Peace and Love


I met with Napper Tandy
And I shook him by the hand
He said "Hold me up for Chrissake
For I can hardly stand"
The most disgraceful journey
On which I've ever been
The last time that I travelled on
The Boat Train

I had a couple of drinks in town
A few more at the port
I puked up on the gangway
But some kind folks helped me board
They helped me to a table
Poured whiskey down my throat
They sat me at a table
And I lost my watch and coat

First we drank some whiskey
Then we drank some gin
Then we drank tequila
I think that's what did me in
Then we drank some brandy
And the women had a dance
The steward then announced
That we could play the game of "chance"

We crowded round the table
With our money in our hands
I ended up on the other side
Without a penny in my pants
I woke up in the toilet
When we got to Holyhead
The doors were all a-banging
And I wished that I was dead

Then we went through customs
A couple of credited thugs
First they looked for [bombs] and joints
Then they looked for drugs
Stuck a flashlight up my ass
Told us where there's jobs
Said "Fuck off" now Paddy
So I headed for [The S]moke
On the Boat Train
Then we went through customs
With a couple of crazy thugs
First they looked for [bombs] and joints
Then they looked for drugs
Stuck a flashlight up my ass
Told some Irish jokes
Said "Fuck off now, Paddy"
So I headed for [The S]moke
On the Boat Train

We got on board the train
And then we had a drink or two
Started playing poker
But the booze ran out at Crewe
Some people started sleeping
Others looked for duty free
Some bastard started singing
"The little cottage by the Lee"
He then sang "Paper Roses"
"Boolavogue" "Eileen Aru"
Somebody started slagging off
The Pakis and the Jews

First I found some whiskey
Then I found some gin
I sat down in the corner
And I read the Daily News
First I drank the whiskey
Then I drank the gin
I tried to make the toilet
And I broke my fuckin shin
Next thing that I knew
I was in London in the rain
Staggering up the platform
Off the Boat Train

copyright 1989 Shane MacGowan

Note: The verse in italics is not printed in the liner notes, but does appear in the song. What you see on the left is a guess at the lyrics by Bill Stanczak. On the right is Michael Rubida's best guess. Michael defends his interpretation with:

I feel that the above makes more sense, given the belligerent nature of Customs officials worldwide. I work with the Customs people at [Mike's Local International Airport], and I've seen lots of shit like this take place. The Customs officers in "Boat Train" are clearly no different, and even throw in an Irish joke or two (yes, I've seen this too).

Yes, customs officials worldwide all have an attitude problem. So what else is new? (Gotta get me a ticket for the Boat Train!)

Adrian Leach contributed the following (his corrections to the verse appear in brackets):
Also as a matter of interest, [...] the words are "Bombs and Joints" [...] and the last line of that verse is "So I headed for the Smoke" [...]. "The Smoke" is what Londoners, with ironic affection, call London.
Thanks go to Adrian, Bill and Michael for making the effort to understand Shane!

Your intrepid maintainer is DzM.