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Fruit Machines

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aka 'One Armed Bandits'.

Time was when the Officers' Messes of The Royal Air Force were populated by frightfully well brought up young chaps who had been to public schools and joined up to engage in chivalrous single combat with the Hun. Back in those days, RAF messes were cluttered up with attentive working class stewards, ready to bring a large whisky and soda to any young Knight of the Air who happened to have bagged a brace of Boches; and by Black Labradors with names that would give Diane Abbott MP a fit of the vapours.

No longer.

RAF mess stewards these days are men who have been fired as British Airways cabin crew for being too camp, whilst in the RAF lexicon, 'dog' is something you do in secluded public car parks alongside Stan Collymore.

Now that the chance of dying painfully but heroically in a hail of Nazi 20mm cannon fire has been snatched away from them, RAF officers are forced to look elsewhere than aerial duels for that whiff of excitement and adventure... and they found it by installing fruit machines in their Officers' Messes. Christ almighty.

So now, after a tough afternoon unloading crate after crate of duty free booze from the back of his C-130, pausing only to 'tip' the RAF Police with their share, the modern day Biggles can unwind from the pressures of work by ordering up a long, refreshing glass of Malibu'n'Baileys from the bar and feeding surplus Lithuanian coins into the machines in the hope of winning a few quid before heading back to his room to drink lager out of cans and play with his X-Box.