Lyrics: Harry Robertson
Musical Arrangement: Evan Mathieson
T2, T2, how I hate you, with your turbine gens. and single screw,
Your automatics bright and gleaming, and Hagen boards for easy steaming,
The engine room has knobs and switches, the engineers give screams and twitches,
And firemen mad beyond compare — keep running here and running there.
When ‘Stand By’ rings sae loud and clear, and engineers are on the beer,
They say, “God dammit! Lousy tactics! Just leave it to the automatics!”
But still we all troop down below, and start the tail shaft turning slow,
We drop the pilot off and then it’s up to 'Full Ahead' again.
The turbine’s whirring heart beat throbs, we open valves and screw down knobs,
To feed the furnace thirst for oil, and water in the boiler boil,
But in the complex engine’s guts something is wrong and how it hurts,
The anguished hooters blast their song and lights flash danger — off and on.
Find the trouble — find it quick — and all hands feeling bloody sick
The price you pay is hard and dear, for nights ashore and too much beer,
Enter into this noisy scene, from up above — an old has-been,
Bloodshot eyes betray his fears — gold-braided chief of engineers.
The name o’ Johnson he goes under — wi’ body big and voice like thunder,
His manners bad and nature twisted, his keel wi’ booze was always listed.
Trained in the steam of yesterday, when up and downers held the sway,
Bewildered now by flashing lights, and automatics gleaming bright.
Until the trouble’s fixed he’ll stand with a wooden wedge clutched in his hand,
While water sets the steam pipes cracking, he’ll give the vacuum gauge a tapping.
The braggart bully’s confidence gone, he stands apart — he stands alone.
Prestige and wisdom now transfixed, crystallised in that wand of stick.
The juniors scurry to and fro as seniors tell them where to go,
Alarms switch off — one by one — and turbines beat their steady hum.
Each engineer sighs with relief, and hides contempt for the silent chief,
Stripped of the tyrant’s ego gloat — he stands dejected and remote.
But give him time — and some more beer — to wash away the bully’s fear,
And juniors then will hear him say how he was there and saved the day,
And the law forbids them to reply to the insult of that blatant lie,
They look at him with face of stone, they sit together — he sits alone.
© Harry Robertson
and subsequently ©1995 Mrs Rita Robertson, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
Registered with APRA/AMCOS www.apra-amcos.com.au