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The very thought of you. 3 songs and a tale of romance.

Tony worked as a musician for 20 years and entertained on cruise ships and hotels around the world. Russia was fav, from Moscow to St Peters


Three songs of desire

This article is inspired by my friend Stessily who wrote her own particularly great article and added some fantastic music and art to it too.

Sometime ago I was working as pro musician, it may sound glamorous or exciting and it is, but there is a down side too. The down side being personal relationships can and usually do suffer. Don’t get me wrong I loved the work; it was the fulfilment of a life time’s ambition. I met a constant stream of interesting people, celebrities, and people from so many different walks of life. I have two stories that I need, yes need to write, to exorcise them and put them to rest. Here is the first the second will follow pretty soon.

A relaxed moment at 3am

A relaxed moment at 3am


On one of the ships that I worked, a small very exclusive cruiser with quite an intimate atmosphere; usually there were only about two-hundred passengers. I played a piano tucked away in the corner of the small on board casino. It was a great place to people watch, because no one really saw me. I’d sit and play sometimes hours on end whenever people were in the casino. There was another attraction for me, we had a number of young women croupiers who all were great fun, they would stay with our ship for a month and then be gone to another ship; they would eventually return.

One afternoon I put on my tux and headed for the piano, I knew we were to get a new croupier so I was also interested to see her. I used to spend some of my time after playing just sitting at the black jack table; because of the tux I think the punters thought I was a bouncer too. Even on ships like that there are the usual jerks, who think that because they’ve paid for the cruise everything is available even the crew.

the-very-thought-of-you



The new girl was already at the table, I couldn’t see much of her at first because she was circled by punters. I started to play and kept glancing over to try catch a glimpse of her.

I often had people who would come and sit at the tables near the piano and I would chat with them, maybe play their favourite tune. I like to chat and I’d usually find out where they were from and nearly get their whole life story. It was wonderful, fantastic, a dream come true.

I glanced over at the new girl and just caught her eye, we were twenty feet apart and yet I felt a buzz of electric that could have lit a searchlight. Even now writing about it I had to stop a few moments as the emotion once again moves me. She didn’t smile or let on in any way, it was the look that hit me.

I watched her for an hour; I played a few songs, chatted to punters, as she dealt cards. She closed up and left the table and the room without a second glance.

I went to the crew mess for a coffee and see if there was any food on offer. She was sat in the corner reading a hefty volume.


“May I join you?” I asked a little shyly.

“Sure,” she smiled “I’m Diane…”

“Tony,” I offered, “how long are you with us for?” I said, with my tongue feeling a little bit too big for my mouth.

We chatted about all kinds of things. I was besotted; I’d never met a woman like Diane. I don’t think it was that I had led a sheltered life far from it, she was enchanting, and I was hooked. Whenever she dealt, I played and cherished those little glances across the casino.

She’d had more downs than ups in her life but she was a tough cookie and what people call a survivor, and did I mention she looked gorgeous in her casino uniform.

So the first song came after the summer season came to an end, and Diane changed ships but not before we had become an item as you might say. She managed to swop her rotation and stayed two months, but she still had to finally go. A month later she was back, but only for a month. I was on my way home for a short break too but my heart was not in it.

The first song I wrote on my way home. I played an accompaniment of just three chords, A minor, D minor and G minor. The surprise of this song was that it had been twenty years since the last time I’d been inspired to write something.

the-very-thought-of-you


Summertime, the nights were hot

we could have done better with the time we'd got

but it slipped without a sound

a girl in turmoil and a boy in jeans

you were the prettiest thing I'd ever seen

Suddenly, you slipped away again

a voice inside said this can't be the end

I missed you being around


Memories of that instant thrill

makes my blood race even still

from the last time you were around

if we don't meet for awhile

I’ll keep your laughter and your smile

they're locked safely in my heart

certainly, I’ll promise you

somewhere in this life we'll rendezvous

perhaps we'll make a better start.


Destiny’s something we don't know

through the void of time we go

Should the stars go out and the sun not shine

No one can take what will still be mine

until the next time you're around

It was something seeing you again

and in the time we had to spend

you were good to be around.


I thank you for that special thrill

that will keep me going until

the next time you're around

Though I won’t be back for awhile

I'll hear your laughter and see your smile

and I'll remember you being around.


I can't tell you how or when

but I'll be seeing you again

the next time I 'm around

the places and the faces change

across the bridge of time we'll range

and once again I'm homeward bound

but there is one thing I will promise you

that is another rendezvous

the next time I'm in town.

copyright Tony Mead


So that was that, not a masterpiece I know, but I’m letting you into my heart here, so don’t be too critical.

we kept in touch through the company mail bag, but at times her letters were cool, and not so regular.

Glad to be back as the snow was falling as I left Manchester to join the ship, I had no idea where Diane was. It was not what I had hoped, but the croupier was a slip of a thing who loved to sing as well as deal. She was part Caribbean part English with beautiful long black hair as dark as a crow’s wing. Sometimes when we had finished on a night she would come and sing Billie Holiday songs with me. She had a great voice, and her past made it easy to find the pain in Holiday’s songs. An artist I saw recently, Norah Jones reminded me of her too.

So I began writing again through the company mail, and I was delighted when she wrote back and sounded pleased to hear from me. Despite that I was feeling a little insecure and full of doubt.

Song #2


Song two.

I write you letters I'll never send

to let you know you're more than a friend.

I want to be right there by your side

To be your comfort and your guide

Standing here on the edge of the world

looking out on my life in a whirl

you inspired me when I was cold

made me young when I thought I was old.

[chorus]

you turned my whole life upside down,

made me smile instead of frown

you gave me hope when I felt cursed

I faced the world and said do your worst

[repeat verse]

how do I tell you what I want to say

I'm so afraid you'll turn away

you've been hurt many times before

I couldn't stand it if you closed the door.

copyright tony mead

the-very-thought-of-you

This I wrote on the drive back home.

Song three.

It was something seeing you again

and in the time we had to spend

you were good to be around

I thank you for that special thrill

that will keep me going until

the next time you're around

though I won’t be back for awhile

I'll hear your laughter and see your smile

and I'll remember you being around

I can't tell you how or when

but I'll be seeing you again

the next time I'm around

The places and the faces change

across the bridge of time we'll range

and once again I'm homeward bound

but there is one thing I will promise you

that is another rendezvous

the next time I’m in town.

Sadly there was no happy ending. There was a precious window of time when we were both back in the UK; I went to meet her at her home and we parted friends but I knew as I drove north that I would probably never see her again.


At long last she arrived, and I knew she was just as pleased to see me as I was to see her. Over the next year we kept bumping into each other, I changed ships twice and there was a break of four months when we didn’t see each other.

this Willie Nelson song sums up my feelings.

I hope you have enjoyed this article, it has been good to purge the feelings of longing and hurt.

please leave a comment if you got this far with the story, if you didn't, well leave a comment any way.

regards Tony.

PS it happened to me again, maybe I'll tell you about that some time.

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