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Post by TightHEAD on Thu 18 Jun 2020, 4:59 pm

Swing low sweet Chariot being sung at games looks set to be banned, BLM are trying to stop it due to its connections to slavery.

This is madness. Just like trying to stop Delilah being sung at Welsh games.

Thoughts?????

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/53096584


Last edited by TightHEAD on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 10:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 18 Jun 2020, 5:08 pm

Get rid of both for me, although I would get rid of Swing Low just because it’s awful anyway.

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Post by lostinwales on Thu 18 Jun 2020, 5:19 pm

I thought the song came into (rugby) fashion because of Martin Offiah in the first place? Or is it older?

So a song celebrating a very talented BAME player gets banned...

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Post by englishborn on Thu 18 Jun 2020, 5:42 pm

So far there is nothing to suggest it is set to be banned. The RFU are reviewing if they should urge people not to sing it or not considering its origin.


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Post by Old Man on Thu 18 Jun 2020, 6:35 pm


political correctness is taken too far.

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Post by RDW on Thu 18 Jun 2020, 11:25 pm

lostinwales wrote:I thought the song came into (rugby) fashion because of Martin Offiah in the first place? Or is it older?

So a song celebrating a very talented BAME player gets banned...

Brian Moore tweeted saying he was singing it long before Offiah was known in rugby - they sang it in rugby clubs because it had rude actions that went with it apparently.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 2:08 am

RDW wrote:
lostinwales wrote:I thought the song came into (rugby) fashion because of Martin Offiah in the first place? Or is it older?

So a song celebrating a very talented BAME player gets banned...

Brian Moore tweeted saying he was singing it long before Offiah was known in rugby - they sang it in rugby clubs because it had rude actions that went with it apparently.

It was definitely a rugby club song originally. The main rude gesture accompanied the line "Coming for to carry me home". Hearing it at Twickenham for the first time was like hearing "Father Abraham", or some other drinking session mainstay. Just a daft bit of fun which should never have become a semi-official anthem. As I recall, quite a few people never liked hearing it sung - Stuart Barnes complained about it back when he was a player - but it seemed to become more entrenched when Twickenham crowds discovered it got up the nose of opposition teams. This was around the same time the Barmy Army appeared in cricket, so there was something in the air.

I have no problem walking away from it. Given its roots as a drinking song, some of the serious renditions used in rugby PR videos always seemed a bit pompous to me.

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Post by RDW on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 2:10 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
RDW wrote:
lostinwales wrote:I thought the song came into (rugby) fashion because of Martin Offiah in the first place? Or is it older?

So a song celebrating a very talented BAME player gets banned...

Brian Moore tweeted saying he was singing it long before Offiah was known in rugby - they sang it in rugby clubs because it had rude actions that went with it apparently.

It was definitely a rugby club song originally. The main rude gesture accompanied the line "Coming for to carry me home". Hearing it at Twickenham for the first time was like hearing "Father Abraham", or some other drinking session mainstay. Just a daft bit of fun which should never have become a semi-official anthem. As I recall, quite a few people never liked hearing it sung - Stuart Barnes complained about it back when he was a player - but it seemed to become more entrenched when Twickenham crowds discovered it got up the nose of opposition teams. This was around the same time the Barmy Army appeared in cricket, so there was something in the air.

I have no problem walking away from it. Given its roots as a drinking song, some of the serious renditions used in rugby PR videos always seemed a bit pompous to me.

I had guessed that's what the rude bit was! Laugh

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Post by Brendan on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 8:04 am

When you want to change the past you always change the present.

I think they should call for the banning of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa from Rugby as each was built off the back of "racism" as the whites forced the game on the non white people.

While I think people need to be called out for being racists getting rid of things that aren't racist today is stupid.  Are we going to ignore studying the Roman Empire as it was built off the back of enslaving people.  Let's just start History Class from 2000 and just say there was no history before the internet.

Are we going to see Exeter coming out saying that they are reviewing the club name due to racial insensitivity.  Also as an Irishman I suppose we should stop using the word savage.

Brittian was one of the first countries to ban slavery.  Why can't Brittan celebrate being apart of that.  Instead its putting effort into signalling wokeness instead of looking at all the countries that continue to have slavery or for life servitude.

