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( Tune : The Overgate )
 Thurso Berwick

O, Sky-High Joe wis on the go, some gelinite tae buy,
So he goes tae the Carron Iron Works tae get a guid supply:
Ricky doo dum day, doo dum day,
Ricky dicky doo dum day.
"O Ah want it for a special job, and Ah want the real Mackay,
Are ye shair yuir gelignite ignites?" - an the foreman says: "Och Ay!" (&c)
When the Pillar Box sees Sky-High Joe, it blenches deidly pale;
"Staun back, staun back, wi yuir hair sae black, for
Ah dinnae want yuir airmail" (&c)
But Sky-High Joe wis on the go, he wis oot to mak' some news,
And so he posts his "Coupon", wi' a yaird o' fizzin' fuse: (&c)
As he wandered back across the road, he tellt the cops "Good night!
Ah wadna stand sae near the box, for yon wis gelinite." (&c)
A minute later aff it went, wi' a flashing an' a thump,
An noo they've carried the bits awa' tae the Corporation Dump: (&c)
The bottom bit wis staunin there, aa ragged-edged an sherp,
But the lid wis in St. Peter's hauns - he wis playin it like a herp: (&c)
They say that on the folliean day, pit there tae get their rag,
Upon the mound o rubble, wis a wee bit Scottish Flag: (&c)

Footnote : Lillabet of England's Golden Jubilee is a reminder of the stushie over her EIIR insignia at the time of her accession to the throne. Scots nebs were rightly not best pleased that she did not use EIR in Scotland. As the historian James Halliday queried - how can you have a second cup of tea unless you have had a first? When new pillar boxes were erected with the EIIR insignia in Scotland they soon disappeared! Thurso Berwick wrote in the Folk Song magazine 'Chapbook' about this song in the late 60s :-

'Every culture has its folk heroes. There were the Big Hewer, John Henry, and, in the Scotland of the fifties, there was Sky High Joe. When the new pillar boxes were erected with their EIIR insignia, he was the man who went around with his "fizzing fuze" blowing them up and dispatching their contents "by air mail." He himself wrote "The Ballad of the Inch" and I wrote "Sky High Joe." When Jimmie Macgregor went to London he made a collation of the two and recorded it under the title "Sky-High Joe."'

Fortunately, only pillar boxes were damaged, not people - the authorities soon stopped erecting the unwanted EIIR pillar boxes.


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