15 March 2009


~ Party Animal ~

ch en chanson

Oh goodness! Look what I've unearthed in the attic. Nostalgie!

A photo taken by Ms Judith Sturrock at her little brother's birthday party in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong.

I was the mothers' delight: whenever I was free, I'd come along and strum to the mites and join in the games and ... oh, I was a darling.

To think, I could have been dahn on t' beach working on my tan or hanging with the chaps swapping unlikely tales of derring-do. But no, I nobly sacrificed my afternoons to entertain the little 'uns. Chortle.

As Judith said in her accompanying letter, " ... and my darling, NO one saw through you."

Well, she did and a right laugh we had after.

Hong Kong in those days included THE most alluring centre-fold colonial daughters ever to grace a young man's wet dreams. And their dads knew it which was why one almost never penetrated the citadel but had to make do with those grim prim LRC/Sheko/Fan Ling/DWB club dances policed by dragons or cringe-making parties where parents lurked and walked round with those penknives with gadgets for prising the sexes apart.

As Judith reminded me, "If you looked at the 'bookings' that our minstrel so generously committed to, there was *always* an elder sister in the mix.

"I mean, I'd *heard* of you with your guitar playing and daddy's sports car and 'advanced' attitude to what constituted a 'date' but we'd never met and Daddy never let me go to the unruly beach parties where types like you prowled around marking the fanciable birds' dance cards."

Judy wrote true: I'd turn up and make myself indispensable arranging chairs and cutlery and drying tears - above all not casting even a glance at the talent.

Come time for unsheathing the guitar, I knew all the Burl Ives songs they'd like and all the ditties they sang at school and would invite them up to strum as I changed the chords.

Same at the end, help tidy and find their coats and bootees etc. At which point, Big Sister would come up and say things like, "Chris, that was absolutely fantastic. You were the hit of the party. They adored you. I don't know what we would have done without you. Best party ever. By the way, I'm Judy."

By the time stern papa got home from a busy day at the office keeping the natives restful, Judy and I would be new best friends and there was no way he could tell me, "Out, bounder! Unhand my daughter - I know your dishonourable intentions", because the Judith mères in the equation would exclaim:

"Darling - you know Chris - Ronnie's son? - he's been absolutely brilliant with the children, got them all singing. I don't know how to thank you enough."

"Has he indeed?" would growl the father. "Good for him."

"Christopher - I'm sure you'd like a drink. Darling, give Chris a drink - your throat must be parched after all that singing - what would you like, beer? scotch? I'm so out of touch with what your crowd drink these days."

The money moment.

"Nothing, actually, thanks very much. I'd better be off - Keith Murray's got a party this evening, bunch of us bringing guitars, bit of a sing-song." Innocent look at Judith: "I expect I'll see you there." (Like no wayy: KM's orgies were on the blackest of black lists and Judith and her dad knew it]

Judith shrugs. Me: "Come along. I can collect you, it's en route .

Mrs Salmon dead on cue: "Oh do, darling - you've been marvelous helping out. It'd be so good for you to be with people your own age after an afternoon coping with that lot. Thank you soo much, Chris. [Gimlet look at hubbie] Richard?"

It's spring time for Hitler: dad can't really say no with me having oiled my way into favour with The Boss. Judith giving her appealing-but-resigned look which NO father of a daughter can resist, dammit.

"Hrrmph ... I suppose so ... what sort of 'do' is this?"

"Richard, he's just told you, a jolly old sing-song, you should have heard him, he's absolutely wonderful. Such a pity he's packed his banjo away or I'd ask for 'Island in the Sun' again."

Dad's eyes boring into me: I know you. I *know* you. My wife's fooled but not me. OK, round one to you but you put one foot wrong ..."

J: "Daddy! Thanks so much, you're the best father in the world."

Mrs Sturrock, rewarding the decision with a scotch and planting a kiss on her husband's forehead with a murmured approving, "Well done."

That photo - it brings it all back.

Posted by Picasa

1 comment :

alex said...

Sir Geoffrey.Gregory Pectorals is alive and well.