Ireland has the same issues with crime being committed by people from less well off area like the US and Brittan.  They are white, their main issue with being disadvantaged comes down to leaving school early (I came from a poor background but my parents made sure I did my best in school). I am sure that has more to do with most of the issues then systematic racism.

If English Rugby had a racist problem I doubt the stars of the team and fan favourites would be Billy and Itoje.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 8:58 am

Exeter were called out on their name. Is it really that bad to review things as time moves on? Poopie song when you only bloody song one line of it over and over again!

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Post by lostinwales on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 10:00 am

Seems to be two separate issues here- the roots of the song itself and its suitability for use by a huge crowd who probably would not be be able to remember more than one line anyway.

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Post by TightHEAD on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 10:02 am

Another point which as far as I'm aware has not been mentioned is that many African kings, tribe chiefs etc rounded up their own people and sold them to the slave traders.

Some perspective is needed and some common sense. Watching comedies from the 70s & 80s shows how far we have come over the last 40 years. (Little Britain was always Poopie)

That should be celebrated, not torn apart.
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Post by Pot Hale on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 10:05 am

lostinwales wrote:I thought the song came into (rugby) fashion because of Martin Offiah in the first place? Or is it older?

So a song celebrating a very talented BAME player gets banned...

We were taught that song in school choir practice in early seventies.
I remember singing it in rugby club in 1978/79 - Offiah wasn't playing until late eighties.
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Post by Gooseberry on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 10:39 am

Should go for something less contentious like the National Anthem ...great for trips up to Scotland

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 11:25 am

I've always wondered why England adopted it as an anthem as A: it was a "slave song" originally and B: It's a rugby club drinking song now

The original song was sung by a fella in Oklahoma as he thought the ground he was working on was like that surrounding the River Jordan where some biblical prophet was taken to heaven in a chariot. It's then though that the song was adopted by black slaves as a song of hope about a chariot coming to take them north and away from the slavery in the Southern States.

In rugby terms, the swinging low of the "sweet chariot" is reference to the drunk boys getting their wangs out in the clubhouse after a game and swinging their meat and two veg about the place. That’s as intellectual as this origin story gets for rugby.

It's right to stop singing it as it's just a childish song that 99% of England fans don’t even realise how it came to be! If you look at it from a point of offence then yes, reducing a song that was an anthem of hope for slaves to that of a song for drunk white boys getting their todgers out, then absolutely the song should be banned.

And anyone who comes on and says it's "Rugby Heritage" or "Tradition" - Nonsense! And if you say Swing Low is rugby tradition but the Haka isn't then you need to take the rose tinted glasses off!

For the interest of balance, Flower of Scotland should also be banned as it's just a dirge and serious chips on shoulder time towards England. Though if you ban that, you need to ban GSTQ.

Now look what you've started........................
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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 11:44 am

RDW wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:
RDW wrote:
lostinwales wrote:I thought the song came into (rugby) fashion because of Martin Offiah in the first place? Or is it older?

So a song celebrating a very talented BAME player gets banned...

Brian Moore tweeted saying he was singing it long before Offiah was known in rugby - they sang it in rugby clubs because it had rude actions that went with it apparently.

It was definitely a rugby club song originally. The main rude gesture accompanied the line "Coming for to carry me home". Hearing it at Twickenham for the first time was like hearing "Father Abraham", or some other drinking session mainstay. Just a daft bit of fun which should never have become a semi-official anthem. As I recall, quite a few people never liked hearing it sung - Stuart Barnes complained about it back when he was a player - but it seemed to become more entrenched when Twickenham crowds discovered it got up the nose of opposition teams. This was around the same time the Barmy Army appeared in cricket, so there was something in the air.

I have no problem walking away from it. Given its roots as a drinking song, some of the serious renditions used in rugby PR videos always seemed a bit pompous to me.

I had guessed that's what the rude bit was! Laugh

We had 3 separate hand gestures for "coming for to" two rude, one not.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 11:48 am

TightHEAD wrote:Swing low sweet Chariot being sung at games looks set to be banned, BLM are trying to stop it due to its connections to slavery.

This is madness. Just like trying to stop Delilah being sung at Welsh games.

Thoughts?????

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/53096584

RFU have merely said they are looking into it. This has, afaik, been an RFU initiative and not driven by anyone connected with BLM. My guess is that from now on matches at Twickengam will have the full song printed in the program with the history of the song. Educating privileged people about things they often choose to ignore is no bad thing.

