The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #95417   Message #1878032
Posted By: Rowan
07-Nov-06 - 01:27 AM
Thread Name: Art Blakey's Birthday (11 Oct 1919)
Subject: RE: Art Blakey's Birthday squabble
At the risk of crossing threads or causing drift, I can distinctly remember my introduction to Art Blakey's music. It was 1961, I think, and Tattersall's (a company in Victoria that ran the only legal lotteries there and in Tasmania) had brought a lottery barrel from Tasmania to Victoria. The barrel contained 150,000 marbles (all wooden) numbered from 1 to 150,000.

The rules in Victoria at that time required the Auditor General or his (they were all male for the next 30 years) representative had to ensure that there was one (and only one) marble with each number on it. This required Tatts to decant the marbles from the barrel and then sort, count out and stack them all, have them inspected and ticked off by the A-G's rep. before returning them into the barrel. This counting was done by two groups of a dozen people seated along two sloping trestle tables that had some quad beading forming 11 channels down the slope. The marbles had all been decanted into tea chests.

Each person would sit at the table and scoop a small bucket of marbles from a tea chest and sort them into the appropriate channels; the marbles would run into empty chests at the bottom end of each channel. Fortunately for us, Tatts wanted the barrel to have only the marbles numbered 1-100,000 in the 'new' barrel. First sorting was into 10,000s, with the supernumaries in the discard channel. The each group of 10,000 was sorted into 1000s and then each group of 1000 marbles was sorted onto trays with 10 rows of 10 dimples, allowing their numbers to be displayed. After inspection the A-G's rep. would tip each tray into the new barrel, sealing it whenever he left it unattended.

I was one of the two dozen who worked at this for the two weeks it took to complete it and, as you can imagine, this task was one of the most boting I've ever done (and I've never willingly entered a lottery since) and we looked for anything to keep us from making errors out of boredom.

One character had a portable record player (remember them?) and brought it along. He also had several records by Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers. I can't now remember any of the tracks but I sure remember the effect of the music on us.

Cheers, Rowan