Mr Cassmob’s Music Meme Response

Mr Cassmob couldn’t resist the challenge of taking part in this meme, so being blog-less (but definitely not clue-less), here is his guest-post response.

1. Song(s)/Music from your childhood: Classical – Beethoven symphonies, Handel’s Water Music, Bach concertos; Reader’s Digest collections (12 thick LP records – pre-vinyl, I think) of popular music: movie themes such as The Third Man, How High the Moon, the High and the Mighty; La Vie en Rose, Granada; The Third Man; Alley Cat (my mother loved the prrrrooowww in this)

2. Song(s)/ Musos from your teenage years:  Beatles, Beach Boys, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, the Stones, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel (mondogreened to Garth’s uncle) – that great open-throated shout on Bridge Over Troubled Water, Acker Bilk – Stranger on the Shore, Cat Stevens.

I remember on Sohano (Bougainville) and Samarai (Milne Bay), Dad, my sister and I listening to The Saturday Night Show on 9PA Port Moresby via shortwave. The theme music was Enrico Morricone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Mum did not join us.

Oddly for a confirmed classical lover. Mum really liked Tom Jones’s Green Green Grass of Home LP. She said she could detect the Scottish and Irish origins in the rhythms.

When were on Sohano in 1960, the two Patrol Officers in the house next door had one record and two 7” 45rpm records – Mexico and Wheels – one each – between them. They played their records on alternate nights.

3. First live concert you attended: Good question. Very late in life – The Seekers at Festival Hall in Brisbane, I think, with my sister’s friend; for some reason my sister could not go. I saw Nana Mouskouri, also at Festival Hall, in 1976(?) – I was on an official work trip from the Administrative College in Port Moresby to the University of Queensland.

I had seen a number of stage musicals – My Fair Lady, Half a Sixpence, Sound of Music, the film version of Oklahoma. I can modestly claim that I was personally responsible for the students at my boarding school, Nudgee College, being allowed to go to the theatre. I’d seen MFL in Melbourne one term holiday in Junior (Year 10) and the Principal, Br Hodda, asked me if I thought this was suitable entertainment and not improper for the boys to see. Why ask me or take my advice I don’t know, but he did.

4. Songs your parents sang along to: I remember my mother, all 5 ft 2 & a quarter of her, dancing the cancan at a New Year’s eve party in Popondetta in 1954 or 1955. She couldn’t quite complete a sideways handstand so her partner, a 6-foot plus kiap who later became Police Commissioner for Papua New Guinea, seized her by her tiny waist and twirled.

I remember a party on Samarai – teachers only? – at which Mum seemed to know the words to all the songs on the “Bawdy Barrack Room Ballads” record. “Roll me over, in the clover…”

5. Song(s)/Music your grandparents sang/played: I don’t recall – I actually saw very little of them, especially my mother’s parents, after I was old enough to remember. I vaguely remember my mother’s mother listening to Blue Hills, as did a large part of the population. I can still hear the theme music.

6. Did your family have sing-a-longs at home or a neighbours: No – Mum was quite a good pianist, but the rest of us couldn’t hold a note in a Buka basket.

7. Did you have a musical instrument at home: No – see above. Not quite true. In about 1976 Pauleen gave me a Yamaha acoustic guitar. This lived in cupboards until in 2011 when I gave it to our son-in-law, who does have some talent, to keep for our grandsons.

8. What instruments do you play (if any):  None. I was made for the comment that a bassoon is an ill wind that nobody blows good. I tried out for the band in School Army Cadets, but couldn’t raise any noise at all.

9. What instruments do you wish you could play: Guitar

10. Do you/did you play in a band or orchestra: No.

11. Do you/did you sing in a choir: No. In Year 7 at Nudgee Junior the choirmaster listened for about 3 seconds and sent me back to the classroom (with 2 others, I should point out). Once when they were short of numbers I was directed to stand in the back row and mime.

At Nudgee Senior the Year 11 and 12 classes sang suitable songs at the prize-giving night, usually held in the Brisbane City Hall Auditorium. A friend and I wrote subversive alternative versions – just different enough so that Brother was not quite sure what he’d heard. Nothing rude, just different.

12. Music you fell in love to/with or were married to: Pauleen and I were married to the theme from Elvira Madigan aka Mozart’s 21st Piano Concerto. My mother cried. (I cried when it played at her funeral 36 years later).

13. Romantic music memories: Elvira Madigan; hearing A Woman’s Heart for the first time in Lord William’s pub in Dingle, with the rain and wind outside, a fire in the grate, and us stretched out on the benches in the high-backed booth. My cousin Greg did not ruin it by calling Sharon Shannon “that blasted woman with the squeeze box”.

