Thursday, January 15, 2009

Monday 1st November 1943

38 furlongs.

And pay-day. I am still on the SI list, but I do not feel very seriously ill.
Nobby Brown is a second Bob Dewhurst, in many ways. I realised this yesterday, when we went to a pianoforte recital in the canteen. The pianist, a Pole, played Chopin's “Great Sonata” and many shorter pieces – two Chopin valses, a Beethoven minuet, “Fire Dance” by Rimsky-Korsakov and “Turkish March” by Mozart.

There was also an attractive piece I knew very well which was called “Liedland” or “Liebeland” or something. It's difficult to remember what was which, for there was no programme issued and no indication of the titles except a brief announcement before the playing of each piece.

But this is a digression! I intended to say that Nobby enjoyed last night's concert about as much as Bob enjoyed a Brahms pianoforte recital in Cairo once. Both staggered out into the night at the end saying, “That's a lot of rot! Why do people listen to that tripe?” etc.

Staccato conversation pieces between Brown and myself:

“Where you goin' Nobby?” “T'have a wash.” “Alright, wait a minute, I'll come as well.” OK. Get your towel then.”
“What's on Steve?” “Say! Let's go to Church. I've never been, here.” “OK Come on.”
“Supper's up.” “Careless talk – don't let anyone else know 'til I've got my plate.” “Yeah, let's get at the head of the queue.”

These are typical, but we also pace around the compound smoking Player's cigarettes and Issue tobacco respectively, whilst we tell each other of long-ago adventures and half-forgotten love affairs. These stories are usually of the best sort – those in which the narrator shows up in an anything but heroic or noble light:-

“An' they all sat lookin' at me, see? Made me feel awkward. An' each time I took a mouthful of tea it sort of...” “Made you gulp.” “Yeah, that's it. An' the landlady, tryin' to make conversation, says “Have Tate and Lyle's got many lorries on the road then?” I didn't know what to say see? I sort of chocked over the bread and butter and said, “Oh, two or three dozen lorries,we've got” and she laughed...”

I end Sunset in a tranquil, escapist mood, so I'll commence Twilight with poetry which is symbolic of escapism.


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