Now if only we can ban the PM from making racist comments.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 3:50 pm

"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is not a hill anyone should want to die on. It's a rugby drinking song, with slightly rude connotations, which morphed into a chant of encouragement from the terraces.

When symbols and artefacts from our shared history of slavery with America have become more emotionally charged, then we should be ready to look again at what we do, out of respect. I think the RFU was unwise to adopt the branding of the song for official merchandise. If they hadn' t done so, then there'd be no real need to have this conversation. I've seen some leading black players quoted saying the song is certainly troubling but it's hardly the most important sign of racism in the sport.

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Post by Cumbrian on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 4:12 pm

Personally I have no great affinity for that particular song, I'd rather they sang a song that had something to do with England.
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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 6:09 pm

tigertattie wrote:I've always wondered why England adopted it as an anthem as A: it was a "slave song" originally and B: It's a rugby club drinking song now

The original song was sung by a fella in Oklahoma as he thought the ground he was working on was like that surrounding the River Jordan where some biblical prophet was taken to heaven in a chariot. It's then though that the song was adopted by black slaves as a song of hope about a chariot coming to take them north and away from the slavery in the Southern States.

In rugby terms, the swinging low of the "sweet chariot" is reference to the drunk boys getting their wangs out in the clubhouse after a game and swinging their meat and two veg about the place. That’s as intellectual as this origin story gets for rugby.

It's right to stop singing it as it's just a childish song that 99% of England fans don’t even realise how it came to be! If you look at it from a point of offence then yes, reducing a song that was an anthem of hope for slaves to that of a song for drunk white boys getting their todgers out, then absolutely the song should be banned.

And anyone who comes on and says it's "Rugby Heritage" or "Tradition" - Nonsense! And if you say Swing Low is rugby tradition but the Haka isn't then you need to take the rose tinted glasses off!

For the interest of balance, Flower of Scotland should also be banned as it's just a dirge and serious chips on shoulder time towards England. Though if you ban that, you need to ban GSTQ.

Now look what you've started........................

You do realise you've just summed up exactly what is going to happen WHEN this song is banned? When will it end, because the outrage certainly won't stop here.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 20 Jun 2020, 7:20 am

Another crap song but like much of this it's already known its not a good british national anthem.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7126929.stm

But again its good for society to examine its past choices.

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Post by alfie on Sat 20 Jun 2020, 9:16 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Another crap song but like much of this it's already known its not a good british national anthem.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7126929.stm

But again its good for society to examine its past choices.

Ha. Has anyone ever heard the sixth verse actually sung ?

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Post by Soul Requiem on Sat 20 Jun 2020, 5:58 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Another crap song but like much of this it's already known its not a good british national anthem.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7126929.stm

But again its good for society to examine its past choices.

Only if it makes sense to examine its past choices, in the case of Swing low it's a pathetic decision.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 20 Jun 2020, 6:29 pm

Nah. Good on the rfu.

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Post by The Oracle on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 10:00 am

There are calls to ban 'Delilah' being sung now, due to it's reference to murder/domestic abuse.
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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 11:15 am

The Oracle wrote:There are calls to ban 'Delilah' being sung now, due to it's reference to murder/domestic abuse.

That has been raised intermittently for several years.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 11:41 am

You can pick just about any song in the world and you could interpret the lyrics to be someway offensive.

As the wise Joey Tribbiani once said "It's not what you said, it's the way you said it"

Such songs would include
“You cannae shove yer Granny off the bus” – Implies murderous intent towards your other Granny
“I put a spell on you” – Supports dark magic and trying to force people into doing something they may not want to do
“Happy Birthday to You” – Some people don’t like being called “dear”
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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 11:49 am

To be honest I wouldn't miss Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. It's the most irritating rugby song other than dreary Flower of Scotland (and this is from a Scotland fan!).

Just sing Jerusalem or something like that, much better and more rousing (and possibly less offensive, I have no idea what is and isn't offensive now). Use it as an opportunity to review God Save the Queen as well, more dull dirge where there are much better songs. The Billy Connolly idea of using The Archers theme springs to mind, at least there aren't any lyrics and it sounds suitably twee.

Why can't we have anthems more like the Italian one...


