Presenter; Capt Trevor Bailey, Master Hebridean Princess; Viv Wilson MBE, Local Historian; Tracy Scranage, Town Centre Development Manager (by David Caunter)

Were you ever in Teignmouth town,
the day the first cruise-ship came down,
with fifty passengers from Oban,
sailing on that cruise-ship?

Hey ho and away we go,
Cruise-ship sailing, cruise-ship sailing.
Hey ho and away we go,
Sailing on a cruise-ship.

The royally named Hebridean Princess,
steamed majestic around the Ness
greeted by Jacqui, the mayor, no less
hailing our first cruise-ship.


Back Beach Boyz (from original by David Caunter)

Back Beach Boyz (from original by David Caunter)

The guests enjoyed what we had to give –
a history lecture from our Viv
and the Back Beach Boyz sang a rousing gig
of shanties on the cruise-ship.


The ship’s first trip was a very short stay.
At the next high tide they were on their way.
Passengers cried “we’ll be back one day”,
sailing on a cruise-ship.

Hey ho and away we go,
Cruise-ship sailing, cruise-ship sailing.
Hey ho and away we go,
Sailing on a cruise-ship.

There is an interesting history attached to Donkey Riding.  If you’re interested, follow this link


Robin Hood 2014

Robin Hood 2014

A few posts ago we had a poem from the early nineteenth century – Private Theatricals by Winthrop Mackworth Praed.

Theatricals are is still alive and well in Teignmouth even though last year saw the demise of the Carlton Theatre to be replaced on the Den by a brand new facility, The Pavilions, due to open early next year.

In the mean time the Teignmouth Players have had to improvise and change venue. But the show goes on and here’s a poem that advertised the Christmas Panto 2014 in the local press. Oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is!

It had no named author or title so I’ve just called it ……


Christmas is that special time
When you can see a pantomime.
The audience from near and far
May witness a spectacular
Performance from the Teignmouth Players
With heroes, villains and soothsayers!
The Carlton may well be ‘behind you’
But there’s no need to shout or ‘boo’,
Teign Community School is here.
     (Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is!)
So everyone can clap and cheer
Along to each and every number
Until they all go home to slumber.

Amy Burton-Smith’s direction
Is absolute panto perfection
With Jeff Hocking’s musical skill
This show is set to wow and thrill!
The Teignmouth Players cast and crew
Are all proud to present to you
The Adventures of Robin Hood
To excite you like a panto should!
The evil sheriff of Nottingham
Does all the things a villain can
To make life hard for our poor hero.
But will his efforts come to zero?
The love of lady Marion
Will have them fighting ‘till it’s won!

The Dame of this year’s panto battle
Takes form as Nora Tittletattle.
The Nanny of our fairest maiden
Who’s sure to have her make-up laden!
So book your tickets right away
To come and see a matinee
or evening if that’s your bag
And laugh along with every gag!
Bring all the family with you
And shout out loud and cheer and boo!
Lots of laughs are on the menu
At this exciting new venue
Over Christmas and New Year,
Be sure to leave a window clear!

To Dance on Teignmouth Pier

The Right Side of the Pier

There have been a number of poems written about Teignmouth Pier, still one of the iconic and leading attractions on the seafront despite the most recent damage caused by the 2013 winter storms.

Here is another take on the Pier with a nostalgic view of its heyday when ‘dance’ was one of the main forms of entertainment.

To Dance on Teignmouth Pier
(Barbara Hine)

During the forties and fifties or so
The Pier was the place to go.
On many a night when the moon was bright
The Pavilion held its show.

There was comedy and song, all week long,
And even an acrobat strong,
There were beauty contests and famous guests
Who performed with great aplomb.

There was a place to eat where friends could meet
To indulge in a little treat.
No tea in a mug, no ‘Little Brown Jug’
But china and napkins neat.

But best of all was the lure of the hall
And the excitement of a ball.
For a real live band above the sand
Did nothing but enthral.

The dance floor fine with seductive shine
Was a veritable Glenn Miller shrine.
The bands played loud, the latest sound,
Above the foaming brine.

