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The Fireman, the bikers and the dilemma (Episode 3)

While on this gig, I have decided to split these blogs into 2 parts, initially my blog was set up and intended to focus on all things professional singer related, but I have realised on this gig that half of what I am blogging could be written by anybody travelling. Therefore from here on forward we will have SingersBitz and Observations. My observations section for this blog is missing as they were not very interesting yesterday.

SingersBitz Night 4 (Friday 26th Sept)

Update on my last blog Episode 2:- Boris the Russian was not kidding when he said he had left a large tip to encourage/request an Abba song, I found one of his $50 notes amongst my tips.

Here is my Friday night update.
I had a slight “what’s the time” mishap tonight. Onboard all staff (including entertainers) clocks are set at Finish time which is 2 hours ahead of UK time. However passenger time (including announcements for when the shows are to start etc) is set according to the last port of call, so sometimes it’s 1 hour ahead of UK time and sometimes it’s 2 hours ahead. To add to this confusion, sometimes my phone automatically updates to local time, but if there is no signal it doesn’t. So although I am not a bassist or drummer I now have timing issues.  In my cabin at 2 minutes to 10 I realised my show was to start in 2 minutes. My cabin is about a 4 minute jog away from my stage and my guitar was with me and I was undressed.

I dressed got out of my cabin onto the outside deck and ran. Thankfully the outside deck was deserted so I arrived at my stage at 5 past 10, my friendly Fin manager (Beka) had not reported me missing, so if the Cruise manager never finds this blog he will never know.

Beka was right about the party starting on a Friday night, the bar was full and a great deal of alcohol had been consumed. It has become apparent that it is obligatory to have at least one drunk nutter attend my gig every evening, it is also obligatory for the ships security officers to remove the nutter ASAP.

Last night’s token physcopath came in the guise of a 5’4” Russian dressed as Johnny Cash, he arrived with some friends sat nicely for about 10 minutes (but I could see he had an itch), the itch needed to be scratched so he came to stand directly in front of me and stare at me, I am not sure if he was attempting to be attentive or menacing? The stare continued for about a minute or so, then he very, very, very badly trid to lip sync what I was singing. I soon found out that my cowboy admirer/competition for attention, was totally bald with a tattooed head. I hear a huge chorus of you asking how did you find that out… well if you wait a minute I’ll tell you. It’s because the toy cowboy attempted several times to put his cowboy hat on my head, this was a thankless task as his head was only slightly bigger than my granddaughters, therefore the tiny hat he was wearing would not stay balanced on my head, it fell to the floor many times, each time the hat fell to the floor the Johnny Putin Cash became more agitated and tried to put it back on my head. After a while I got bored of this game and so I impersonated the movements that Jerry Springer’s guests make when they are stressing a point. The audience were amused but the cowboy wasn’t, security were nowhere to be seen. I was now pleased that a little earlier in the evening I had won a couple of giant Sweedish bikers over, by singing “Born to be wild” and “The Ballad of Easy Rider” they were sitting by the side of the dwarfish Putin cowboy so I was confident that if my ankles were about to be bitten the perpetrator would be swiftly apprehended.

My first set ended, my ankles were not bitten and I retired to the bar. Shortly after my arrival at the bar a commotion erupted in front of the stage, the tiny Russian had removed his shirt and was attempting to kiss and cuddle a very tall pretty blonde, the tall blonde in turn was looking very cross and slapping the coyboy about his bald head (the coyboy hat was once again on the floor), one of the giant bikers brought the conflict to an end by picking up the toy cowboy and passing his jerking body to a security officer. It looked a bit like a scene from a Chucky horror movie. Johnny Putin Cash was taken away and placed in a lockable toy box.

At the end of the gig I was approached by a very well dressed young Russian guy who had earlier arrived with an equally well dressed lady, his female companion had now left and he was sitting with the big bikers, they were all very drunk.

The Russian was obviously beckoning me but I could not understand what he was saying, it sounded like we wanted an ice cream and a Selfridges walking frame so I was intrigued, I accepted the invite to join them at their table. I learned via one of the bikers that that a fantastic plan had been hatched, the young Russian named “R2” (well his name sounded something like that) was going to propose to his girlfriend, and at this proposal I would be singing “Unchained Melody” the bikers had been invited to join the post proposal celebrations (where I would continue to provide musical entertinment).

So the only thing to be decided was how much would it cost to entice me up to his suite on the VIP deck (where this event was to take place).

I explained that the music had stopped in the VIP areas an hour earlier as some VIP’s liked to sleep, and that although he had a VIP suite we would not be allowed to make any noise as the VIP’s in the other cabins would complain and I would be thrown off the boat. In reply R2 explained to me that the all top deck VIP cabins on the port side of the ship had been taken by his girlfriends family as her dad was celebrating becoming a politician. None of the neighbours  would mind being awoken, and they would all be happy and probably join the celebration. I regretted accepting the ice cream/walking frame invite and  was becoming more and more worried, while my new friends were becoming more and more instant that we were going to party. I desperately was looking for a way out. Then I thought I had found one! As this was an impromptu engagement I knew the what the answer would be when I asked, “do you have a ring”, the wind was taken from R2’s sails (and I had found an escape) R2 looked so sad and deflated until hairy Biker “1” offered to give R2 one of his rings, the giant hairy biker had about 46 rings on each of his fingers “oh bollocks I thought.

I told my new friends I had to return to my cabin to leave my bits and pieces there and would meet them in the late bar in 10 minutes, I had no intention of going to the bar.

When I got to my cabin and realised that these guys may be coming back on the return journey so I would have to face them again, and they might not be so friendly if I had previously left them sitting waiting for me in a bar. I would have to go to meet them and face the music (but without playing any). I went to the bar (without my guitar), I was going to explain that I was not allowed to go into passengers cabins (which might even be true) and I would suggest that R2 could propose to his beloved tomorrow with a proper ring, I would gladly (for an appropriate fee) perform for him then. The bikers didn’t like this idea but R2 agreed. I thought that R2 even seemed a little relived. Later I learned R2 used to be a fireman, this changed when he met his love, she did not want him to be a fireman and so her dad had employed him as a manager (in one of his many companies). R2 was not really sure what he was the manager of, he was paid much better than he had been as a fireman but he did not really enjoy being a manager. As the night progressed R2 told me that he was not going to propose to his beloved tomorrow because she wasn’t really his beloved, he was only with her because she wanted him to be with her,  he remained with her because he was very frightened of what her dad might do to him if he disclosed the fact that he wanted to return to being an unattached fireman.
Another interesting end to an evening.

PS The giant bikers were amongst a number of guys here that are over 6’6 tall so I am of the opinion Sweden and Finland seem to have a dis-proportionate number of giants, I am going to start counting how many I see on my travels ( I have a compulsion to count things).

About Tobias. A. Hogg

My daughter, my nephew, Christian Scientist actors and now even my 80 something mum are all doing it and I have decided to have a go. My intention is to record things that intrigue or amuse me and the source of my experiences is probably going to be centred around my chosen profession gigging singer, but who knows what future blogs may bring.

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