The Colonel

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Footsteps, yarns and little fibs


A bit of fun with music and a little task for the reader.


I have a small request: To get the most out of this tale, you need to listen to at least thirty seconds of the Colonel Bogey March, preferably the whistling version from the movie, Bridge Over the River Kwai. It’s necessary to do so because when it comes to language, music and attitudes, what’s in common usage for one generation is often abandoned by the next. And I can tell you, most of my generation are gradually dropping off the perch! So off you go to YouTube, or wherever and I’ll be here when you get back. Think of it as a sort of interactive story!

Enjoy that? Ok, the Colonel Bogey March was composed by Lieutenant F.J.Ricketts in 1914 and was popular with the British and Commonwealth troops, so much so that well before Alec Guinness became Obi-Wan Kenobi, he was Col. Nicholson in Bridge Over the River Kwai.  They whistled the tune, because back in 1957, it wasn’t the done thing to sing about sensitive parts of the male anatomy. But by the early sixties as a bunch of not so coy, budding forest rangers, we sang the words the World War Two troops had attached to the march without any bashfulness whatever. The song was among our extensive repertoire we sang during our long bus trips. Some were patriotic, some downright crude, some popular at the time, most bawdy and some we had heard our fathers sing.

To the tune of: Colonel Bogey.

 

Hitler, he only had one ball.

Goering has two but they are small,

Himmler has something Similar,

But poor old Goebbels has no balls at all!

 

Now if we can roll along just a few more years, to when my young wife joined the local Country Girls Club, which was the female version of Young Farmers Club. Later the clubs amalgamated, which was a sensible thing to do because even when separate, they combined most of their activities. And of course, as with any club, volunteer organisation or sporting body, there is a voracious need to source funds and one of the ways was to put a cabaret.

We started holding cabarets in our local, newly built hall. We worked hard for it, raising funds for the building materials by hay carting and most of us spent a week or three on its construction. The alcohol laws had only just been relaxed. See, the law of the land is there to nurture the population, except the alcohol laws which were there to protect the booze companies and their pubs! So previously at a social events there was no booze allowed in the hall! Instead, it was secreted in cars outside. The local constabulary was part of the community so he wore his blinkers, but care still had to be taken in case the sergeant turned up from town! 

Under the relaxed law, even for fundraising, we weren’t allowed to sell booze, but it was now allowed in the hall on the condition we included the cost of the booze in the price of the cabaret ticket! Here we were trying to raise a few bob for the club, but how on Earth can you calculate how much was going to be consumed over the night? Shrewdies from town could get a whiff of cheap booze and descend on us like a flock of bloody vultures! So much for relaxing the law and being people friendly!

Brave club members were therefore posted at the door, pitch forks at the ready - not really, but you get the picture. Despite these constraints handed down by the buffoons in Wellington, the school committee, the hall committee and the Country Girls/Young Farmers ran successful events attracting people form near and far – by far, I mean fifty kilometres! There evolved a bit of a competition among the organising committees to produce the best show, because after all a cabaret is more than a few tables with booze perched on them and a band playing dance music that few of us could stomp around the floor to!

I wasn’t exactly filled with glee when Mags came home from a committee meeting and told me that she had volunteered my services to be a stripper! I’m no Schwarzenegger! When it came to abs, I was more of a four-pack! And oh no, I couldn’t back out of it, Charlie, Ross, Lloyd and Jimmy were all going to be in it too! It was all planned and all we had to do was turn up on the night! There would be plenty of oil and greasepaint ready and we weren’t even allowed to confer beforehand!

Mags busied herself with preparations for the night, I was busy so took no notice other than giving her the evil-eye whenever I remembered what she’d got me into! On the night, we weren’t allowed any priming ‘because our timing might be out’ so we all turned up backstage sober as Judge bloody Judy!

After we stripped off our shirts, the ladies started painting us! A big eye over each boob, a big nose painted down our sternums and puckered lips around our navels! Around our waists went paper lookalike bow ties and they put huge top-hats over our heads, the brims resting on our shoulders. We had to put out hands on our hips so our arms looked like big ears on a big head! They shoved us towards the stage with instructions to push our belly-lips out and in as if we were whistling in time to a tape playing… you’ve guessed it, The Bridge Over the River Kwai aka Colonel Bogey!

The peepholes in the hat were hardly conducive to seeing, but we kept roughly in line like a bunch of can-can girls! Pushing our stomachs out and in, like a goofy Ronnie Ronalde! And during the third encore, Lloyd lost his hat! Hilarity reigned!


Submitted: November 30, 2017

© Copyright 2021 moa rider. All rights reserved.

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Comments

jaylisbeth

You have stories to tell for a lifetime, Moa! Fantastic!

Thu, November 30th, 2017 7:44pm

Author
Reply

Thank you Jay, I'm pleased you enjoyed it. Yes there are one or two. Usianguke

Fri, December 1st, 2017 11:54am

Vance Currie

Speaking as one who is teetering on the perch but has yet to fall off, I remember the tune very well, and I learned the alternative words that you quoted when I was still at school. I have never tried to whistle it through my belly button though. You sure have some interesting stories to tell.

Thu, November 30th, 2017 8:12pm

Author
Reply

Hey Joe, I'm glad it brought back memories - I wonder if anyone remembers Ronnie Ronalde:) Dig those claws into the perch Joe! Usianguke

Fri, December 1st, 2017 11:56am

hullabaloo22

Ha! Brilliant, Moa!

Fri, December 1st, 2017 9:09pm

Author
Reply

Thank you Mama Hullabaloo, please you had a laugh. Usianguke

Fri, December 1st, 2017 6:47pm

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