Reading a transcript of a 'Blaster Bates' story is simply not the same as listening to the man himself... he was a very popular after dinner speaker, so the audiences were usually fairly small and intimate... and listening to one of his recordings is rather like Saturday night in your local, with a bunch of mates, swapping stories... the laughter is just so infectious.
This story about a particular job undertaken (Mr Bates is both a comedian and explosive expert) goes as follows:
I was approached by a gentleman with moleskin trousers on, with the crossed pockets, leaning well back on the pelvis. I'd never seen a bloke lean so far back without falling on his arse... and it suddenly occured to me, it was these crossed pockets... he'd obviously had no toys as a child!
"Here, young fella," he said, "I want a word with thee."
I said: "What is your trouble, Master?" (That's how they are, round our way.)
He said: "It's our septic tank. I've had a very nasty letter from the Council."
It was about twice the size of this room, and the top of it was like one of these horrible meringues gone wrong, with a six-inch crust on it. I prodded it with a stick, and the swine sneered at me: "Come any closer and I'll have yer."
My God, it was my duty to destroy it.
So we got the big five-pound sticks of explosive, tied them on the end of the cord, and tossed one in.
Plunk, it up-ended, and a big green bubble come up and winked at me. And we heard the most evil chuckle as the swine swallowed it.
I'm sure it thought I was feeding it.
There were four and a half thousand tons of effluent, all of it got to go. We got all the ends together, bit of wire, bit of fuse, detonator. Then the man in the moleskins said: "What about him down there?"
There was a bloke down the field in a bit of hedge, brushing with a blunt hook.
I said: "He'll have to shift. He'll get the lot."
Twelve seconds later, four and a half thousand tons of effluent leapt into the air. It climbed into the sky and, at 300 feet, it mushroomed out, and a shaft of sunlight hit it. You could see all the colours of the starling's wing, the greens and the golds and the browns, light and dark, and a lot of bottle-green in it, a lot of pig-muck, very sour smell, especially when it's been in there for eighty-two years. Then it turned over like an avenging cumulus, and he fled down the field, like Sodom and Gomorrah, very like, and his face went "Ahhh!". And he tried to run.
You can't run at 35 miles an hour, with clogs on, in a ploughed field.
He'd only made four yards, and he was carrying 25 pounds on his boots then. Visibly falling, and the second time he came up he got a face full of s***e and a double hernia.
The main flight went hissing on its way, then it went to a grey fog and this thing wriggled and writhed on the ground and then rose up like a phoenix arising from the ashes.
The solids had mixed with the liquids and gone into a goo, so that when he lifted his arms... he had a pair of multi-coloured gossamer wings...