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I come from a musical family. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a professional fiddle player and later a professor of music; my mother’s sister, Jessica, played the harp and their brother (my uncle) Terry, was the lead oboist with the Royal Philharmonic for many years. Also, my youngest son has a passion for music.

As a callow youth, I first picked up the harmonica and then the guitar. At school I joined a ‘skiffle’ band: two acoustic guitars, a washboard, and a repertoire of Lonnie Donegan songs. Puttin’ on the Style, My Old Man’s a Dustman, and the incomparable Does Your Chewing-gum Lose its Flavour (on the Bedpost Overnight)? We paid for studio time and cut a record, I recall. I never got a copy, as we could only afford two.

I took up the fiddle for a while, but everyone hated the sound I made, me included. To be honest, my musical prospects were never that great, as my hands were too small for the guitar or the piano. There was a time when I could have pursued a career with the triangle, I suppose, but my timing was never quite right.

*fades into the sunset signing

My old man’s a dustman,
He wears a dustman’s hat.
He wears gor-blimey trousers
And he lives in a council flat.

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