Our daughters put together a lovely compilation for our 40th.

 I would love to have a saxophonist play just for us on a midnight bridge in Rome or Paris, but sadly that only seems to happen in Woody Allen movies.

14. Favourite music genre(s):  Classical, light opera, Scottish and Irish, 1960s pop

15. Favourite classical music: Mozart’s 21st, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Handel’s Water Music and Fireworks Music, baroque (Wynton Marsalis plays a great trumpet).

16. Favourite opera/light opera: Carmen; The Barber of Seville; Gilbert & Sullivan; arias from a number of operas; Carreras, Pavarotti, Boccelli . Enjoyed the Australian Opera’s Madame Butterfly in Darwin a couple of years ago.

Quote from Ogden Nash: Puccini is Latin and Wagner Teutonic; and birds are incurably philharmonic.

17. Favourite musical:  Summer Holiday (those who do, such as me and our daughters, do; those who don’t, shake their heads); Abba the Movie; Help! The Commitments, especially that great driving Mustang Sally at the end when it was all too late.

18. Favourite pop: Hot August Night (tree people!); Creedence Clearwater Revival, especially the live album; The Band – The Last Waltz; Dusty Springfield  

19. Favourite world/ethnic: Scottish  – Capercaillie; Irish – Mary Black, Altan, Four Men and a Dog, the Fureys. From a long time ago and thanks for keeping the music alive – the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem; Davey Furey reduced me to tears with his telling of the last time Liam Clancy sang The Wild Mountain Thyme; the Canadian Rankin Family.

20. Favourite jazz: Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Pepe Jamarillo, Judith Durham’s incredible trad/gospel singing.

21. Favourite country or folk: Sara Storer, Graeme Connors’ North, especially A Little Further North Each Year and Let the Canefields Burn – the latter because as we flew home from Brisbane to Port Moresby at night in a DC6, it seemed that the entire Queensland coast was ablaze.

22. Favourite movie/show musical:  My Fair Lady (especially as seen in Singapore in 1964 with Malay and Chinese subtitles, with added English subtitles for the lyrics which didn’t really translate). Which reminds me of seeing Jesus Christ Superstar in Lucerne in 1974, with German (and French?) subtitles; West Side Story – I saw the film first and was surprised when I saw the stage show to realise how much it had been shifted around (the original made more sense); Singing in the Rain; Abba the Musical for the bounce. Mad Hot Ballroom.

23. Favourite sounds tracks: Top Gun; themes from The High and the Mighty, Romeo and Juliet, Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Mad Hot Ballroom

24. What music do you like to dance to: Two left feet, moi. I can (just) cope with bush dancing and for one brief period I almost got the hang of Scottish country dancing. I loved the swirl of Shifting Bobbins. It has, sadly, meant Pauleen has for most of her life missed out on one of her great pleasures.

25. What dances did you do as a teenager: Twist, stomp (The Stones’ Get Off of My Cloud was excellent for this – enough people in time could get the whole floor in the high-set house bouncing) , madison, hitchhiker and what Billy Crystal in “When Harry Met Sally” described as “the white man’s over-bite”. I was not one of those who confused myself with John Travolta.

26. Do you use music for caller ID on your mobile: No

27. What songs do you use for caller ID: See 26.

28. What songs do your children like or listen to:  Pop, country, “Summer Holiday” – see, some shake their heads…

29. Favourite live music concerts as an adult: Paul Simon’s Graceland concert – loved Ladysmith Black Mambazo; the Guinness Irish music concerts; Neil Diamond. We turned up for the Bob Dylan concert in Darwin, but left early – don’t like Patti Smith and the heavy pall of ganja smoke induced a severe headache, so we decided not to wait for His Bobness.  

30. Silly music memories from your family: Driving back from Greve to Siena under a full moon with daughter and her friend recalling all the mondagreens we could think of (such as eldest daughter’s “Guilty as a gherkin bean…’)

31. Silliest song you can think of: A toss up. The New Vaudeville Band’s Loving You: oh, your red scarf matches your eyes; you close your cover before striking; your father had the shipfitter blues; loving you has made me bananas; or You canna push yer granny off the bus (google this one – there’s a grand version with both verses by a Scottish granny and grand-daughter); or Purple People Eater.

32. Pet hate in music/singing: Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald in Rose Marie – which reminds me of another very silly song – Monty Python’s Lumberjack Song! I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK…; people singing in accents which are not theirs

33. A song that captures family history for you: Mary Black: “Walk with me, talk with me, tell me your story…” – is that Flesh and Blood?