And with drinks and food, the girls were wooed
To get them ‘In the mood’.
When the boys cast a glance at the weekly Dance,
They did not think it rude.

With their hair in curls and ‘A String of Pearls’
And a spangly dress for twirls,
They gilded around to the big band sound.
They were up for it all, those girls!

Be it waltz or foxtrot, they didn’t mind what,
They quick-stepped away to the lot:
The rumba, the mamba, the cha cha, the samba
They gave them their very best shot.

For they all came here in excellent cheer
To lighten the fifties drear,
After days In the sun, they craved laughter and fun
And to dance on Teignmouth Pier.

So the music played and the people swayed
To ‘The Moonlight Serenade’,
While some went on deck, for a hug and a peck
And a gentle promenade.

And ‘I know why’ there was nipping and stripping –
The young were indulging in skinny-dipping.
Then they’d get themselves dressed so no one would guess,
But went home through the town all dripping.

Back in fifty-four, when folk took to the floor,
Not one of them knew the score:
That soon men would go ‘Over the Rainbow’,
In space ships they would soar.

There’d be lunar cars and trips to Mars –
The earth would have no bars.
There’d be astronauts then and little green men
‘On the Stairway to the Stars’.

James Bond would ride on the incoming tide
And people would just stay inside
To watch the tele with legs like jelly
The day the music died.

With the sixties new, beatlemania grew,
And ‘Come Dancing’ was just for the few.
When the bubble burst and TV did its worst,
It was discos for me and you.

Those nights on the pier, folk had no idea
That a brand new era was near,
That storm and fire would make a pyre
Of the ballroom once so dear.

And the Pavilion grand would come to land
Far out from the amber strand,
Where hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They had danced to a Glenn Miller Band.


Storms hit the pier

Storms hit the pier

Want to know more?  Check out:

Teignmouth Pier …..

Holiday in Teignmouth



Since the early days of bathing machines on the beach Teignmouth has always been a sea-side resort.

A couple of months ago someone came into the Heritage Centre in Teignmouth bringing a small book of poems called “Gillyflowers”. It was a selection of poems by her mother, Dorothy Heard, who had moved to Teignmouth many years before. The collection has been compiled and published privately by Dorothy’s brother.

Dorothy was born in a small Yorkshire village and had to leave school before matriculation. She went to work on the fields in a local farm before moving indoors to help the farmer’s wife. At school she loved English and enjoyed reading poetry; one of her favourite poems was Meg Merrilies by Keats. In the seventies Dorothy found herself working at the Minadab, on the Dawlish Road, which at that time was a restaurant. Later she ran her own Bed & Breakfast. Dorothy, aged 97, is still living in Teignmouth.

The poems in Gillyflowers reflect her thoughts and memories from Yorkshire and Teignmouth. This first one is about Teignmouth as a holiday seaside resort 40 years ago.

Holiday in Teignmouth
(Dorothy Heard – 1972)

Crowded beaches, sun-kissed faces,
silver sand and sparkling sea,
gay striped awnings, Granddad’s braces,
children digging merrily,
picture postcards, sticks of rock,
paddling pool and donkey rides,
trains arriving choc-a-bloc,
roundabouts and local guides.

Landladies, all working hard,
changing linen, sparkling clean,
flower beds on the promenade,
cricket matches on the green,
busy cafes, fresh cream teas,
lobster, crab and cockles too,
ice-cream parlours, chips and peas,
candyfloss from Lindy Lou.

Daily trips across the moor
visiting historic places,
Tavistock and Widdecombe, or
chance one’s luck at Newton races.
Pennies clinking on the pier,
scent of pungent suntan lotion,
local inn for ice-cold beer,
moonlight bathing in the ocean.

Singing hymns on Sunday morning
in the ozone-laden air,
dancing till the day is dawning,
sudden hectic love affair.
All too soon the days have flown,
cases packed, a goodbye tear,
back to work, and home sweet home,
promising to meet next year.
Deck-chairs stacked away once more,
little town now strangely still,
lonely seagulls on the shore
screaming through the autumn chill.