The Rhyme of the ancient Decca Man
Somehow I’ll Find My Way Home – John and Vangellis
For many years I worked for the exploratory survey company, Decca Survey Worldwide Ltd, a division of Decca Navigator. This was an extraordinary job, involving travelling to some of the remotest parts of the world, often at a moments notice, and very often living in a tent up some jungle creek, or all alone in the empty quarter of some desert.
As part of a small team of three or five, we were engaged on all kinds of projects, including;
- Mass spraying of rice with insecticide throughout the length and breadth of Java, using converted Pilatus Porter aircraft.
- Mapping the Antartic Continent in association with the British Royal Navy. Along with my friend Roger, we slept in a tent on the ice for a month and nearly had to be rescued by a dog team.
- Calibrating the inertial navigation systems of Nuclear Submarines.
- Searching for a live atomic bomb “Lost” by the Americans off the coast of Spain. We found it!
- Cleaning up the oil from a Gas Blowout threatening the coast line of Sarawak
- Charting the Seychelle Islands prior to its tourism debut. Nobody knew where they were! Including us. We had to charter a five seater Piper Navajo aircraft in Mombassa and go and look for them… Luckily we found them just before we were about to ditch in the sea… LOL
- Original Siesmic Oil Exploration in the Irish sea, and the English North Sea. Everyone thought we were slightly mad at the time, looking for oil off the coast of Gt Yarmouth… LOL
Along with projects in Africa, Singapore, Australia, Argentina, the Borneo jungle, Nigeria during the civil war, France, Italy, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and The United Arab Emirates empty quarter, to name but a few
The advent of Sat Nav technology however, meant that all of our complex and heavy equipment which had to be transported, usually by helicopter, could now be replaced by a mobile phone, and demand for our services not surprisedly dropped.
The people I met and worked with in those days (known as Decca Men, or that guy with a briefcase), were amazing. This is by way of a memorial poem to them.
You can view a few photo’s of my adventures via my Facebook Page which I am still building. Sadly many have been lost over the years
If you are an ancient Decca Man reading this, you will understand the words in this Rhyme.
The Rhyme of the ancient Decca Man
– in the style of Samuel Taylor Coleridge –
There’s an ancient hi-fix station
to the north of kathmandu,
with a ghostly chain commander
the last of a long lost crew.
In his forgotten mad existence
the words he speaks are few
as he sits in his hut, and taps his foot
to the beat of his MDU
his earth mat’s long since rusted
and his gonios have gone
his relays stick as the counters click
and the lanes keep rolling on
His batteries have all dried up
and his matching unit’s doomed
his ATU has lost it’s Q
and his arial can’t be tuned
slave two, slave two, where the f*ck are you,
he calls from time to time
but there’s ne’re a reply, on his ancient Pye
for the microphone’s well f*cked too.
such lonely dedication, is the way of the decca man
with bottle of gin,
and a friendly grin,
and a shag when’er he can
Through the waste lands of Antarctic
or through the jungle he will go
with his caravan, his dessert tan
and a thirty quid TMO
Ah would that we were able,
to have one final fling
and live once more, in the days before
the satellites came in
But sad those days are over,
and now from near or far.
never again will we hear the refrain
de dah.. de dah dah dah
So let us take a minute
to remember this dying star
and raise a glass, to this gypsy class
just in the bar