Do bordellos even have pianists any more?

Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, about 1670-1672


Ever had that feeling that you were somehow getting out of touch with modern developments, and that contemporary culture was passing you by?

I’m not  merely talking about the endless plethora of sub-musical boy-bands which manage to fade seamlessly into each other as one after another they disappear back into the dark. There are times when I feel a sense of brotherhood with the High Court judge who legend insists hadn’t heard of the Beatles.
During the course of today I was talking to a young lady who wanted me to fill in a questionnaire. I suppose that could be misconstrued, but actually it was a competition where if I correctly graded four fat bullocks from their photographs, I’d win £200. Anyway as part of this questionnaire she rather shyly asked my age. When I told her, she said how much she wished that she to had been born in the 1950s and had lived to see the 1960s in the flesh rather than just hearing stories about them.

Actually I suppose the ‘60s might have been special somewhere, but frankly even those of us who were in our early teens at the end of them probably heard stories about the interesting bits rather more than we experienced them.

Personally I reckon the 70s had more interesting music, and as a tribute to the 70s I still dress now pretty much as I dressed then. No flairs obviously, no tie, and the hair isn’t as long as it was. Still, after chatting today one regret is that you cannot get the interestingly patterned shirts that we had back then.


I suppose that once you’ve found something worth having, you’re unlikely to abandon it for the next transient craze. Well not if you’ve got any sense. So currently I’m listening to ‘Shine on you crazy diamond’, from 1975  rather than some ‘emo music to cut your wrists by’.

I suppose it’s easy to fall in with sentiment so beautifully expressed as “Change and decay in all around I see,” and drift semi-detached to whatever is this week’s version of ‘modern culture.’

But this evening we had a discussion about comments one can make to telephone cold-callers. Here I mentioned my suggestion to one of them that they might wish to take up the post of honky-tonk pianist in a bordello as it brought with it a chance to work in a better ethical work environment than their current job.

But it was pointed out to me this evening that even this suggestion is based on cultural references that will doubtless mean nothing to somebody working in an Asian call-centre.

Did they put the phone down on me because I’d offended them or because they were simply bemused?

And do bordellos even have pianists any more?

(Note you may not want to answer that question even if you know the answer lest it in some way incriminate you.)


Now that it’s feeling autumnal, it’s the perfect time to sit beside a fire contemplating the mysteries of the infinite. But between ourselves I’d prefer a good book.

Enjoy the quiet life of a middle aged cartographer. Well it was quiet until somebody finds the naked body of a young woman hastily buried in a marsh. The journey to discover her identity and hunt down her killer leads our protagonists across the Land of the Three Seas, through ambush, civil strife and even light opera.





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87 thoughts on “Do bordellos even have pianists any more?

  1. Sue Vincent October 28, 2016 at 8:36 pm Reply

    I was one of those black-clad window dressers who nailed heavily patterned shirts with teardrop collars to stiff boards in shop windows back in the 70s. My memories of the swinging 60s are all second hand…but the 70s were interesting. 😉

    • jwebster2 October 28, 2016 at 9:37 pm Reply

      at least the shirts were colourful back then, even when our lives weren’t

      • Sue Vincent October 28, 2016 at 9:39 pm

        Mine was always colourful 😉

      • jwebster2 October 28, 2016 at 9:42 pm

        mine involved a lot of milking cows at 5:30am, there were colours but green and brown predominated 🙂

      • Sue Vincent October 28, 2016 at 9:50 pm

        😀 That time I was either still on my way home from the night before…or halfway across the country on the way to work 🙂

      • jwebster2 October 28, 2016 at 9:59 pm

        my total lack of interest in celebrating new years eve comes from milking every new years day morning for more than thirty years 🙂

      • Sue Vincent October 28, 2016 at 10:10 pm

        I can understand that… it would put a damper on the celebrations. Though I believe milk is good for the mornings after.

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 6:40 am

        It did have the advantage that I’ve been able to walk out of a lot of dull evenings by explaining cheerfully that I was milking in the morning

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 7:46 am

        I just had the pigeons to feed… not quite the same thing.

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 8:32 am

        but did they come with flat cap and associated whippets, or were they feral flying street rats ? 🙂

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 8:34 am

        Champion racers… and associated lurcher. The birds were worth more than I was 😉

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 8:37 am

        when I was at school a mate of mine had ‘rollers’ or ‘tumblers’ which he’d feed after school and I used to watch him fly them on my way home

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 8:42 am

        My Dad had a couple, but the ‘fancy’ pigeons came later, after he’d stopped racing.It was all about the speed and homing training.

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 8:52 am

        Yes I was led to believe it was a specialist part of the hobby

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 8:54 am

        It is… nice though.

