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Jollopy Tea. What is It? [in song: Any Complaints]

Owen Woodson 07 Oct 12 - 06:16 AM
GUEST 07 Oct 12 - 07:09 AM
RoyH 07 Oct 12 - 08:53 AM
Owen Woodson 07 Oct 12 - 09:19 AM
gnomad 07 Oct 12 - 10:50 AM
Owen Woodson 07 Oct 12 - 02:38 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Dec 13 - 02:54 PM
GUEST 05 Dec 13 - 03:07 PM
GUEST, topsie 05 Dec 13 - 04:06 PM
Jack Campin 05 Dec 13 - 04:30 PM
GUEST 05 Dec 13 - 04:58 PM
MGM·Lion 06 Dec 13 - 01:55 AM
Gibb Sahib 06 Dec 13 - 02:25 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: ANY COMPLAINTS
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 06:16 AM

In verse three of the song Any Complaints, there is a reference to "Jollopy Tea". Does anybody know what jollopy means?

Many thanks.

ANY COMPLAINTS

When I joined the army a few weeks ago,
I left a good home to come here;
I just couldn't eat any breakfast at all,
My stomach was feeling so queer;
For the sight of those browned ham and eggs on the plate
Filled me with loathing, I fear,
But if I had known then, chum
Just what I know now,
I'd have eaten enough for a year.
Tell me, boys, have you any complaints?

The very next morning they bunged us some fish
And, believe me, boys, that fish was cute,
For that so-and-so fish it stood up in the dish
And it gave us the fascist salute;
Well, the fellas turned pale as they rose from their seats,
Some of them more than half dead,
You can take it from me that the war would have stopped
If they'd given it the Nazis instead.
Tell me, boys, have you any complaints?

Every Monday, for dinner, they give us 'brown stew'
And on Tuesday as well for a treat,
We get stew so often, chum, that we thank God
That there's only seven days in a week.
For the stew is 'browned stew' and there's jollopy tea,
They've all fancy names for the scoff;
It would be far more honest to say that 'browned stew'
Was stew that was bloody browned-off.
Tell me boys, have you any complaints?


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 07:09 AM

I haven't heard the adjective "jollopy" before, but jollop was a term used in northern England in the days before the national health service refering to a bottle of patent medicine bought over the counter. Could be for coughs e.g. liquafruta, could be a laxative (there seemed to be a great belief in the benefits of a good clear-out)
Possibly jollopy tea was stewed so much that it tasted unpleasant like medicine.
Or could it be the belief that the army put bromide in the tea to stop the soldiers sexual drive?


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: RoyH
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 08:53 AM

In my early days in the army I and my fellow recruits were told that our tea would be doctored by adding 'bromide' in order to reduce our sex drive, thus helping us concentrate more fully on learning to be a soldier. This was known as 'jollopy' tea, and I can't tell you whether it was effective or not. We were kept far too busy to think about sex or anything else outside of army matters. It may just have been army folklore perhaps, but that's what it meant. As we progressed into our army careers of course sex reared it's beautiful head quite often due to Mother Nature. Or jollop-free tea! RouH.


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 09:19 AM

Thanks fellas. I've just googled jollop and this is what urban dictionary came up with. "an unspecified crude medicine, esp. laxative"

So, with a bit of poetic licence, jollopy tea was probably what saved the nation from a baby boom during WW11 :-).

Just think of all those miniature combat uniforms the Ministry of Defence would have had to pay for.


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: gnomad
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 10:50 AM

Yeah, I would just about agree with that definition. Jollop would generally mean a medicine intended to either open the bowels, to close them, or to promote expectoration. Chemist's proprietary medicines were frequently coloured & flavoured with liquorice or caramel, hence commonly brown of hue, like over-stewed tea. A strong, preferably nasty, taste was held to show it was 'doing you some good'.

Tales of bromide and saltpetre (sexual urges for the reduction of) being added to forces tea are often told.

The repeated line "Tell me boys, have you any complaints?" is a reference to the orderly officer's regular visits to check that there were none. Spike Milligan recounts the following exchange in his memoir "Adolph Hitler, My Part In His Downfall".

