Wednesday, 9 October 2019


My Grandpa loved large veneered cabinets. One of these had a fan-shaped window on the front, with three knobs underneath. The window of the fan contained a list of radio stations on the medium and long wave, and one of the knobs turned this card of names until the station you wanted reached the zenith of the arc. It was here i saw my first Danish word – Kalundborg. A bulb behind this bakelite card faintly lit the names.
The lid of this crate-like object with rounded corners, could be lifted, revealing a gramophone turntable. The lid itself housed a cavernous loudspeaker. One speed only, 78 rpm, although a lever at the side could slightly increase or decrease the velocity. The heavy pick-up arm was of metal, the type where you lifted over the head itself in a smooth arc and lowered it gently onto the shellac records. The 12-inch records were classical music, the 10-inch popular music from the 1920s and 1930s. For some reason, Grandpa gave it to me when I was about twelve years old.

Standing in the bath holding the shower-head, it turns into that pick-up arm and I hear my favourite hit record of the 1920s once again: ‘I’m looking for the Ogo Pogo’. I see an orchestra of neatly shaven, brillianteened young men all in evening dress, sitting in a large arc. There is a touch of the Savoy about them, though the music has a Dixieland feel to it, despite its polished elegance. Doo-wacka-doo-wacka-doo-wah go the trumpets. Bhom-bhom-bhom-bhom goes the sousaphone. ‘His mother was an earwig, his father was a whale. I want to put a little bit of salt on his tail...’ I sing happily, in my poshest voice. ‘I’m looking for the Ogo Pogo, playing on his old banjo. The Lord Mayor of London, The Lord Mayor of London, The Lord Mayor of London wants to put him in the Lord Mayor’s show!’ 

I foxtrot naked out of the shower, search on Google, and hit the jackpot:


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