Convoy G.B.
Laurie Lingo and the Dipsticks

“Convoy G.B.” was recorded by Laurie Lingo and the Dipsticks, who were actually BBC Radio 1 DJs Dave Lee Travis and Paul Burnett. The song was released in early 1976, and reportedly reached number 4 on the British pop chart. The lyrics were transcribed by Bill Longley, who also explains the Brit terms at the end of the page.

“Convoy G.B.” can be found Chart Toppers, Volume 88, available at the iTunes Store.

OK, let me get the characters straight first:

OK, now you’re thoroughly confused, here’s the words as I heard them:

Scammell Pioneer [SS]
It was a foggy day
On the sixth of May
In a Scammell hauling bricks;
It was just crackin’ dawn
And I started to yawn
’Cause I couldn’t find any nice chicks.
I tried Newport Pagnell, Toddington,
And even Watford Gap.
But after so many eggs, chips, sausage and beans
What I really needed was a nap.
It’s a lonely life truck-driving:
But it’s better than a bike.
’Cause when you’re up in the cab
You’re the king of the road
And it’s dead romantic, like?
Then I remembered me two-way radio,
So I started feelin’ better:
And I thought “I’ll start a convoy:
You know, just like that American feller!”

Thus began the saga
Of the M1 motorway
The biggest blooming convoy
Outside the USA
Why not join our line-up?
It’s completely free.
All you need is transport
And a current MOT…

[SS] “Hello this is Super Scouse calling: anyone out there come on.”
[PC] “Er, hello, hello, this is Plastic Chicken, go on.”
[SS] “That’s come on. What’s your load, Plastic Chicken?”
[PC] “Well, it would have been quick-drying cement, but the rain got in… do you know anybody that wants to buy a three-ton brick?”
[SS] “Aargh!”

So there we were, the two of us,
At the start of something big
There was Plastic Chicken with his brick on wheels
And me in my big rig.
With every junction that we passed
Others would tag on
There was even a London Transport bus
[WIA] “Hey, that’s a nice wagon!”

It certainly was an impressive site
To see us on the road
There was vehicles of every shape and size
We certainly had grown!
Suddenly there was this commotion
There was a circus, and a fair
There was an animal acrobatic act:
[PC] “Oh look, a bear in the air!”

You’re listening to the saga
Of the M1 motorway
The biggest blooming convoy
Outside the USA.
We’re halfway through our story
But please don’t go away
Here comes Spaghetti Junction
[PC] “We could be here all day!”
[Choir] Convoy…

[PC] “Hello, Plastic Chicken to Super Scouse, get off, er I mean come in, er, do I have to say this every time?”
[SS] “Yeah! Have you seen any fuzz-boxes? That’s slang for police cars.”
[PC] “Jackanory, Super Scouse: that’s slang for ’no’.”
[SS] “That’s negatory, you berk.”
[PC] “Oh…”
[PCV] “Say, is this a private convoy, or can anyone join in?”
[AT] “Watch your wheels, our kid.”
[PCV] “Would you believe it, a camper? <giggle>”

Spaghetti Junction was comin’ up
So we were bound to lose a few
And sure enough, the fork lift truck
Disappeared heading off towards Crewe.
The combine harvester shred a wheel
And the driver lost control
And a mobile DJ crashed his van
[Blues] “So he ain’t gonna play no soul, 10-4”

And so we end our story
Of the M1 motorway
Of the biggest blooming convoy
Outside the USA
This record is good value
As you can plainly see
It’s labelled as a tax disc
So it’s a felony…

[Choir repeats “Convoy…” behind the remaining dialogue.]
[PC] “Plastic Chicken to Super Scouse: there’s a big black limo coming up behind me…”
[SS] “Well, what about it?”
[PC] “Well it’s got a flag on the front and a funny number plate - HRH1.”
[SS] “Oh, mercy sakes, good buddy, better give her the front door and wave her on, like.”
[PC] “Will do, Super Scouse, I’ve waved her on: ooh look, she’s waving back.”
[SS] “Plastic chicken, er, do you want to stick it in behind that suicide jockey?”
[PC] “What’s a suicide jockey?”
[SS, as JS] “As it happens owzabout ooohiiieeoooh” [Explosion]
[SS] “Er, Plastic Chicken, don’t you think you better change gear for this hill?”
[PC] “Er, What’s wrong with the gear I’ve got on, I mean doesn’t it look right?”
[PC] “Change gear, ram the floor, change the gear, what are you talking about? You don’t want to drive a truck, do yer?”

[Arguing fades away…]

The questions I have been asked already or expect to be asked:

  1. Scammell. Famous type of lorry/truck. Lots of info at Scammell - A Celebration.
  2. MOT. Literally “Ministry of Transport”: in this context, the “MOT certificate” that all vehicles over three(?) years old need to have to prove their road-worthiness.
  3. Newport Pagnell, Toddington, Watford Gap. Famous service stations along the M1 motorway, just north of where I live in fact.
  4. London Transport bus. Famous red double-decker buses run by London Transport, who had a reputation for providing a lot of employment for West Indian immigrants.
  5. Spaghetti Junction. Complex (for the time) meeting of roads in the Birmingham area. [In Chicago, Illinois, the “Spaghetti Bowl” is the junction of the Kennedy, Eisenhower, and Dan Ryan expressways, just west of The Loop. It’s not as bad as it was once; it was redesigned a few years back.]
  6. Jackanory. Famous children’s TV programme where a celebrity would read a story. It has been used as slang — “a jackanory” is a made-up tale, or lie — but it does not mean the same as “negatory”.
  7. Tax disc. Proof of having paid your Vehicle Road Tax here is demonstrated by putting this circular piece of paper on your car windscreen. I think the implication is that you could take the record label and use it as a tax disc and save a bit of money.
  8. HRH 1. Number plate supposedly reserved for Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth the Second. (Not sure of the truth in this.)

Any other questions?