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And The Band Played – Believe It If You Like !

That was one of my mothers favourite sayings.  Whenever she thought I was not telling the whole truth, out came the stock sentence which I knew meant that she knew I was fibbing.  

That’s how I knew I was in trouble when I was supposed to be at college, and when a pal and I were bunking off to sneak to her house and puff our lungs black, way back when smoking was trendy and all the cool girls puffed away.  We’d been dobbed in by her mother who came home early and found us on our second pack of lung bashers.

Mum – “where have you been today?”
Me – “college.”
Mum – “and the band played believe it if you like.”

I didn’t have to say any more, I knew I was caught.

Fast forward 20 years and I have my own kids.

Me “why were you so late coming out of school.”
Son “it was gym today, and we didn’t get changed until after the bell went.”
Me “and the band played………………..”

Arrrrrgh, I’ve turned into my mother

10 thoughts on “And The Band Played – Believe It If You Like !

  1. My nana used to say it to me, I’m sure I heard my mam say it too. We were from Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. I’m editing my manuscript right now, & the young employee in my story has been fibbing to her boss. One, she’s not a boy & two, underage , & has been working down in his coal mine & he’s just found out. The story takes place in 1887-1900 & I’ve read that the expression originated from the band on the Titanic, which still played while it was sinking. Unfortunately the phrase wouldn’t have been known then. Was it possible it came out earlier. 1912 was actually the Edwardian era!, I know it was still classed as around that circa however !

  2. Ah, the age-old phrase “and the band played believe it if you like.” A nostalgic reminder of how parenting wisdom comes full circle, passing down from one generation to the next.

  3. My late mother used to say this. Born in New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland.

    1. Oh wow. Amazing how sayings travelled, even decades ago.

      1. It’s from a Victorian classic, The Diary of a Nobody by the Grossmiths. The character who said it would be a bit of a yuppie today. I don’t know if it was a real saying, but that’s the origin of it.

        My mother (and hers) would say of jokes that they fell out of their cradle laughing at that one.

  4. My Dad used to say that. We are Londoners but he did serve in a Scottish regiment during WWII so maybe he picked it up there.

    We still say it for those blatantly telling lies with a straight face.

    Another, for people that think we should know them for the ‘celebrities’ they are – “oh yes, he used to chew bread for our ducks” Goodness knows what that was about. Any clues anyone?

  5. Yea that one is one of my mums faves too, thought it was a Caithness one.

  6. I always say when the kids ask how much something costs ‘Money and fair words’ they know then its none of their business, my gran used to say that.. But my mumwould say if it looked like rain, its black o’er the cabbage patch …whats all that about

  7. I’ve never heard of that one! I find myself saying things like my parents too though.. FAR too often! hehe 🙂

  8. Oh my god, my mam always says that saying! I thought she was making it up. Really funny…….aye, and the band played believe it if you like.
    xxxx lovely post

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