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Scene 2: So Very Different To Home

Among His Souvenirs

Not every German town had been damaged and there were plenty of buildings still standing, which was just as well because the visiting musicians had to stay somewhere. On one occasion, their billet was an old castle and, I daresay, on their arrival the boys would have marvelled at the imposing structure, imagining this was shaping up to be a memorable stay. It was, but not for the level of comfort that might have been expected in digs so grand. They were allocated a large room at the top and there was little in it to remind them of home. The walls being the hewn stone of centuries past might have withstood the onslaught of invading armies, but they did nothing to keep out the cold – it was freezing!

Under such conditions, sleep was difficult and fitful. Amidst the grumbling, someone had a brainwave, recalling that one of their number had managed to acquire a bottle of spirits. It was just what was needed to warm the cockles. The only problem being that the owner of the bottle was on guard duty, so they couldn’t seek his permission. He was, however, the sort of chap who would never deny his comrades a wee dram in such dire circumstances. And anyway, they’d leave him some for when he got back. The bottle was uncorked and started doing the rounds. Instead of sighs of rapture, the room was filled with gasps, expletives and the sounds of spitting. The nightcap tasted foul.

They told their mate about it when he returned and couldn’t understand why he became so upset. After all, there was at least half a bottle left. Not that it was drinkable because it had obviously gone off. “You don’t see, do you?” he wailed. “It wasn’t just any old booze – it was a bottle of genuine Napoleon Brandy!”

“Well,” replied one of his mates, “If that was all the poor devil had to drink, no wonder he lost the Battle of Waterloo!”

Ticket To Ride

Not only was much of the country in ruins, but Germany’s currency wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. Basic essentials were the new currency and allocations to the troops of certain necessities suddenly became the means to purchase almost anything. George and his two mates discovered this when they had to take a train ride.

Rosemary Squires was singer with The Blue Rockets at the time, and while they were performing some gigs in Hamburg, she’d decided to order a new dress. I don’t know the cost, but I would imagine chocolate and perhaps nylon stockings might have featured somewhere in the price. It was obviously paid for, but by the time it was ready for collection the band had moved to another city. So, Rosemary asked George if he might be able to collect it for her. It was the ideal excuse to get out of the boring routine, especially as it was kind-of “official” business. I can’t recall the distance, or the time the journey took, but I do know that George bought three return tickets for the princely sum of a single bar of soap!

Musos Muses Intermission - more reminiscences of a professional musician

Musos Muses - stage shows and the summer season

Musos Muses - The Final Curtain

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