Czech Republic - The Poem

The following poem was written by Elaine Higgins and "describes" the Youth Band's trip to the Czech Republic in 1998.

Before you read this poem, I must stress that even though it was a Youth Band trip, certain members of Manx Concert Brass (referred to as "the boys" in the poem) went on the trip as ... erm... "responsible adults"  to help look after the younger members of the band, help set up concert venues and carry heavy items.

Any references to people alive, dead or otherwise is purely fictional and no offence is intended ... yeah right!!

The Manx Youth Band Trip to Prague

One Saturday in August,
The Youth Band packed their bags,
Boarded the Steam Packet
With banners, stands and flags.

Off to the Czech Republic,
Sandwiches in hand,
All in clean white T-shirts.
By gum! They did look grand!

Ashley with his cornet,
Gareth his trombone,
Markus, a euphonium
And Skins - a mobile phone?

They left the boat at Liverpool
And after lots of fuss
Sorting out the baggage,
Finally filled the bus.

They just caught the ferry at Dover -
The duty-free was ace!
The boys stocked up for the journey
With Fosters by the case.

Then miles and miles of driving
The day turned into night,
And Aaron turned a sickly green
While Toby's face went white.

The front of the coach was awash with sick,
The back awash with beer.
In the heat of the noonday sun, at last,
They reached the Hotel Rhea.

That evening the escapades started
With whisky just 10p a dram,
Small wonder that Clegger went whizzing
Three stops too far on the tram!

Young Chris got savaged by wild dogs
While Jo got a fright in the night,
But by morning they were all rested
And set off to Prague at first light.

They viewed the ancient city
With its spires by the score,
But the highlight of the morning
Were the silly hats galore.

That evening brought a concert
At Podebrady Spa.
The water tasted awful, so -
They crowded out the bar.

And as if they hadn't had enough
Of the sparkling barley brew,
Next day they went to Pilzen
To find how they made it, too.

Copper boilers, oaken vats
Some fascinating slides,
But the boys seemed far more interested
In eyeing up the guide.

Then on to Marianske
Where the Band played loud and long
And Spike found to his chagrin
That the chairs weren't very strong.

Spike leant back, the legs went crack;
His dignity was gone.
The Germans roared with laughter,
But still the Band played on.

And thence to Cheb, a pretty place,
They played there in the square,
But Dave declined to subsidise
The gypsy ladies there.

Macdonalds was the final treat
That rounded off the day,
Especially to Jo's delight,
As they went their homeward way.

Some scallywags went into town,
To play their usual tricks,
Then singing happy birthday
Woke up Tom at half past six.

Prague Castle formed the backdrop
For Ellan Vannin's plaintive trill,
So sweetly complemented
By a loud electric drill.

How smart they looked, this pristine Band,
The girls in clean white blouses,
Shoes all polished, ties all straight,
But Alex - where were your trousers?

A dinner cruise by evening light,
They thought would be romantic;
Fish fingers, goulash, dumplings, chips -
The rush for food was frantic.

They expected a splendid vista,
So it came as rather a shock,
To find that the grand panorama,
Was no more than the wall of the lock!

The sun sank low, the moon appeared,
Romance was in the air,
As Ian and Katka chatted low,
They made a handsome pair.

Neil was hugging Charlotte,
While Steve was chasing Sue
And hidden in her wardrobe
Maxine had - guess who?

Next day to Cesky Crumlov,
A quaint mediaeval town,
Where the fittest ones among them
Climbed the castle to look down

On canoeists by the hundred
In the weir there below -
And the Higgins catching typhus
In the river's torrid flow.

Lunchtime came, a welcome chance
To rest their weary legs.
Young Philip Asbridge ordered
An omelette - with no eggs!

To Trebon then, a little sad
Last concert of the Tour,
The audience was delighted,
They cheered and begged for more

. Oscars were awarded,
For phrasing, skill and tone
And the champion of the evening
Was Dags - with his trombone?

To all good things must come an end,
So souvenirs in hand,
They caught the bus to travel home,
A tired and weary Band.

They had gone as young ambassadors
To represent our Isle,
They did the job with true panache,
In inimitable style;

Packed in as many concerts,
As time and breath allowed,
And it's no exaggeration,
They really did us proud.

There were fun and games and laughter,
But when the Band began to play,
No need to be reminded -