Friday, 7 December 2007

Bilko in Bergen

The first piece I ever presumed to write was for Mister Pike Bishop.
This piece, I wrote for the Yellow Duck Pond.
Sadly, neither site is current. (Two great sites from great people).
So, apologies to those who know the story - but I want those scribblings to be here, in my place.

Sergeant Bilko was my hero when I was young. He was just so like my father – not in looks, but in character. A sort of Good Soldier Szweik with a betting slip. Always won when he lost and lost when he won. Except for one day.
No, scratch that as well.
'For once everything goes right for Bilko, from hot showers in the morning, to picking all the winners in a horse race, but by the time he realizes it the day is over.'

The rest of the band was flying to Norway.
For lots of reasons (ie cash) we decided to take the boat from Newcastle to Bergen.
A good decision.
We met lots of people on the boat and had a riotous time.
Played with Ricky Wilde in the piano bar. Met a chick who owned a club and chatted with a World Champion martial artist.
Not so bad – music, sex, martial arts plus loads of beer. Fine. In whatever order.
Looks promising.
But, we are in Norway on business. An ever-to-be unknown rock band making an album.
Now to work. It's not good.
Turns out we have been shafted, in typical rock fashion, by the manager and there is not a lot of money about.
The band is about to split and we have to produce our best stuff in order to just survive here.
That is, the producer says if we play well in rehearsal he will pay the whole cost of the recording and 'take it back' through money he already owes our songwriter for previous 'Gold Discs'.
Cool, we might just get through this.
We work, we fight, we play, we work, we fight, we play.
Ok, no matter. There is one bright spot. I have the beer tickets. They were mine. I had a day off.
I wanted some space – and I got it. Starting early.
I went to the TheaterKafeen for a beer. Some time to relax and get the head together. These guys are doing my nut in. Should be ok – my lady friend is the owner - hence the beer tickets.
Some old guys are playing chess in here. The kickboxers are here, too. A couple of guys are playing guitar. Some nice chicks too.
Ok. I am a foreigner and people are obviously curious. They want to speak to me.
My thing is guitar, so I am definitely interested when I see some guys playing. Plus, I am getting into what they are doing. As the day goes on, I get more interested in what they are doing and they get more interested in me being interested.
I have already sparred with the kick-boxers. One of the guys has just won the Gold medal at the World Championships. We talk karate and do a little touch sparring. I get called over by the guitarists for a jam. I get called over by the chess players for a game.
We start to play chess. This guy was the local champion in nineteen-canteen and I must be dead focused. I am.
But, the guitar players know we are playing with a famous Norwegian producer and want to speak about him. The kick boxers know that I am a karate instructor – and they know I don't give two fucks.
We are in the pub after recording. This pub is very nice but has a bit of a reputation. The usual.
Mafia, drugs, violence etc. My kinda place.
I now have a reputation. They think I am a nutter.
A few nights previously all the boys had been there. Hughie and me went for a piss.
As we are in the toilet a few of the local skins are in the queue and they start to talk about us.
Now these guys are very polite – or they would have already hit us. They call us the ficky-ficky guys ( all Brits say fucking this, fucking that) and make jokes about it.
Now they tell us they are going to fight with us. Hughie does a runner and I am left to sort it out.
I say to them ok I will fight with you. But, first can I have a cigarette? Ok they say.
Now I reach into the urinal and pick up a cigarette doup.
I put it to my lips. Can U give me a light?
They all leave. Quickly. One of them points at his head as he leaves and tells me I am a nutter.
I know that already, big man.
So my reputation is good. Or not. I don't speak Norwegian. I can guess, though.
So paradise. I feel like I am the hero in that episode of sergeant Bilko. You know the story.
Bilko has his lucky day – he can predict every winner. I like the concept - everyone has one day that is theirs. They can do no wrong. This is my day. Guitar, chess and karate and even some girls.
Homecoming means 'down to earth' big style.
Typical Glasgow. When I meet my friend Jamie. I tell him of my most wonderful day. I am so happy. Ecstatic, still.
Not in Glasgow, apparently.
He says “You were a lucky bastard, that's all - next time it will be a game of bridge, a piano and a squash racket. Fuck off.” Back to reality. That's Glasgow
What was the final result on My Perfect Day?.
Bilko, eat yer heart out.
I got 3 and a half to 1 half against the Bergen Champion
I got a reasonable 'draw' against the World Champion.
I played a couple of songs for a girl – and got paid in kisses.

PS The band in the picture is Outsider, from Poland, and we are playing at Orle on the Czech border.


lavenderblue said...

still a good tale-however many times it has been told.......

Merkin said...

Needed it here, Lavvy.
And not just because of my usual tendencies.
Time to complete things.
Tie things together.
Sob, sob.

zola a social thing said...

good then and seems even better now.
I do recall making a response to this all those moons back.
So I tread carefully here.

Anymore of those music bits and pieces around that head of yours?

Szwagier said...

Sorry, Merk, I just have to do this. You've mixed up the German and Polish spellings of Ċ vejk. German (and usualy English) is Schweik, and Polish is Szwejk.

The story is still grand, as others have affirmed.

Merkin said...

As you know Lavvy, it's a repeat only because I wanted to bring my stuff into the one place.
For Zola I will shortly be posting a musicky thingy - just waiting for one last bit of info.

Thanx for the thought Swaggo, but there was method in my madness.
I can read in Czech and just prefer my version in English when I am using a standard keyboard.
However, I can see your point and, if it really grates, I will remove the hybrid monstrosity at no cost to the taxpayer.

Nice weekend for all. Hic.

zola a social thing said...

Whatever happened to the sax?

Merkin said...

The Sax had a brief flirtation with me when I was also learning guitar, ukele, violin and banjo!!
The guitar won, eventually.
I still wonder if my groin made the right choice as sax players seem to get better chicks.

lavenderblue said...

How true.
I'm all for sax...........

Merkin said...

Lavender, how could you?

lavenderblue said...

just been listening to the Sally-Army....
oh come all ye Faithful - oh,hang on, wasn't that the Ann Summers ad campaign last year ?

zola a social thing said...

Sounds like the Fright of the" Condoms does it not?
Or was that the fight of the concords?
OK I will go back to bed........

trousers said...

I was thinking about this the other day, and it kept making me laugh. It reminded me (I might have told you this already) of an article I read years ago in which people had escaped potential beatings, muggings and so on by freaking out the perpetrators.

One such example was a man who was confronted by several youths in a subway and was being threatened and pushed around by them. Fearing where this was likely to be heading he threw himself on the floor, hugging the ankles of one of the gang and shouting "PLEASE KILL ME! I WANT TO DIE, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!" or something along those lines. The gang freaked out and ran off.

Risky business mind you, not something you'd advise somebody to do I'm sure :)