My father, as part of his unofficial education for me, once took me to see Stan Kenton.
We travelled from our Balham flat to see the great jazz artist. As a ten-year-old, jazz was not something I could easily get my head round. I was still coming to terms with the complexity of the songs Wally Whyton would sing on Ollie and Fred’s Five O’Clock Club.
Because I didn’t complain, and kept humming the tune to Peanut Vendor during my bath-time, dad organised for us to travel to Croydon to watch Gil Evans, the Canadian (also jazz) pianist. I have never been so bored.
I was lucky as a child and subjected to many types of popular music. I’d have listened to more Sibelius, but my mum thought this was a type of water-borne disease and wouldn’t have it in the flat.
I was old before my time musically; by the time I was 8 I knew the lyrics to most Frank Sinatra songs. I really did do it my way.
Not all my relatives had this musical passion. My nan only owned one 78: Underneath the spreading chestnut tree. That 1938 classic you will all now be doing the actions to! Hearing it over and over again as a kid, I’m surprised I never developed a nut allergy.