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Post by Pete330v2 on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 11:50 am

The perpetually offended won't stop with 'Swing Low', they'll keep going until we're in an Orwellian dystopia where every utterance will either have to come with a health warning or end up in legal action.
The BLM movement has been hijacked to an extent as it is which does not do it any favours but hopefully won't damage it enough to have it swept under the carpet again. The time is right for change, of that there is no doubt but to focus on rugby drinking songs and statues is taking that need for change on the wrong course IMO. If 'Swing Low' is banned what will come next ? If we're to aim at the minutiae of the subject then surely the main aims will be forgotten or distorted.
I remember singing 'Swing Low' with the school rugby squad ,without drink obviously Wink
I also remember thinking that the English had hijacked our 'lads anthem'. Of course it was simply the fact that the rugby schools followed the sound track of the clubs with their drinking songs and the actions that came with them. The fact is that the spirit behind it all was just fun, never, ever did I assume we were being racist, the thought never actually entered my head. I'm quite sure English fans don't sing it with any racist intent, once again, the spirit behind it should be what counts.

All that being said, if it does offend people in sufficient numbers then it should be discouraged. If the only offence is to the very marginal few then carry on regardless. That very marginal few would find offence in anything. Let me give you a closing example of such offence. As a way of showing our appreciation of those who've worked through the current pandemic, Mrs Pete330 and I offered a day in our café where everything was for free. We advertised this with a list of professions as a short example simply to highlight it wasn't only for the NHS. Who'd have known this would cause offence? 'What about undertakers' one woman exclaimed, a woman from the far side of the country. 'What about other government workers' said another. My point is, there will always be someone that gets offended but if the spirit behind your actions is on of fun or decency and the offence is marginal then it's time to ignore the hashtag twitterati.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 1:34 pm

Mrs Pete's cafe and the folk moaning about secions being "left out" were not offended. They were jsut keyboard warriors lokoing to pick a fight!

This is where the banning of Swing Low sits on the knife edge. If there are truely people offended by the song then it would be banned. People wanting Delilah banned for promoting domestic violence are more thank likely anti welsh folk jsut trying to stir up trouble.

You need to balance peoples right not to be forced into witnessing something they find offensive and peoples right to free speech. It's like calling for a comedian to be banned from performing because you dont agree with them taking the micky out of something. If the comedian offends you, dont go to see that comedian!!!

Needless to say, this is all social media's fault! lets get the internet back to being what it was meant to be used for! Posting pictures of grumpy cats and showing folk what you are having for your tea!
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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 1:40 pm

It hasn't even been banned as yet. Just a review. I like Johnsons thoughts on it:
'Before we start complaining about Swing Low, Sweet Chariot I'd like to know what the rest of the words are."
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: Boris Johnson says song should not be banned - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/53096584

Not that I'm suggesting people sometimes wade in but he hasn't a clue what the issue is and blindly defends it. There will be people who just say so what it doesnt bother me and continue but at least understand the point. The guys an idiot.

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Post by Irish Londoner on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 1:48 pm

As long as the rest of the six nations can still sing "You can stick your ***ing chariots up your A***!"

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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 1:56 pm

Irish Londoner wrote:As long as the rest of the six nations can still sing "You can stick your ***ing chariots up your A***!"

I think that's probably far more offensive in the context of the songs origins! Shocked censored

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 3:37 pm

Good old Beeb eh. Jumping on a theory and running with it. They are saying its a homage to Martin Offiah. Sigh.........

Even though it's not - but don’t let that get in the way of reporting it as "the origins" of the link to rugby.

Then you have the racist grandmaster Johnson saying the song is fine and should not be banned, even though he doesn’t know what words are in there? For all he knows there could be a line in there about killing all cricket fans, but because he doesn’t know they are in there, its ok, move along, nothing to see here! He's also one of the most likely perpetrators of the real story behind the song and he's right at the top of the list of candidates to have been likely to swing his chariot low in the club with the other boys after a "thorough rogering of those ninnies from Windsor house" in the in inter school rugby game!
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Post by Pete330v2 on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 4:13 pm

You're allowed to have an opinion on any subject, it's everyone's right in our reasonably free society but you're only allowed to have opinions that follow the herd or the wider held views. Any other opinions are either racist, xenophobic, homophobic......etc, etc, etc or you just get called an idiot. The left in it's current form is closer to totalitarianism than they'd ever wish to be and are feeding the needs of the far right more than ever. I truly believe this current situation has the propensity to go awry very quickly. The Antifa movement is edging nearer to everything they purport to despise. It's not going to end well I feel.

