Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Bum Note

My father has provided this further vignette from his time on the liner the Duchess of York in the 1920s:

Arthur, my shipmate, had the most pretentious rank of anyone on the ship: Third Class Lounge Steward.
The Third Class Lounge was at the forrard end of the ship on the Poop Deck and was accessed by a companionway.
Arthur and I were chatting at the foot of this companionway when a passenger approached. He was smartly dressed and had long hair.
Arthur said: "We have a top boot dancer here."
He called all the Polish emigrants to Canada 'top boot dancers' and called all the men 'George'.
The passenger slowly mounted the companionway under the watchful eye of Arthur.
Within a few minutes we heard a crescendo coming from the lounge. Arthur's suspicions were confirmed.
"Christ, listen to that!" he said.
He charged up the companionway and almost trapped the pianist's hands as he slammed down the lid of the piano.
"Sorry, George, I can't 'ave that racket in my lounge!" he said.
The pianist stood up, shrugged his shoulders and departed.

We soon heard that he was Mark Hambourg [pictured], the famous pianist, who was travelling First Class but had generously decided to give the Third Class passengers a free concert. He was en route to America and Canada for a concert tour.
Unfortunately, if he hadn't played at Anfield or boxed at the Liverpool Stadium, Arthur would never have heard of him, nor indeed of Bach, Beethoven or Chopin.

[Mark Hambourg was one of the most famous pianists of his generation. He was born in 1879, lived much of his life in England and died in Cambridge in 1960].


At 4:22 AM, Blogger SBB said...

Looks an awful lot like Brendan Fraser!


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