34. If you could only play 5 albums (assume no iPods or mp3) for the rest of your life, what would they be: Hot August Night; 2-CD Best of Simon and Garfunkel; Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; probably Swoon III; maybe A Woman’s Heart; maybe The Pastoral Symphony. Toughest question on the list!

35. Favourite artists (go ahead and list as many as you like): Capercaillie; the Rankin Family; Four Men and a Dog; Creedence; Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel; Vivaldi; Puccini; Mozart; Jose Carreras; Ladysmith Black Mambazo; Beatles;

Artists once loved, judging by the number of records we owned: Nana Mouskouri, George Baker, Sandpipers (although I still love Guantanamera), Dylan, Joan Baez, Herb Alpert (loved the trumpet on The Lonely Bull).

13 thoughts on “Mr Cassmob’s Music Meme Response

  1. Thanks Peter for doing this…shows that after all these years, there are still surprises;-). Add to the kiaps with 2x 45s, the memory of playing bagpipe music loudly at the coppers across the road in Moresby after their all night pay-day booze sessions! Thanks for the reminders of some I’d forgotten along the way.


  2. Love “Peter’s blog…” and the great image of his mother… we were doing well, Mr. Cassmob, till you mentioned that dreaded Abba movie again…. still shivering. I know, I’m the exception to the rule, think it’s from over kill in this house, that will do it every time, along with ‘Carmen’ which himself doesn’t play when I’m around these days. 🙂

    So, when do we get more from you?


    1. Believe me Chris, if you knew Peter’s mother that image would really impress you…a good warning not to assume people as they age are always as they were when young 😉 I did try to get him to write on the 52 personal history series last year as he has so many interesting stories to tell. Perhaps I should push, ahem, encourage him to write his own blog 🙂 As for Abba being in your head…I’ve had Eve of Destruction in mine since the other day when Catherine posted about protest songs….ah well it’s change from the soundtracks to kids’ TV shows!


      1. I too would like to hear much more from Mr Cassmob especially about his growing up in PNG. Such amazing experiences. Unique indeed.
        re: “earworms” … Pauline, I can’t get “We gotta get out of this place” out of my head … phew!!!


    2. Chris
      Hi. Soory about the overkill. My younger brother recalls Mum remarking, in somewhat frosty tones, that on Sunday morning Herr Mozart took precedence over Deep Purple
      And I forgot The Atlantics and Bombora! How could I (anguished sigh)?


  3. Sorry to be slow to respond Mr Cassmob… have been rather busy.
    So enjoyed your response. How could I ever have forgotten: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Cat Stevens & Simon and Garfunkel etc? … Love the story of the Patrol Officers and their 2 records 🙂 …and mum & the Can Can… am wondering if she finished off with a jump in the air and straight down into “the splits” accompanied by a little “squeal” 😀
    “Roll me over in the clover & do it again!!!” is the bit Margaret & I used to emphasise and our mums would cluck their tongues & get annoyed… but they were the ones who taught us the song …ha ha ha. Maybe they learnt their lesson and is why they wouldn’t tell us what “the Sergeant Major” did after “he kissed me once, he kissed me twice……”
    I’m now off to google “Yer canna push yer granny off the bus” 🙂 Thanks for joining in.


    1. Catherine
      Hi. I don’t recall a jump in the air, I’m afraid. Kiss me goodnight Sergeant Major, tuck me in my litlte wooden bed…
      Try googling “Yer can push yer other grannie off the bus…’cos she’s just yer Daddy’s mammy…”


  4. Hi Peter and Pauline… well, what a fun time I had after sending last message watching every version of “….pushing grannie off the bus” I could find on You Tube.. It was hard to pick the favourite but the link above is a good one (hope it comes through ok)… Oh yes, Peter, I do remember mum singing “Kiss Me Good Night Sergeant Major”. Thanks for the theme Pauline – has been such fun 🙂 PS… I’m such a “happy chappy” cos my 35 year old “baby” just got engaged to his beautiful “Soul Mate” -:D and the song that keeps running through my head is “I’m in heaven….” That’s the last one to “tie the knot” and they’re so so well suited! Toodles…


    1. Congratulations to you & yours Catherine after the exciting news…and especially when she’s his soul mate. So singing “I’m in heaven” sounds good. Glad you enjoyed grannie;-) Not having any sons I’m safe from being pushed off the bus, but sometimes the daughters might feel like making an exception.


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