St Paul’s Cathedral, carols and comedy

St Paul’s Cathedral, carols and comedy

By Antonia Filmer | 19 December, 2015
Benjamin Zephaniah.

Christmas in England is the time when charities join with churches for carol singing services, simultaneously appealing for important funds.  The Cancer Research UK Christmas Concert at St Paul’s Cathedral is the pinnacle of these occasions. Cancer Research UK is the largest donor to cancer research after the US Government. St Pauls seats 2000 people along the nave and under the precious byzantine mosaics under the dome.  The incredible St Paul’s choir and three of UK’s most prestigious singers performed carols from the C15th till the modern day. Bible readings by Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey) and Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England) made the congregation reflect and John Betjeman’s literary prose read by Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey) represented the traditional side of Christmas but lo then came comedy. The actress Cressida Bonas read when “The Queens Came Late” an amusing account of the visit to the manger from the three wives of the Three Kings; this was followed by a spoof letter from Joseph written by Robert Salter and read by the actor Robert Bathurst. Joseph addresses the Corinthians as a travel agency (Corinthians 18-30 Holidays) and complains about the discomfort of the accommodation in the stable and having to share it with unexpected guests (assorted livestock, fanatical shepherds and a proclaiming angel), in the letter Joseph refers to the Three Kings as travel reps with impractical gifts. For this columnist in spite of the skin scintillating voices and music, the show was stolen by the British Jamaican Rastafari Dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah’s poetical conversation with a turkey read by the actor Tom Hollander, which I reproduce here for your enjoyment courtesy of Dr Zephaniah

Talking Turkeys

Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas

Cos' turkeys just wanna hav fun

Turkeys are cool, turkeys are wicked

An every turkey has a Mum.

Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas,

Don't eat it, keep it alive,

It could be yu mate, an not on your plate

Say, Yo! Turkey I'm on your side.

I got lots of friends who are turkeys

An all of dem fear christmas time,

Dey wanna enjoy it, dey say humans destroyed it

An humans are out of dere mind,

Yeah, I got lots of friends who are turkeys

Dey all hav a right to a life,

Not to be caged up an genetically made up

By any farmer an his wife.

Turkeys just wanna play reggae

Turkeys just wanna hip-hop

Can yu imagine a nice young turkey saying,

'I cannot wait for de chop',

Turkeys like getting presents, dey wanna watch christmas TV,

Turkeys hav brains an turkeys feel pain

In many ways like yu an me.

I once knew a turkey called........ Turkey

He said "Benji explain to me please,

Who put de turkey in christmas

An what happens to christmas trees?",

I said "I am not too sure turkey

But it's nothing to do wid Christ Mass

Humans get greedy an waste more dan need be

An business men mek loadsa cash'.

Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas

Invite dem indoors fe sum greens

Let dem eat cake an let dem partake

In a plate of organic grown beans,

Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas

An spare dem de cut of de knife,

Join Turkeys United an dey'll be delighted

An yu will mek new friends 'FOR LIFE'.


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