Dennis Wright's Blog

Peter Shilton: O Yangtse. Beautiful river. River full of … boats.

Posted in China, Far East Cruise 2007, Video by Dennis Wright on May 17, 2007

We sailed out of Shanghai at lunchtime on 24 April so we had the opportunity to view a good stretch of the Huangpu through to its confluence with the Yangtse and the East China Sea. It is an extremely busy stretch of waterway.

Yangpu bridge:

There was not a great deal of clearance when the Statendam passed under the bridge.

I first recall hearing of the Yangtse River when I was in my teens, on a Monty Python record, “Monty Python’s Previous Record”. I guess they called it that to generate yet more mirth for fans by confusing record shop staff. “Can I have Monty Python’s Previous Record please?” “Ah, that would be the one they released last year … what was it called …?” “No, it only came out last week”. “Eh???”

Anyway, there was a sketch about English goalkeepers all happening to feel moved to write poetry about the Yangtse, done very much in the style of a BBC football magazine or ITV’s “On the ball” with lots of quotes from football managers. The snippets of poetry are of the standard you might expect from real goalkeepers and would probably not stand comparison with the collected works of Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz.

I tried to find a transcript online. The only one I could locate appears to be the work of a Japanese gentleman so instead of Brian Clough we get “Brian Craft” and other transcription errors.

His (unedited) effort goes like this:

Narrator[Terry Jones]:Yang tse Kiang. The Great Yellow River which from time in memorial has fascinated and tantalized the hearts and minds of men from all corners of the earth. Bob Wilson, Arsenal.
Bob[Graham Chapman]: A Wondrous river. Broad banks are swelling, home to a race of fish.
Narrator: Peter Shilton, Leicester.
Shilton[Eric Idle]:O Yangtse. O Yangtse, Beautiful river. River full of fish.
Narrator: Sprake, Leeds-united.
Sprake[John Cleese]:Yang tse Kiang, river of the eastern dream. Teeming with carp and trout and perch and bream.
Narrator: Why is it that so many of Britain’s top goalies feel moved to by the river yangtse. Brian Craft.
Craft[Eric Idle]: Well, I must remember, David, are the these goalies, especialy Wilson, and on occasion, Gordon West of Everton, are the romantics, the dreamers. The Yangtse is symbol for them, for them it’s a box, David, a temple is far as a spiritual a continuity.
Narrator: Bill Shankly.
Shankly[Michael Palin]: O it’s a river of many moods. To young goaly like a Peter Shilton, Yangtse is a beautiful river. To more seasoned goaly like Phil Parkes of Wolves, Yangtse a river bring me to of dissolution lampishen another it is good.


The sketch ends up with a cracking song, sung to the tune of “Blue is the Colour”:

We love the Yangtse, Yangtse Kiang
Flowing from Yushu down to Ching Kiang
Passing through Chung King, Wuhan and Hoo Kow
Three thousand miles, but it gets there somehow

Oh! Szechuan’s the province and Shanghai is the port
And the Yangtse is the river that we all support!

[Clap! Clap! Clap Clap Clap! Clap Clap Clap Clap:] Yangtse!!

Thanks to Python I ended up confused between the Yangtse and the Yellow River. They are entirely separate rivers.

Having said that, the Yangtse is said to be relatively yellowish in colour, the Huangpu grey and the sea blue. We did see the difference in colour at the confluence.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The pictures below are mostly of boats on the Huangpu.

I had hoped to see some junk boats on the rivers of the East, but this was not exactly what I had in mind.

The riverbank is in China, but the houses could be Berkhampstead.

Close to the confluence.


3 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on February 5, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Great! Bob Wilson, Arsenal.

  2. Dennis Wright said, on October 13, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Some more convincing renderings of the Monty Python transcript:

    “Why is it that so many of Britain’s top goalies feel moved to write about the Yangtze?”

    “It’s a river of disillusioned ambition, and I think that this is good.”

    Found here.

  3. […] Hasta la vista, Vista! Vista is on trial and my XP install disk is within easy reach « Vista’s Morning Sickness Tied up in Knots » Peter Shilton: O Yangtse. Beautiful river. River full of … boats. May 17th, 2007 This post has been moved here. […]

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