Officer: Any complaints?
Soldier: Yes Sir, it's this.
Officer: What's wrong with 'this'.
Soldier: Nothing wrong but what is it?
Officer calls the head cook.
Officer: This man wants to know what this is.
Cook: That Sir, is a 'Frappé Mystique a la Aldershot!'


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 02:38 PM

I can't imagine that anyone would want an army full of squaddies shitting all over the place. Unless someone had thought up a new secret weapon under which to bury Die Fuhrer of course. So my guess (urban myth alert!) is that the suspected substance would have been thought to be bromide.

Roy H's comment about bromide being used to make better soldiers set the old grey cells working to interesting effect. The Mass Psychology of Fascism, published 1933, and written by one Wilhelm Reich (no I didn't make that one up), argued that the emotionally ecstatic displays which characterised mass identification with Nazism were linked to sexual repression on the part of the lower orders.

The theory has long since been discarded as codswallop and rightly so. But curiously enough, George Orwell uses the same idea in 1984. According to Julia, the woman he has an affair with, all the shouting and raving during the daily hate break is just repressed sex; sex which of course has been repressed by the Party precisely to engender loyalty to the party.


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 02:54 PM

I came here searching for lyrics of ANY COMPLAINTS and I became intrigued with the question about "jollopy tea."

To begin with, I'd like to know where Owen Woodson got those lyrics.

The only source I know of is Ewan MacColl's singing on his album "Bundook Ballads" (1965).

MacColl sings lyrics that are mostly identical to those given above, except for the line that mentions tea. Instead, he sings:

"For the duffs are all brown and the stew is browned stew."

Maybe he didn't know what "jollopy tea" was either and decided to change it?

So I went to Google and typed "jollopy tea" and Google asked me:

Did you mean: "jalopy tea"

That led me to some web sites that mentioned, but didn't define "jalopy tea":

"Wholesaler, trader and contractor of ginger tea sachets, dud tea premix powder, jalopy tea packet and masala tea sachets." [from an Indian web site]

"It could also be mixed with green tea or jalopy tea."

"...if you were to go eating your regular food, to a liquescent only diet of jalopy tea drinks, there is a prohibitive ..." [from a blog]

"Try water with fast food calorie list jalopy tea unsweetened or caffeine free coffee." [from another blog entry giving weight-loss advice]

It's possible that "jalopy" is just another misspelling and that's why there are so few entries


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 03:07 PM

Jim, Google   "Tell me boys, have you any complaints?"    just as is. On the page that opens which lists about 10 sites there is a Google book site that mentions Page 42. The sheet music for 'Any Complaints' is there.


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 04:06 PM

I've only come across 'jalopy' as meaning an old-fashioned car/automobile - probably dating from before WWII - but apart from 'Model T' I can't see a connection.


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 04:30 PM

A variant of "julep"?


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 04:58 PM

Ask the people at Lipton.


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Dec 13 - 01:55 AM

Eric Partridge, in Vol II (Supplement) of his Dictionary of Slang & Unconventional English (1937/1970), states that both the usages he gives of Jollop, "strong liquor, esp whisky", & "a laxative; a purgative", are of Australian origin, and states the laxative one to be a corruption of julep, late C19-20.

This just for info & FWIW, as other lexicographers tend to accuse Partridge of having being the sort of compiler who makes up derivations if not sure. He also liked to find Antipodean origins -- maybe because of having been born in NZ & educated at Univ of Queensland?

Jallopy [his spelling], in the 'decrepit old car' sense, he defines entirely separately: there doesn't seem to be any connection.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Jollopy Tea. What is It?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Dec 13 - 02:25 AM

'Jalap' resin is the cathartic/laxative...if that's what the tea is about.
Supposed to derive from Mexican word 'xalap'. (Mexican xalap would seem to be pronounced something like a Spaniard would say jalap. Presumably, Anglophones reading the word would misassign the sound for 'j'...and then Anglicize the spelling to all sorts of things like "jollop".)


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