Of Rhumba and Ratbags: The News from Altona West

Updated: Sep 29, 2021

What really happened at the Strangled Ferret, and nothing from the Jam Session...

I wasn’t really listening to Madge the other day. She was bemoaning the distinct lack of naval folk in the littered streets of Altona West. Madge fondly remembers her heady nights of performance at The Strangled Ferret, now sadly a blackened ruin, when matelots of all persuasions would stumble innocently into the smoke filled room, only to be tripped and set upon by the more voracious members of the Altona West Country Womens Association. All gone, it seems. Madge had a falling out with the President (they fell out of the Strangled Ferret due to a surfeit of Red Ned), and even Hortense hasn’t seen a member in years.

It was at The Strangled Ferret that the two postmen called Eric made their mark, by resolutely mangling the Bessie Smith classic I’ve Got What it Takes, But It Breaks My Heart To Give It Away, a sentiment with which Hortense rarely agreed, as in her heyday, she would give anything away, and often did. This early blues classic could have been a major commercial success for the two postmen called Eric, had Hortense not burned down the stage in the later hours of the evening. She did this, you may recall, in a desperate attempt to rekindle her passion for an eager young fireman.The fire crew doused the flames with commendable speed, although turning the hose on an over-excited Hortense was uncalled for, and their calls for an extra pump unit led to an unfortunate misunderstanding with Madge..

But I digress. There is no news from Altona West. Or from the jam session, which, avid readers of this rubbish (you both know who you are) will now have deduced, I did not attend. Apparently it went well. TW

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