[ From the album The Folker.
Songwriting credit to (Keith) Christmas/(Fred) Wedlock. ]
Oh Bristol Buses, we dearly love you,
In your British Racing Green.
Thund’ring through our glorious city,
Seldom heard, and never seen.
And your conductors, they’re all so helpful,
They sling your change
All over the floor.
While the driver
Roars with laughter,
As he traps you in the folding door.
And if you want the bus to Southmead,
And you wonder why it’s late.
It’s ‘coz the crew of the seven twenty,
Are riding shotgun on the ten past eight.
And if you miss the bus you’re after,
Take this simple tip from me.
Get the company’s timetable,
And miss the rest officially.
And now your crews are getting stroppy.
Revolution’s in their eyes.
Because their mates in Wolverhampton,
Have had a fifteen rupees rise.
And as the winter wind howls up the High Street,
For hours I’ve faced the notice on the wall.
It says they’re running every twenty minutes,
And that’s the biggest ruddy joke of all.
The buses in Bristol are indeed green, or at least they were when
Fred and I were growing up there.
Southmead is a suburb of Bristol; there’s a big hospital there.
The reference to Wolverhampton is contemporary: many immigrants
from the Indian sub-continent moved to this city in the Midlands,
especially the East African Asians who were expelled from Uganda
by Idi Amin.
Many of those expelled, despite having been professionals or business
owners in Uganda, could find no work suited to their skills in the UK,
and ended up in working-class employment, such as working on the buses.
See e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expulsion_of_Asians_from_Uganda
There is a possible subtext to the song – the famous Bristol Bus Boycott.
See e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Bus_Boycott for details.
Fred would have been 21 at the time and surely would have remembered