I’ve decided to try something a bit different – it might work, it might not. I get asked lots of short, brief questions, which I usually hold back until I can shape a full post around them, but I’m going to try throwing them out there in quick, short posts like this.
Lesley Bursnell asks:
My father George Charles used to talk about the monkey run can you add any information
One other one, Robert Hodgkiss asked how to access the blog archives. I’ve added a doodad in the sidebar over there —-> below the ‘Top Posts and Pages’ list, there’s a button labelled ‘Archive’ – click it and pick a month of your choice.
Mom says, that Aunty Mary (b. 1913, Walsall Wood) said that “Going up the Monkey Run” meant promenading “up Brownhills, where you would go to meet boys!” The fast cat!!!!!
Monkey Parade, monkey-parading…A promenade of young men and women in search of sexual partners. (1910?)
…A Sabbatarian town of this kind, which could offer its young folk nothing on a Sunday night but a choice between monkey parading and dubious pubs. (JB Priestley 1934)
Was he referring to Brownhills!?
And one for David’s article on music …a monkey hurdler!
i think the ‘monkey run’ in Brownhills was based on the Parade. Walsall’s ‘monkey run’ was between The Bridge and Townend Bank, via Park Street. Teenage girls in their weekend finery,would saunter, two or more at a time up and down Park Street in the hope of catching the eye of youths who would be doing the same thing. The drill was for the males, after a discussion on the merits of the young ladies. would walk a few yards behind the girls of their choice, making, homourous, clever or complimentary comments, in the hope of obtaining a favourable response from the girls. If this went well, the parties would form a little group and later perhaps, two couples or more couples would emerge. If the girls didn’t fancy the boys, they would soon let them know and the boys would be off to pastures new. This scheme was not wholeheartedly approved of by some parents, but many happy and long-lasting marriages resulted from these casual encounters.
Thanks David, which was the better Brownhills or Walsall?
Ha ! Ha ! Memory obscures a lot, over the years. but at 17, what girl isn’t lovely, in one
way or another !
from an old lady friend,who makes super tea.There was a monkey run in Walsall Wood pre-war.2..she was not allowed to go ! Monkey run in Brownhills along HIgh Street ( from chap born at Pike Helve 90 years ago mentioned the wooden bridge over the canal….also mentioned skimmer pigeon races along Brownhills High Street )..also miners walking along tow-path to the Boat Inn near Muckley Corner on Sundays off work..then there’s GI WW2 dances held locally and the bands that played for them…More to come !)Love the monkey hurdler..! Kick the Can I airkee!
Loving the Archive link with the short summary paragraphs
My mother in law (who is 87) still gets a twinkle in her eye when she talks about the ‘Monkey Run’ in Brownhills. As mentioned it was basically groups of girls and groups of lads walking up and down the High Street having a good look at each other to see who fancied who, have a crafty snog and arrange dates. It seems to have taken place on Sunday afternoons or early evenings after the shops had closed as their doorways were used for assignations.
She was partaking in the early 1940’s but it was still going strong at the end of that decade when my dad was a teenager.
Kick the Can I airkee!
I remember being taught this game by a mate who moved the rules to his advantage….
Was it a local thing? Others give me odd looks when it’s mentioned.
I am sure that very few readers will have heard of the famous “Kick th Can I Airkee” game..yet to be added to the Olympics.. but we live in hope. Can readers please help to explain what the game was, its rules etc
David, ( part-time monkey hurdler… and whittler)
Another quick dip into memory lane. Good to see these old games remembered.
‘Kick th’ can I Airkee’ was a version of ‘hide and seek’ :- At the commencement of the game a tin can was placed on the footpath or in the roadway, according to the volume of traffic. The person who was ‘on’ (this was often decided by some incantation,such as ‘up the pole, down the pole,
monkey chews tobacco….out goes YOU !!, this chosen person would hide his face against the wall, and loudly count, in fives, up to a hundred, while those in the game would hide themselves.
(best played at night under the street lamp). The seeker would then attempt to find the hiders and would call out the name when succesful. This person would then emerge, to stand in the den, near the seeker. After one or two had been captured, the seeker would have to venture farther afield to locate his victims, giving the opportunity for a hider to suddenly dash from his hideout, towards the unprotected can, and with a triumphant shout of “Kick th’ can I Airkee” !! would kick the can as hard as he could, freeing all the captives, and giving them time to re-hide, while the seeker retrieved the
can to its original position. You would sometimes get a spoilsport with unlimited patience, who would never move more than a couple of yards from the can, just waiting for heads to pop up to see what was going on, gleefully naming them,until boredom forced them all out of hiding. This would often signal the end of the game.
Oh yes, I nearly forgot ! When the seeker calls out a name, he taps the can three times. This set me thinking about the origin of these old games, some going back for hundreds of years. Think of
‘Ring a ring a’ roses’ which originates back to the Plague, or ‘ Oranges and Lemons’ which might go back even further. Picture a game before the time of Henry V111, when England was still a Catholic country and deeply religious. The devil collects sinful souls which he imprisons. Along comes a soul (the parish priest) which he fails to imprison. Competing with the devil to save these souls, he rushes out and ‘kicks the can’ away, in which they are imprisoned (Confession!!) thereby freeing the souls of guilt until the time of the next Confession. ‘ Kick th’ can I Airkee’ ???
and ” to kick the bucket”?…another “one for the pot” ?
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