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 8:59 am

        Yes they were lovely birds and it was good to watch

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 11:56 am

        Not bad under a crust with mushrooms either 😉

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm

        spent too much time picking lead shot out of pigeons to really appreciate them

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm

        My mother, unable to wring necks effectively, had a gadget like a guillotine attached to the side of the loft… I went off pigeon after she served Fred. I’m not keen on eating friends.

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 1:22 pm

        the advantage of beef and lamb is that by the time you eat them they’re no longer at all cute 🙂

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 1:56 pm

        I don’t know, I’m rather fond of cows and sheep myself…not just the cute babies. Trouble is, I’m still an omnovore…a lettuce has a life too.

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 2:01 pm

        lettuce is what food eats! Nobody should have to eat lettuce

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 2:04 pm

        Not even in a BLT?

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 9:09 pm

        afraid not, bacon should take pride of place in a bacon buttie, still hot, between two slices of fresh bread, with no butter because the bacon fat will be perfectly adequate. 🙂

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 9:22 pm

        You’re making me hungry now…

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 9:46 pm

        make a nice breakfast 😉

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 9:46 pm

        I’ll be at work long before breakfast 🙂

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 9:47 pm

        ah well have a pre-breakfast breakfast

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 9:49 pm

        That will just be caffeine …

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 9:50 pm

        better have a late supper now then 🙂

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 9:51 pm

        Already did. Treacle sponge and custard.

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 9:53 pm

        probably doesn’t go with bacon butties

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 9:54 pm

        I’ve eaten worse combinations. My fatheer used to work nights and there would be a proper Yorkshire dinner for breakfast.

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 10:02 pm

        well he had a reasonable excuse

      • Sue Vincent October 29, 2016 at 10:03 pm

        So did I… my mother served breakfast 😉

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 7:08 am

        falls into the ‘just obeying orders category’. 🙂

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 7:20 am

        And the ‘more than my hide is worth’ not to category.

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 7:27 am

        too right, anyway it’s tough having to eat a proper roast dinner for breakfast 🙂

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 7:31 am

        with chocolate pudding for afters too!

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 8:24 am

        well it would be rude not to 🙂

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 9:12 am

        I thought so…

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 9:40 am

        a wise and perceptive child

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 9:44 am

        It went downhill from there 😉

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 12:50 pm

        I’d blame lack of a decent breakfast when you left home

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm

        There is probably a great deal of truth in that. Though I usually blame gravity.

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 1:14 pm

        gravity drags everything down in the end 😦

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 1:42 pm

        There is too much gravity in the world… levity is much more fun.

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 1:45 pm

        swap gravity for gravy, that’s what I always say 🙂

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 1:51 pm

        That would make things interesting 😉

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 2:56 pm

        but sticky

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 3:25 pm

        Nothing unusual …

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 3:40 pm

        stick to what you know, that’s my advice

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 3:59 pm

        with gravy, you stick to most things

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 4:42 pm

        whereas with gravity you only stick to heavy things

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 4:46 pm

        It’s a weighty matter

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 4:54 pm

        but not one I want to come over all heavy on

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 5:05 pm

        I prefer a lighter approach myself

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm

        more mousse than custard?

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 5:12 pm

        Mousse sounds good…

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 5:24 pm

        Mousse always sounds good 🙂

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 5:25 pm

        It may… but on a Sunday night in the village, it isn’t on the menu…

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 5:30 pm

        Life can be grim 😦

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 5:32 pm


      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 5:48 pm

        change and decay all around I see……. (I may have used that line)

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 5:57 pm

        You may. But it is nonetheless apt.

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2016 at 6:57 pm

        Then I shall flaunt my prejudices in this matter without shame

      • Sue Vincent October 30, 2016 at 11:04 pm

        Please feel free to flaunt 🙂

      • jwebster2 October 31, 2016 at 7:44 am

        thank’ee kindly ma’am

      • Sue Vincent October 31, 2016 at 7:45 am


  2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt October 28, 2016 at 8:42 pm Reply

    I went away to the States to finish college (in physics) in 1969, so have lived through the appropriate period of teenageness in the 60s, but it was in Mexico, and the connection was more tenuous.

    We heard the Beatles on the radio, and I will confess to being a Paul girl, but there were other fish to fry (I worked for the 1968 Olympics, was a Girl Guide, and then a leader, and started college at the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) until ‘student’ (communist – I’d never seen any of them) riots shuttered the university, so I never had the opportunity to be a rabid fan, and didn’t even know of them – and their ridiculous behavior (how would one girl in a stadium full of girls think she had a chance?). Probably just as well, but I still love a lot of the music.

