excerpt from 'A backward glance on Merseyside' pp. 29-30 (258 words)

excerpt from 'A backward glance on Merseyside' pp. 29-30 (258 words)

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A backward glance on Merseyside

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[The listening experience is part of Agnes Cowper’s recalling the activities and pleasures of her youth compared to those of ‘the child of today’ (p. 28) ]


There was also the German band which exercised its musical talent in various thoroughfares of the south end and always in proximity to those shops engaged in the succulent industry of pork-butchering, a business which was then almost monopolised by immigrant Germans among whom the names of Kerner, Yaag and Muller were prominent. This band always included in its recital certain well-known German folk and hymn tunes such as Lorlei, and ‘Ein’ feste Burg.’ It also included, indeed it was the bandsman’s piece de resistance, a plaintively lugubrious semi-hymn, semi-ballad known by the title ‘Is there room for Mary there?’


For some reason, or lack of it, this band was traditionally the butt of any prank, practical joke, or form of annoyance which local boys could think up, from sucking lemons in front of the brass-instrumentalists to accompanying the bands, in their better-known numbers, on penny tin whistles pitched in a key quite different from that in which the band were playing. These antics frequently caused a temporary diminution of the playing strength of the band, as it would become necessary for one or two hefty Germans to detach themselves from it to give chase to the boys who, thanks to having a previously planned retreat and a complete knowledge of the geography of back entries, had no difficulty in evading capture. 

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excerpt from 'A backward glance on Merseyside' pp. 29-30 (258 words)


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