Flanders and Swann

I first came across the British comedy troupe of Michael Flanders (1922-1975) and Donald Swann (1923-1994) when still a fairly young child, and quickly grew to love the humour of their songs. It’s somewhat akin to Monty Python’s Flying Circus in style, absurdist, erudite, and often very human. Swann was a linguist, and on occasion this would show up in their songs, such as the Greek “Old MacDonald”, “To Kokoraki”, the Russian “In The Desert” and others. Flanders was also unusual at the time because he was one of the few popular entertainers who was essentially wheel-chair bound, having contracted polio as a child.

Their political songs and jests at the expense of the norms of society are certainly worth exploring, for such gems as “The Reluctant Cannibal” and “Sounding Brass”, and their ever-educational introduction to thermodynamics “First and Second Law”, which you can hear above, is one hip way of learning physics.

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