The Old Rugged Cross (A sequel to Flo's Domain)

The Old Rugged Cross


The heart of the Aviation bar was its jukebox

A Rock-Ola

Brand new when it was first installed

In 1953


It dominated the tiny grotty little bar

With its great flashing neons


Over the years it had had two updates

The first in 1968

A conversion

So it could play the new-fangled 7inch discs

All a bit modern for Flo

But she got used to it


The second

An update too far

A wall-mounted box

So you could make your selections

And control the jukebox

From anywhere in the hotel


“Where do you want it putting?”

Asked the installer

“You can stick it up yur a…”

Flo stopped herself

“On t’ wall, next t’ other un”

“But that doesn’t make sense”

Said the installer

“To have the main unit, and the controller side by side”

But Flo was adamant

And after all

This was Flo’s domain


The choice of discs didn’t leave much to the imagination

The “modern” records

The ones on the pink cards

Were the only ones that ever got changed

And that was only every two months or so


Evergreen records

Andy Williams and the like

Had a green card

No irony wasted there


But rock and roll dominated

From Bill Haley right through to Elvis

The ones on white cards

These were Lenny-the-Face’s favourites


Lenny virtually lived in the Aviation Bar

And his arrival was always announced

By a bit of “good old rock-and-roll”

Blue suede shoes being his signature tune


The last selection


On a yellow card

Was a total stand-alone

The only yellow card in the jukebox



Was a hymn

A dirge

A sad droning lament

That could bring tears to a glass eye

And leave you crying out for…less


#On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross#


As I say

It was a long droning, lamenting dirge

Bloody awful

But Flo loved it


When she found herself alone

She always selected



Then she’d close her eyes

And drift off to another time


Who knows where


Maybe to her childhood

And the chapel

Where her father

A strict Methodist minister

Kept her on a short leash

With his bible studies


Or maybe

To the days when she rebelled

To be with Cyril

Who opened her eyes

When she got to know him

In the biblical sense  

Her father would have killed them both

If he knew


No-one could know

Where Flo was transported to

When she selected


And entered a world of her own

And swayed to the melody


#On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross#


It was a dirge

Bloody awful dirge


◄ Flo's Domain

Silvie (a re-post) ►


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John Coopey

Sat 5th Jun 2021 12:26

Nice picture of past times, Kevin. A favourite of mine was (still is) Nutrocker by Bee Bumble and the Stingers.

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kJ Walker

Sat 5th Jun 2021 08:11

Thanks Greg
I'd love a jukebox too, but not only can't I afford one, but I don't have room for one either. Maybe one day if I win the lottery.

Keith I'm glad you explained yourself before the image of you in drag fully formed. I can remember being obsessed with Tocatta by Sky and playing it ad-nauseam on the jukebox . I don't even like that tune now.
I assume that some pubs do still have jukeboxes, but the one I mostly use prides itself on not having one.

Thanks also for those who pressed like.

Cheers Kevin

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keith jeffries

Fri 4th Jun 2021 14:59


Fifty five years ago I was Flo, not in drag but sitting beside a juke box in a cafe outside the camp gates where I was stationed at the time. I was crazy about Let's Dance by Chris Montez and played it endlessly to the annoyance of other servicemen who grew to loathe it.

A good poem. Do they still have juke boxes?

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Greg Freeman

Fri 4th Jun 2021 10:08

Fascinating poem and subject, KJ. Those wall-mounted jukeboxes were never the same as the older ones. It's always been my ambition to have one of my own, for all those singles that never now get played. One day ... (but it better be soon!)

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