wordsout by godfrey rust
< all souls >

True Brit
(the ballad of Andrew Cornes)

on his departure in 1984 from All Souls, Langham Place, where he had been Director of Training, to lead a church in Pittsburgh, PA. A country and western talking song

Now if you find yourself in New York State,
and you got no place to go,
and if you leave the coast and you head
     south west
five hundred miles or so,
then sure as a rooster don't lay eggs
you'll be in Pennsylvania,
and if you make yourself known
you'll find some mighty fine folks
and they'll be glad to entertain ya

But things weren't good in Pittsburgh,
there were bad things going down,
many men had been and gone
and not cleaned up that town,
and the law-abiding citizens
were fearful and forlorn—
there was just one man could make it right,
and his name was Andrew Cornes
    Andrew Cornes, Andrew Cornes,
     No bull has been invented
     that he won't take by the horns.

He was a giant of a man, he was six foot four
in a dog collar and flat feet,
but from the size of his belly you'd never believe
how much that man could eat.
He was mean, he was fast, there was
no man on earth so fit,
and the townsfolk took one look at him
and they christened him "True Brit"
     True Brit, True Brit,
     There was just one way to save that town
     and Andrew Cornes was it.

Well he started life as a baby,
so we understand
but any fool could see that he would be
a most unusual man.
They marked him out as special
when he first began to speak
for his first word was 'Daddy',
but it was said in the original Greek.

He went along to playgroup
at the tender age of three,
and while other kids spelled CAT
he spelled out ESCHATOLOGY,
and they sent him to a school called Eton,
with many a dook and prince,
and they must have taught him well
'cos he's been eatin ever since
     Ever since, ever since,
     to see him scoffing chocolate cake
     is a sight to make you wince.

He came to the big city
where his teaching brought him fame,
he was a legend in his lunchtime,
he became a household name
and despite his popularity
you could hardly call him vain
but perhaps he thinks those glasses
make him look Michael Caine
     Michael Caine, Michael Caine,
     Not a lot of people know that Andrew
     looks a lot like Michael Caine.

He was a tough taskmaster,
he was hard but he was fair too,
He always expected a man to do
what a man had got to do
and there was many a proud man swaggered
through the Waldegrave Hall door
to find the things that Andrew showed him
there would shake him to the Core
     To the Core, to the Core
     but even when they'd finished
     they would still come back for more!

Well people came to Core Year,
and the people they have gone
and the overhead projector
still goes on and on and on
and Andrew said "As sure as
my name's A C J C
I'll make the thing full-time and call it A S C A T"
     A S, C A T
     It was easier to say than the All Souls College
     of Applied Theology

One day some desperadoes came to town
to do just as they please
and to cause some trouble
with their fundamental heresies,
but Andrew sensed the danger,
he quickly spun around
and he reached for his Basic Method
and he mowed those liberals down
     Mowed them down,
     mowed them down,
     He strung up their theology
     and he rode them out of town

He never had much time for women,
he had no place for a wife,
He said a man in the saddle could do without
that kind of trouble in his life.
When it came to cleaning and ironing and stuff,
well then women were just fine,
and I wouldn't say he was chauvinist,
but then again—well, never mind.

Well many tried and many failed
to make that man their catch
until the day that Kate rode into town
and Andrew met his match.
As long as I'm alive the memory
stays inside my head
of how pigs were flying over London
the day that Andrew Cornes was wed
     Cornes was wed, Cornes was wed
     and it proved the age of miracles
     was certainly not dead

Well the time comes as it comes to all
when they had to make a move,
they had done all that they had to do,
there was nothing left to prove
and he had to find his dream,
he had to find his destiny
and he had to find somewhere they'd give him
more notices than three.

But without some form of transport
he knew they wouldn't get too far,
so he gave one final notice:
could he borrow someone's car?
He looked around his oldest friends
and all of them refused
till a kindly man stepped in the breach,
and his name was Richard Bewes.
     Richard Bewes, Richard Bewes,
     He loaned them an old banger
     that he hardly ever used.

So they headed east and they headed west
to find where they should be,
and he started up a kind of
wandering guru's ministry
and he headed toward the Holy Land
in the footsteps of St Paul but he reached Damascus quite unchanged—
well, you can't win 'em all.

He found a likely prospect,
some kind of church in Greece
but it needed a major building project
at the very least
and he tried baptising people
in the river and the sea
but locusts and wild honey
just weren't his cup of tea
     Cup of tea, cup of tea,
     with scones and jam, said Andrew,
     is more the thing for me!
     (Aaa-ooh) (Corny key change)

But no matter where they went
they never felt that they should stay,
no town they found was big enough
for both of them, OK?
So with empty hands and heavy hearts
they came back to All Souls
and to cap it all they had to give
the Rector back his Rolls
     (Even more corny second key change)

Then finally there came the call
to save the USA and Andrew said, how can we go
so very far away
when we have no form of transport?
But his wife said, Don't despair
we may have no means or money
but we've plenty of hot air
     Hot air, hot air.
     Nine years of Andrew's sermons
     is the fuel to get us there!

Well the people stood in wonder
as they carried out their plan—
is it a bird? Is it a plane?
Who is this Superman?
Then someone said that it's a hoax,
and that's how we all know
Exactly how great hoaxes
from little A Cornes grow—
     A Cornes grow, A Cornes grow
     and if you thought that joke was bad be glad
     its nearly time to go

Now things are quiet in Pittsburgh
since our hero came to town,
they've all picked up their RSVs
and laid their Living Bibles down
and they say, Who was that masked man
and the woman he's got on tow?
Is it Andrew Cornes and Kate
or the Lone Ranger and Tonto?
     (Lone Ranger theme)

Well Andrew Cornes is one of All Souls'
very favourite sons
and many people owe their lives
to the work that he has done,
he was a giant of man,
and you've seen the reasons why,
so as they ride into the sunset
we all gladly say Goodbye
     Goodbye, goodbye,
     and we promise we'll have our homework
     done by the end of next July

Performed in All Souls sometime in 1984, with the refrains sung in C&W girlie backing vocal style by a couple of people one of whom I think was Sue Radford. The song was illustrated by slides, which explains some of the more obscure references such as some kind of church in Greece (Andrew visiting the Acropolis), loaned him an old banger (a picture of All Souls Rector Richard Bewes standing by a Rolls Royce) and hot air (a balloon trip).

Core Year was the main training course at All Souls at the time, and the Basic Method was Andrew's contextual approach to bible study, a parody tribute to which is here at Not The Basic Method.