Monday, December 04, 2006


I watched something on the history channel yesterday about the Titanic. I guess it was filmed in 2000 or something. I didn't have a TV in 2000 so i wouldn't have seen it when it was new.

It was a documentary about some guys who were looking for reasons that water had been coming in through one of the boiler rooms while it was sinking. The old theories about the ship sideswiping the iceberg didn't explain why water would come in through the bottom. They eventually found two pieces of the bottom- the keel.

In between footage of the wreck, there were passenger stories interposed. They talked with Milvina Dean (who was an infant) and the son of another passenger that was 15 when the ship went down.

But that wasn't what really piqued my interest in it. They talked about the band.

I've come to the conclusion that venues have been dissing musicians probably since the dawn of time. "We love having the entertainment, but we aren't paying you" is apparently the mantra.

White Star lines didn't want to pay the band union scale, so they listed them as second class passengers.

Strike one.

As the ship sank, the band kept playing. They all went down with the ship and froze to death in the water.

Strike two.

The band leader's name was Wallace Hartley. To the end, he and his bandmates offered comfort by music to the people trying to leave the ship.

Strike three- When the passengers that were rescued arrived in New York, there were thousands of people waiting. Again, when many of them returned to England, they were greeted loudly and with cheers. Hartley's funeral had some 30,000 or so people at it. What a send off... but then...

The band members' families were sent- can you believe this shit- bills for the loss of the uniforms that the members were wearing.

You can read more about the band here.

This is a thankless thing to do, this playing music thing.

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