Tommy who?

This week there are sections of the blog that could be considered politically incorrect, rude and/or offensive. I don’t intend it to be any of those things.

If I’d only intended to be offensive, it would have been ok.

Be Welcome Gentle Reader and read on…


No, not the beginning of a portentous epic from your friendly neighbourhood folk progsters; but rather a sound, that, if you are an eight-year-old fifty-something will bring back memories of excitement at a level of intensity that made a return to nappies not only sensible, but necessary.


The sound, of course of a sub-machine gun, uttered on the lips of an eight year old commando, engaged, in the school playground, in the now highly inadvisably named game of ‘Japs[1] and Commandoes’.

I suppose it is no less offensive than playing ‘Cowboys and Indians’, or any such charade that implies a racial or social stereotype.

Which doesn’t help.

In 1965, when I was seven, such things counted for naught. In defense, it seemed to matter little who was a commando and who was a perceived foe – it was more important to leap about and shout ‘Da-la-la-la-la-laaaah!’[2]

What was most important was to leap out from behind a tree (there were two in the playground, which meant that ambushes lacked a certain subtlety) with two fists held at waist height, one before the other, in the manner we fondly imagined a tommy gun to be correctly wielded. Obviously, we were not allowed real guns at playtime, the Teacher had firm views on that, so pretense was the thing.

There was, as in all things, a pecking order. A social ladder up which it was simply not possible to climb. The poorest/smallest boys, those that went on to be social workers or tax officials, made do with fists and air weapons. Those destined for management roles employed sticks, which, if you squinted a bit, might have looked a bit gunnish.

A bit.

However, at the top of the social order, were those whose parents lavished money on their offspring and bought them…

… ‘real’ toy guns.

The fact that these little boys (now all in banking, obviously) had real plastic weapons meant two things.

Firstly they always had to be Japs, and secondly that everyone shot them, even the other Japs. And everyone hated them. That’s three things, but did provide good experience for a life in banking.

A plastic contrivance, coloured in unlikely camouflage, with a spark mechanism which contravened every safety rule known to man, and a sound effect that sounded (to and eight year old hero) exactly like a machine gun, caused jealously in the ranks that meant that by the end of playtime, the gun was in pieces and the owner in tears.

I would have adult sympathy, except for the banking thing.

This long preamble serves to illustrate the fact that it is not always the grandness of the hardware that creates the greatest, or most effective, outcome[3].

We have at FG Towers been working towards our new show for next year. Beat The Drum has done well for us, and Waters of Tyme is picking up. However it is ‘Stories with Strings’ (the naffest title I’ve ever dreamed up), that does the best – and probably the one we enjoy the most too.

So far we’ve done umpty-tump performances and have been very fortunate to be booked back to places for next year.

Which means we need a new show.
A new theme.
A new idea.
No. We don’t.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

We might do ‘Tales and Tunes’ or something equally…

But, we do want to develop the shows. We’re working on the visuals, the control and content of the images and movies – got some really good toys to go with it, and some fine ideas for content.

We’re working on new songs too. And re-working some older ones to fit in with a grand performance.

And we have been exploring new toys.

Really nice tricks and shininess that should lift the show sonically.

But, we (or at least I) must remember that, even though it might be pant-wettingly exciting, and the best toy any kid on the block may have, it might not be the best toy for the game.

Other kids might not like it

So whatever new guns we bring to the party, they will be there on merit, and only there at all if the make the whole show, the big experience sound and look nicer.

See. There was a connection.

And so as the tommy gun of justice lines up on the banker of destiny only to discover that, at the last, Fate has a sense of humour and the ammo runs out, I notice it is the end of this blog.
I hope you enjoyed it.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] For the purposes of this blog, the term ‘Jap’ is used as appoint of reference to a social time long ago. I do not condone the practice of shooting real or imaginary weapons at our Asian chums. Had I called it ‘PPI Cold Callers and Commandoes’ it might have been different.

[2] Much like the real thing.

[3] It is at this point that the blog gets on to music. Just in case you were wondering.


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