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Up the Swanee ...


Right from an early age, Mike always wanted to play the Swanee Whistle very badly. We can safely say that he has succeeded in this ambition. Although the band members are routinely unkind about Mike's futile attempts at virtuosity on that so-called 'instrument', he has recently proudly unearthed the attached documentary evidence in a vain attempt to justify imposing his Swanee Whistle on our long-suffering audiences.

It seems that during the freezing Winter of 1947 it was one of the few instruments that parents could afford to purchase for their shivering children, and one that these same children could just about manage to play in the prevailing Arctic conditions, as most proper instruments tended to freeze solid, like the rest of the country. The Examinations Board of the Royal Schools of Music, ever alert to contemporary trends, therefore published - for a brief experimental period - a syllabus for the Swanee Whistle and even provided bowls of tepid water at examination centres in order that candidates might warm up their instrument - and their fingers - before performing for the examiner. Thus began Mike's dubious performing career on the notorious 'slide whistle' ...


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