Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Every two weeks, the blogosphere comes alive with something called a Blog Off. A Blog Off is an event where bloggers of every stripe weigh in on the same topic on the same day. The topic for this round of the Blog Off is "That song stuck in your head."

"After the ball was over,
Two little girls in blue,
Riding to Monte Carlo
On a bicycle made for two"....

....sang my lovely grandad often.  As he told it, these were lines from different songs put together by a poor seller of sheet music to the tune of "Two Little Girls in Blue";  the enterprising gentleman would sing his improvised lyric in the street and thus sold more music!  I have no idea if this is true and, although three of the lines are well-known, I can't find any song with the line "riding to Monte Carlo" in it so if you know of one, I'd be most grateful to hear about it. The tune has gone around in my head for over 60 years! Even here in Sicily, I sometimes find myself humming it.

Gerald Adams - Two Little Girls in Blue  [original lyrics]

And you know those tunes that you keep humming but you can't place the words? There was one that drove me crazy for ages when I first arrived in Modica and it wasn't until the eve of my sixtieth birthday, when I was looking through some CD compilations of 1960s music, that I realised it was this song:

Bobby Darin - Change

Quite why I had been humming a Bobby Darin song every day in Sicily is beyond me but the forgotten lyrics were very appropriate for me at that time!

Then there are the Sanremo Music Festival songs that get a lot of plays on Italian radio so you would have to be completely tone-deaf to live here and not end up singing along to some of them.  Just ten days after this year's Festival, I cannot write a music post without mentioning this annual event and this winning song from 1959 was the first Italian song I ever learnt:

Domenico Modugno - Piove [Ciao, ciao bambina]

One of the most hummable songs ever to be sung at the Festival is, in my opinion, Arisa's Sincerità which won the Newcomers' section half a century later, in 2009:

Arisa - Sincerità

From the Riviera dei Fiori to Cardiff, Wales, UK, where it was announced at the weekend that Dame Shirley Bassey, who was born in my hometown, is to receive the Freedom of the City.  "Our Shirl" is one of the world's great performers and she has a wide repertoire but it is this song from one of her earliest LPs - that's a long-playing vinyl record or disc, for all you young folk out there - which most often goes around in my head:

Shirley Bassey - I've Never Been in Love Before

Well, another Cardiff girl, the one who is writing this blog, did not "ride to Monte Carlo" but to Modica, Sicily, where, every day at almost every hour, her life is punctuated by the bells of the little Sacro Cuore Church.  Their tune is often in her head, too, and she would have to take a recording of their sound with her if she were to be marooned on the BBC's famous desert island!

Below is the complete list of blogs participating in this week's theme:


Rosaria Williams said...

I loved this post! And no, I do not know any song that starts with Riding to Monte Carlo. However, someone in blogland might.

p.s. how did you end up in Modica?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Rosaria. I'm hoping someone will know, too. Funnily enough, an early blog article of mine about how I ended up here has recently been republished here:


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