Pete Brown and the Parrot

The county of Lancashire is well known for its monologues. Although a lot of customs and traditions have gone by the wayside, there are still some singers trying to revive them. Some are doing this by writing material in the old tradition. I learned this monologue from a popular Lancashire group called The Five Penny Piece.


Bill Froggatt

Pete Brown was an animal lover;
He went out of his way to be kind;
But he once had a row with a parrot
That near sent him out of his mind.

On his way to the factory in t’ mornin’
Past a pet shop each day he would walk;
And as he passed t’ window, a parrot
These words of alarm it would squawk:

“I know abaht thee!” – most offensive;
It gave poor old Pete quite a turn,
And he wondered how t’ parrot had managed
His innermost secrets to learn.

Well this, it went on for a fortnight,
Till the whole thing was getting absurd;
So at last he went into the pet shop
And said “How much do you want for yon bird?”

“It’s nobbut for sale,” said the pet man,
“That parrot is private, it’s mine.”
“I’ll gi’ thee ten pound,” Pete persisted
“Nowt doin’, ‘twill never be thine!”

So he left feeling rather downhearted,
And then, on the very next day
“I know abaht thee!” shrieked the parrot,
As the pet shop he passed on his way.

So, back to the shop and the pet man:
Pete offered him one hundred quid!
“It’s nobbut for sale,” said t’owd fellow,
“Not even if a thousand you bid!”

“But seeing you’ve been so persistent
And for t’ trouble to which you have been,
T’ parrot laid a big egg this morning
You can have it for three pounds fifteen.”

Pete took the egg home and he warmed it;
Each day for a crack he would watch;
And soon all his care was rewarded
As the offspring o’ t’ parrot did hatch.

While passing the pet shop next morning
He braced himself, ready for t’ cry;
“I know abaht thee!” said the parrot,
And fixed him with its evil eye.

Pete stopped, and turned round to the parrot,
He gave it a withering look;
“I know abaht thee, too!” he answered,
“Tha’s ‘ad it away wi’ a duck!”


One Response to Pete Brown and the Parrot

  1. Iain Strachan says:

    My life-long friend and best man Alan taught me this monologue when we were at university together. I have been remembering him recently as very sadly he died a couple of weeks ago. He used to exaggerate the Lancashire dialect far more than in this version, eg:

    Well t’same thing went on for a fortnit (sic)
    Till th’ole thing were gerrin absurd
    So ‘e went into t’shop up to t’petman
    Said “Ow much dost tha want for yon bird?”

    He also said that the parrot and the pet-man talked in a Yorkshire accent whereas the rest was Lancashire!

    I can still hear Alan’s voice as he recited it! A regular drinking buddy who came down my way every 4-6 weeks to do consultancy work, till the pandemic put a stop to that. He was also a brilliant mathematician, and an Associate Professor at Leeds Uni.

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