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August 1st, 2017, 08:43 PM
From the Bog Carrot journal 15 August 1998:

The Titanic Party

The movie “Titanic” increased public interest in the disaster. Titanic parties were the rage for a while. An agent called us and said there was going to be a highbrow Titanic party in a neighboring town and the host wanted a live band to play Irish music in the steerage section. We said we could handle that and so booked the gig.

John and I pulled in to the entrance drive of a modern mansion located on the outskirts of Twiggy Switch, Ohio at 7:00 PM. We were stopped at the gate by a guy in a black sailor suit. He had a guest list, and by George, he was checkin' it. We gave our names and said we were with the band. He said, “I wondered who all these guys were with no dates.” He punched the button and the gate slowly opened for us.

The lake on the street side of the manse had had its fountain turned off and replaced by a large Styrofoam iceberg. We drove around back (which was actually the front of the house) and unloaded our instruments by the side of an antique car that was so old it's engine cowl was made of leather. The whole length of the house was covered by an eight-foot high mock-up of the Titanic. The portholes had lights in them.

Someone outside told us to go in and we would be shown where we were to play. We walked up the gangplank and a guy in a sailor suit piped us aboard with a bosun's whistle. We walked in unannounced, much to the disgust of the butler. What a maroon! You don't announce an Irish band on its way to steerage. An Irish band should have been so low on the social scale the musicians could wear top hats and walk under a snake. One of the servants escorted us to the cellar (steerage) and gave us chairs near the dining area. Near the center of the dining area was a wide, red oak spiral staircase that led up to the ground floor. The main party was held up there.

The dining area in steerage was small enough that we could play our instruments “barefoot” without the hassle of setting up an electronic sound system. This gave us time to kill and we spent it exploring. The place was arranged like a small museum.

“Mine Host” had been a pilot of a B24 Liberator in WWII. One room of the cellar displayed his war souvenirs: photographs, medals, model planes, etc.

Another room contained paintings, photographs, and movie posters of the Titanic. There were many other nautical museum pieces there: telescopes, sextants, polished brass binnacles. There was even a huge, wooden ship's wheel.

Another room held a collection of stationary steam engines. Some were toys, while others were large enough to do useful work.

The guests wore their black tie togs. The men wore floppy bow ties and claw-hammer coats. The women wore gowns that were about four feet too long. One man dressed as the captain; another was the chaplain.

The guests sat down to dinner at 8:00. The string quartet began to play on the upper deck. We sat and watched while the servants carried in the food and drink. We didn't recognize anything on the plates that went by. They served a big plate with a small, ice-cream scoop sized portion of what looked like cat food with a sprig of parsley sticking in it. It didn't look very filling or appetizing, either one. The portions were tiny, but they served one variation or another on that theme all night. Various kinds of wine were served by the bottle, with servants to fill the glasses. The band got ice cubes in water sauce.

At 8:30 the string quartet quit and we played until 9:00. Then we gave it back to the musicians upstairs. At 9:30 it was our turn again. A half hour later we were finished for the evening. The servants were still carrying in plates of food and opening cases of wine. They offered us a glass of wine, but what the hell, the gig's over, right? We declined and packed up.

We exited through the main floor. The fireplace was framed by ten-foot carved elephant tusks. There were half life size Chinese ivory figurines. There were glass cases full of goo-gaws. You could look at knick knacks in there until your knickers were knackered.

John and I scarpered off down the driveway. Suddenly, John hit the brakes; the electric gate was opening toward us. Slowly. I guess a guy who owns that little lot doesn't need to hurry.

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