A Transport of Delight – Flanders & Swann

Music has always played a big part in my life but one song in particular may well have helped form my budding interest in buses as a child.

Quite often my Dad would play me a record on the old radiogram. Remember those? Ours was a piece of furniture in its own right, standing in the corner of the front room on its own set of legs. It was a technological breakthrough when it was new in the late 1950s, combining a valve radio with four wavebands at the top, with a built-in record player below, complete with autochanger. This was an ingenious device which allowed you to load up to three vinyl discs at once. The clever mechanism would select the first record, measuring the diameter first and dropping it down to the already spinning deck before the needle plopped down in just the right spot for the size of the record. Anyway, I digress.

The record in question, an EP (Extended Play) spinning at 45rpm, contained four tracks from a live performance by Flanders and Swann. Recorded in 1957 (a very good year, incidentally), my favourite was A Transport of Delight.

I have a CD in my collection, remastered from a recording made 2 years later, where Michael Flanders introduces the song to the live audience with his customary patter. Part of it goes like this:

“Did you see that bus parked outside the theatre as you came in? It had ‘Private’ on the front. Looked very lonely, it did. I can remember when it was a General!”

Of course, that joke will only be appreciated by those who are old enough to recall the predecessor of London Transport!

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