Thursday, 21 August 2008

Bar Talk 3

In the late 1960's the shipowners conceived of the daft idea of putting bars aboard ships. The idea was to stop secret "cabin drinking", which was considered to be responsible for alcoholism among ship's crews.
Of course it didn't work and just caused a lot of trouble for all concerned.

I remember one occasion when I was a very junior officer, that the Captain came to the bridge when I was on watch. He was cowardly sort of bloke who was always sloping the shoulders and dumping tough jobs on other people, so I wasn't surprised when he said;
"There's too much noise from the crew's bar. Go down and tell the buggers to close it right now".
Imagine that, telling a crowd of hairy-assed sailors to stop drinking!

Anyway, I went down and found riotous proceedings taking place. An old sailor called H.P Mason was staggering between the tables singing tunelessly at the top of his voice. He was clutching an empty beer can stuck on the end of a broomstick for a mike. Others were regarding him sourly and hurling abuse.
Meekly I suggested to the Bosun that the Captain wanted him to close the bar. He told me to f... off, but he said it very politely.
I had just returned to the bridge and told the Captain that they were "closing soon" when a tremendous uproar broke out, with cries and howls and sounds of splintering furniture. I scuttled back down and found a huge free-for-all taking place. H.P was somewhere at the bottom of the pile and the Bosun was sitting calmly watching the melee.
"What's going on" I asked.
The Bosun sighed.
"It's H.P's fault. As usual, he was hogging the mike".

No comments: