Karting & Brothels
Karting? No. I was offered a place in the most favoured team of three in the six hour race at Snetterton but was not able to take it and that was the last time I was tempted. I had had my fun, a few pots and a few twisted and bruised limbs. The father who had taken me in art came up to me at one meet and asked me to try to get his son, a good friend, to stop racing. Mad! Did he not realise that I was doing the same thing. How he ignored my leathers I will never know but his son (Morris by name) was killed the following year.
It is interesting that one always remembers the amusing things. Bruno Ferrari once drove me to the Championships in Hamburg. The other passenger was Stan Owen who built and maintained the 99cc engines. Bruno was, by far, the best driver that I have traveled with as a passenger. He drove very fast but his anticipation was incredible. One always felt that he was always driving within his abilities. Poor Stan had such bad seasickness on the way that we took him to the nearest hospital we could find which was a Belgian Army Hospital. I struggled with my terrible French and they steadily looked me in the eye with contempt but seeing how ill Stan was gave him a draught of some jollop that put him to sleep. The contempt was revealed to be the fact that they were the "Dutch" Belgians. Daft because I could have easily coped in Dutch having worked in Holland in my youth!!! It seemed insane that they were so antipathetic to French speakers when they were one nation.
He recovered enough to accompany Bruno and me with half the English Team to the famous brothel. It was quite something. It looked like a prison with three coils of razor wire along the top of the yard walls. At first; there seemed to be no entrance but there was a wall about four metres long, parallel to and a metre or so away from the main wall, the entrance/exit was a bare hole through which we filed. Once in the yard one could see that the three walls were made four by what, at first, seemed to be a block of flats with two entrance tunnels. It was, in fact, a block of single-en-suite rooms where the ladies plied their trade. The yard, about the size of a football pitch was bare but for the men walking around and eyeing the "talent". The ladies must have catered for every taste and many new to me. There were the sweetest little things that any lad could take home to mum, formidable looking, square ladies in tweeds and flat 'trilbies' with feathers in the band and almost every type one could imagine. They came out (when they had disposed of the last clients) and walked among the men who would take their choice and then through which of the two tunnels they were led.
Since I could make myself understood in German I found myself the centre of a small crowd consisting of the Team members who brought their selected ladies over to me to strike a deal, and so I became the pimp. One of our lads had his eye on a statuesque black girl with a skintight garment in scintillating silver with zips from throat to ankles that were hidden in tight silver boots also with zips. She was picked up by man after man after what must have been a very hurried session. He begged me to go with him to grab her as soon as she appeared but I was not prepared to leave our little bunch. He finally grabbed her with most indecent haste and disappeared. We were agog to talk to him when he came out but she first appeared, leaving us to fear the worst. When he did reveal himself he was much humbled but furious. She was useless, a slag, a waste of time, it was a great nothing etc: etc:
There was a parting of the crowd and an unfortunate was led, head lolling, eyes rolling, limbs all uncontrollable, lunging, lips slavering to a respected place in the space the crowd had made for him and there was complete silence. A good-looking girl came forward and linking her arm took him thro' the tunnel. A heartfelt cheer went up and any reservation that I had about brothels vanished.
Our man finally found a girl to please him and my era as a pimp was at an end. No. I have never had any sexual experience of any kind with a prostitute! The man of a couple whom came to dinner insisted on telling us of his experiences in brothels and finally called on me to relate mine but I told him that I had none to tell. He turned around to (wife number one) and said " Gussie! Surely you don't believe that!" "Of course I do...he's too damned cheap." I am still fond of her too!
The joke is that I was very friendly with the daughter of a previous schoolmaster whom I often visited in her flat in Holland Park. I had got to know her very well and many years later (a whole marriage away) when I was weeding ancient correspondence I had to search my mind. Who was Jane that I had obviously known quite intimately? Oh! Yes. It all came back. I had; in the early days, let a kiss linger a little longer and she gently said "I am very fond of you. Don't spoil it." She was very nice and I never let a kiss linger again. I was told many years later by a fellow student that our old master's daughter had become a prostitute in London. So that was it. Glad I didn't spoil it. I was never quite tempted to try. She was such a nice girl and that is how I remember her.
Next: - How other Zetters perceive me:)
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Edward Sparkes ©1998-2002