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Musos Muses Act 1
band members group photo on esplanade

    It might sound like money for nothing, but the life of a professional musician has never been easy. They have to go where the work is, often spending a night or two in one town before travelling on for the next gig. That could mean anything from a short bus journey to an overseas trip. Musos, however, take it in their stride. When they aren't delighting audiences, they seem able to find something amusing to make life more bearable. Here are some anecdotes passed down through the years, a few tit-bits to prove that, no matter how hard-going it got, there was always something, or someone, to smile about.



It was a night like any other. The show was in progress. An artist on stage was entertaining the audience with a performance that required no orchestral accompaniment. So, while they waited for their next cue to start playing, the band in the pit carried on with their crosswords, swapping them around when they'd completed as much as they could of the one they were doing. Third trumpet turned to pass his over to Second and noticed an empty chair at the end of their row. "Where's Tommy, George?" he asked.

George frowned and looked around. He eventually spotted Tommy lying on the floor, his head at a strange angle propped against the radiator. "Down there," he said, "And out for the count, by the looks of it." Then he returned his attention to the crossword.

"He could be dead," said Third, rather concerned.

George thought about that for a moment, then shook his head. "Not Tommy - he's just drunk."

Second trumpet was still perturbed. "What should we do?"

"Only one thing we can do," replied George. "You take mine," he said, passing his music over, then reaching to take the sheets off Tommy's stand, "And I'll play first. We'll worry about Tommy in the interval."

Scene 1: Living In Digs

House Pets

The life of a touring musician is tough, especially when they take the family with them. Arriving in a new town, George and the rest of the band had their own agenda which centred on the venue, rehearsals and the forthcoming performance. In the meantime, his wife, Ivy, had to find somewhere for them to stay and would tromp the streets with a young daughter in tow and a baby son in a pram looking for a boarding house with a vacancy. Considering that the shows the band played for were often running during holiday periods, accommodation was like hens' teeth, so itinerants had to take what they could get.

The odd landlady might feel compassion for a harassed mother foot-sore and wilting on her doorstep, but most knew the power that they had over such unfortunates and weren't backward in wielding it. Their house had rules which they would deliver in a verbal barrage akin to a judge warning of dire consequences, should the defendant be found guilty; and in the event of the recipient being hard of hearing, there was a written version pinned to the wall by the front door, with copies in every room. Just in case a prospective lodger had any misgivings that they might not be well received, the word "Welcome" printed on the tatty coconut matting on the doorstep should have put their fears to rest.

House Pets continued on next page...

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