    • jwebster2 October 28, 2016 at 9:38 pm Reply

      I suspect we might embarrass our descendants if they realised how ordinary we all were

  3. lercioMike Leese October 29, 2016 at 1:42 am Reply

    In 1959 I earned 1/1 per hour. So a 44 hour week earned me the astonishing, to me £2-7-8 or in today’s currency £2.385p
    I remember the 40’s and the 50’s money was always tight.
    In the 60’s up to 1966 credit was easy to get and so were cars.10% deposit would get you a new car, but 1960 saw me with a motorcycle for £50.
    As you may have noticed, motor cycles, having a seat just behind the fuel tank, and the Francis Barnet 150cc. Plover was no different, meaning it was supposed to be ridden much the same as a horse, in a vertical position and it was, usually.
    After seeing me straightening the foot rests on one or two occasions, my father offered to get the blacksmith to fit some stabilisers for me. My father had a rather dry wit, not appreciated by me, but my friends thought it was hilarious.
    1961 and a Royal Enfield Crusader Sports 250cc £210 as I now earned £4-10-0 or £4-50 for those who have never felt the thrill of holding a band new 10 shilling note in your hand.
    Now the advantage of the 250cc engine meant that you overtook more traffic and a £10 pound fine for speeding on the way home from Wilmslow. The officer claimed that he had to drive at speeds exceeding 100mph to catch us. I thought this a bit of artistic licence for the Manchester Evening News, as with 2 people on board the top speed was less than 70mph. We split the fine between us. Two 17 year olds with no beer money for a week. The machine, by now with a Bill Jakeman Racing Fairing (£10 fitted) in bright red. The other advantage of 250cc’s was The periods spent horizontal, sometimes regaining a vertical position, or not.
    Due to parental pressure due to me parking the machine underneath a beige Hillman Minx while still sitting astride it, I was persuaded to buy a car.
    A wet June in 1962 and the proud owner of a 1957 Standard Super 10.
    So this is how I was blamed for the financial troubles of 1966..
    And fond memories of mini skirts and the chrome fuel tank of the Royal Enfield.
    I blame the motor cor for making me respectable enough to be considered by my Father in Law.
    The two following cars an Austin A35 van ( there was no car tax on commercial vehicles so a new one cost £360) can you believe that, there was only 6.25% purchase tax on the wholesale price of goods, which means that a supermarket payed the same tax as a small corner shop VAT was a godsend for big business.
    Then in 1965 I bought a 1961 Riley 1.5 leather upholstery, heater, radio and to top it all a an MGA engine with twin SU carburettors 🙂
    I became a car salesman in June 1966 just in time for the credit restrictions on car sales, cut from 10% deposit and 5 years to pay to for a new car 25% deposit and 27months to pay and on used cars 30% deposit and 2 years to pay. This actually forced down the value of used cars because by this time the price of a car was perceived as the cost of the deposit and how much per month you could afford to pay. Affecting this was the finance companies charging more interest on second hand cars.
    Although this was 50 years ago the same problems keep cropping up which means those at the bottom of the heap are paid less.
    Too much reminiscing can affect your health. After all when your wife asks you what you’re smiling at, who in their right mind is going to say “Twiggy”. 😉

    • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 6:43 am Reply

      your memories go further back than mine, but thanks for sharing, a lot of it brought back memories 🙂

      • lercio October 29, 2016 at 9:04 am

        They may go further back but I know I got up early this morning. “Don’t put the old jeans on” from SWMBO and I will soon no doubt know why.
        Ha yes the doctors.
        I didn’t forget to put my credit cart in my new jeans pocket.
        I want some primer from the new model shop in Ruddlan in case I miss a turning and end up there.
        The daffs that were promised in September have arrived so that’s every thing else buggered for this weekend as paint brushes of the size I have in mind come at the opposite end of the list.

      • jwebster2 October 29, 2016 at 10:07 am

        It’s always the way isn’t it. But nights are drawing in and you should soon get to wield a paintbrush of proper weight 🙂

  4. Cynthia Reyes November 1, 2016 at 12:04 am Reply

    Hmmm… I didn’t know bordellos ever had pianists. Perhaps you should google it — or something.

    • jwebster2 November 1, 2016 at 7:23 am Reply

      There is an expression ” Playing Honky Tonk piano in a bordello”. Normally used by people to suggest the current job isn’t particularly good 🙂

      • Cynthia Reyes November 2, 2016 at 3:43 pm


      • jwebster2 November 2, 2016 at 4:20 pm

        you see, educational as well. Book reading this blog down as time spent in Continuing personal development 😉

  5. mimispeike October 28, 2018 at 12:26 pm Reply

    The sixties! (Well, early seventies.) There was the time I broke into a house bare-breasted (took my shirt off to climb through a window, didn’t want to get it dirty) and scrawled my name and the date in a just opened jar of peanut butter for friends to find at some point. I have a piece, ‘Me and Cee, Cee and Me, Almost True As It Can Be’ in the Writers Coop archives.

  6. M T McGuire October 28, 2018 at 6:16 pm Reply

    Did bordellos ever have pianists?

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