Ep 274: Good for Morale

Ep 274: Good for Morale

Terrifying tank battles and entertaining the troops are two topics for discussion as Al Murray and James Holland delve into the experience of life in the British Amed forces during the Second World War.

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One Response


    Really enjoyed the latest show with the discussions around the various forms of entertainment available for the troops. The funniest piece in the whole Spike Milligan series is when he runs a Regimental concert in the desert. One of the acts is a PTI who provides a gymnastic show for a less than enthusiastic audience – his final piece is a dismount from a vaulting horse at the end of which he springs to attention and bangs out a cracking salute. Amidst the desultory applause a voice yells out ‘you don’t salute without your hat, you cunt’. It sums up the disdain, and with the final two words the attention to military detail soldiers can always apply if they feel so inclined. It makes me laugh every time I read it.

    ENSA, CSE, Smoker – I found it hard to distinguish between each. My own experience in Ulster was of a band, a group of dancing girls, a sort-of -famous comedian, a singer and a compere. Each gig had a mix of the above playing to a hard to convince audience of squaddies and a front row of the Commanding Officer and Company Commanders who regarded attendance as a career move. It was a human shield bolstered by the RSM and RQMS whose thanks was to be humiliated by invariably a professional pick pocket. On very rare occasions there would be a stripper – this was the 80’s after all.

    The compere was a hard-bitten veteran who took no nonsense from his youthful audience. The ultimate anti-heckle I recall was when one camouflaged victim shouted out something horribly unfunny only to be met with the crushing response ‘You were going to be a wank but your mother was wearing suspenders’. He remained unchallenged for the rest of the night.

    Acts were of variable quality. The regimental band had some talented musician of that there was no doubt but presenting 100 soldiers who were out on the streets later that night with a xylophone tour de force was not always well received. 15 minutes of glockenspiel tunes was me by a stony silence broken only by applause from the front row. Ad whoever thought that a soldier playing songs which he did not know on a guitar he could not play was a good idea was certainly in a for a surprise.

    09.00 prove to be a bad time for a show. On the principle that everyone deserved a piece of the fun a plucky folk duo played Rosslea Police station QRF hut. The 8 man response team were literally sprawled across the beaten-up sofas with only one of them awake. Waterfall – the husband and wife duo gamely performed their repertoire. A page three girl was more popular even if the conversation tended to be a little surreal. Asked what she made of Lisnaskea, one replied that she expected more crying babies.

    Its easy to be cynical but here’s the thing. A number of acts got the ‘they’re only doing it for their career’ treatment. I could not care less. If the boys and girls got to meet Becks, Barlow and Daniel Craig who could begrudge them that whatever the motivation.

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