At least it's a distraction from Covid19.

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Post by 123456789. on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 5:07 pm

I'm not convinced this is anything other than an exercise in virtue signalling by the RFU. The origins of the song is rather irrelevant now. If England turn up to their next game and 60,000 drunk rugby fans start up a rendition of 'Swing Low', will they be marched out one by one and told not to return? Of course not. If a voice comes over the tannoy asking that everyone in the stadium stops singing, the almost inevitable reaction of rugby supporters will be to sing it louder. The RFU know that, I suspect they will release a statement saying that they are satisfied that the song is not offensive in this context but that they advise all supporters to educate themselves further etc. etc.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 5:11 pm

Only if you're spouting racist homophobic comments pete. The anti fascist movement is great started years ago by the way.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Tue 23 Jun 2020, 5:09 pm

I'm old enough to have been an adult when I first heard "Swing Low" sung in the stands at an international. That gives me a particular perspective on the song, and I know from what other members have said, that I'm not the oldest member here.

I just heard Maggie Alphonsi say how she grew up, belting out the song at rugby occasions, and only belatedly learned its musical roots. Now she doesn't fancy singing it.

Perhaps I'm lucky. I never grew up thinking "Swing Low" was any part of my England rugby identity. It's just something that happened out of nowhere, like a Barmy Army chant, so it's easy for me to leave it behind.

I've sung a lot of songs, and used a lot of words, which no-one needs to tell me I shouldn't do now. I might feel that way about other words and songs in the future, and it won't be a conclusion reached in isolation; it will be because someone, or some personal experience, has made me reconsider.

To anyone who says "where will it end?" then the only answer is "somewhere".  

Here's a story for you. When my mother's family had a dog, they named it after the colour of the brand of boot polish it most resembled. That happened to be the "N" word. Follow the links in this wiki entry to confirm it existed. This would have been around the end of WWII.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Brown

A few years ago, I bought my mum a Nintendo DS, with Nintendogs software. You raised the dog by shouting its name at the screen. I had to explain to my mum why she shouldn't use her old pet's name with the game.

Now, I don't know how many words shouldn't be used in polite company but I'm certain that is one of them, and the attitude of "where does it end?" is no help in making decisions about what is appropriate, if it can't actually exclude anything at all.

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Post by TJ on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 5:52 am

The origins of the song are totally relevant. Its a lament by slaves hoping for salvation

Its completely inappropriate for a rugby song and none of you know anything but the chorus anyway

Its not even a long standing tradition.

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Post by TJ on Wed 01 Jul 2020, 5:39 am

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/jun/30/swing-low-sweet-chariot-makes-me-feel-uncomfortable-englands-maro-itoje

Itoje told the BBC’s Today programme: “The context in which it was originally sung was with African American individuals to try and give them strength, give them hope. What makes me uncomfortable was its introduction with it being sung for Martin Offiah, it being sung for Chris Oti, who are obviously two black players that played the game at Twickenham. It is a great opportunity to educate people about the context of that song.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 01 Jul 2020, 11:33 am

TJ wrote:The origins of the song are totally relevant.  Its a lament by slaves hoping for salvation

Its completely inappropriate for a rugby song and none of you know anything but the chorus anyway

Its not even a long standing tradition.

I knew the first verse, but not the second.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 01 Jul 2020, 11:34 am

TJ wrote:https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/jun/30/swing-low-sweet-chariot-makes-me-feel-uncomfortable-englands-maro-itoje

Itoje told the BBC’s Today programme: “The context in which it was originally sung was with African American individuals to try and give them strength, give them hope. What makes me uncomfortable was its introduction with it being sung for Martin Offiah, it being sung for Chris Oti, who are obviously two black players that played the game at Twickenham. It is a great opportunity to educate people about the context of that song.

Your last sentence is why I still firmly believe that the song will not be banned (hard to do) but the full lyrics and the song's story will be printed in every Twickenham program.

I have always assumed they sang it for Offiah because his nickname was "Chariots".

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Post by Pie on Fri 31 Jul 2020, 4:52 pm

Ban everything ever done by anyone as it is sure to offend someone. Simples

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Post by Exiledinborders on Sat 01 Aug 2020, 7:04 pm

Pie wrote:Ban everything ever done by anyone as it is sure to offend someone. Simples
You should write opinion pieces for the Guardian.

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