There was once a time when a man could say
‘I’m off to the Quintas for the day
And if I’m not back by ten or eleven
You can leave my dinner in the oven.’
But alas those happy days are gone –
Gone with the Hansom and gas-lit streets –
Gone with Edwardian frills and graces –
Gone with the Empire and Liberal seats –
Gone with men who work in their braces,
In fact the oldest inhabitants say
That not since the Company paid its way
has there been a chance for the men to unite
Against the oppressive feminine might,
And never more can we be alone
Since they installed the Quintas telephone.

A committee of wives with the same grouses
Of having to fretfully wait in their houses
Decided that it was time
To have their men at the end of a line;
And thus it was that a mechanical aid
Was forthwith installed to put paid
To their freedom-loving spouses.
Since then all we hear
‘Yes, it’s me speaking dear won’t be very long.’
And home he will slink
leaving his drink.
Another good man gone.

When the telephone rings and there are each of you
Caught in the very deed
Of being there with a glass of beer
When you ought to be ready to feed,
It’s no  use pretending you hadn’t heard
just send a pal to answer the bird;
The stereo answer should come pat
Brought out without a blush
‘I’m here all alone at the telephone
Your husband’s just left in a rush.’

Pidgeon Post and the Pony Express
Were once as modern as jet propulsion
And the Jungle telegraph still works
In an age of nuclear fisson.
From the minuet to rock and roll
Is only a step in time.
But if you can’t have a drink
Without stopping to think
Whether or not it’s a crime
Or if you are one who likes to roam
Just sign on the dotted line
To liquidate, to pulverise, to smash up good and fine
The wires that keep us slaves my boys

Written by Hop-a-long in 1958 –  The Quintas was the club at the St John d’el Rey Mining Company that ex-pat employees would drop in for a drink after work.

August 1994