We hacks and scribblers get more kicks than ha’pence so it makes a nice change to have somebody drop in with the purpose of thanking the Idler for a good turn of 50 years ago.
The dropper-in is Andre de Swardt, a fundi on “mood music” for film and radio – you know, the way the violins make that soughing as the hero looks into the dizzying abyss – whose career took him to London, where he has been based for the past 40 years.
But he says he owes it all to the Idler.
Andre started out by regularly bunking from Mansfield High. He would go to the old SABC studio in Aliwal Street, where he would pester the librarians to let him listen to music. He developed a liking for mood music and for mixing. Eventually he built his own sound studio at his parents’ flat.
He’d left school and was selling shirts at Payne Brothers when he encountered the Idler of the day. On February 5, 1962, this column carried a piece on his unusual hobby, headed: “In the mood for mood music”.
This led directly to a job offer from local music firm Pearl & Dean, which led to work with Radio Highveld, the old Lourenco Marques Radio and Springbok Radio, as well as film work with Jamie Uys productions
Then he went to Italy where he picked up more film work – he met Fred Astaire, among others – then to London where (by now calling himself Andre Leon, using his middle name) he worked for several music stations.
In semi-retirement, he runs an internet music station called UKlightradio. He is in Durban to visit family.
“I owe it all directly to that piece written by the Idler,” he says. “I want to say thank you. He launched me on my career.”
One problem: Andre can’t remember the name of the Idler of the time. In those days the column was not signed.
I reckon it must have been the great Dennis Henshaw, who died a few years ago, or the equally great Jack Shepherd-Smith, who lives in Pinetown but appears to have gone awol – I can’t get him.
Note: The Idler is still available to launch people on careers, notably blondes, redheads and brunettes of statuesque proportions.
DISCUSSION at the Street Shelter for the Over-40s revolved the other night around the question of why Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee is being celebrated right now.
She became queen the moment her father, King George VI, died and that was in February 1952.
But has anyone been in England in February? If it was cold and blustery on the Thames last weekend, in February it would have been near-arctic.
MORE discussion at the Street Shelter for the Over-40s. It’s odd how people can go through life for long periods saddled with a misconception.
One of our number says that for many years when he went to the cinema he always sat in the seats on the left or in the centre – never on the right.
This was because, in the small cinema in his home town of Mooi River, there was a sign above the entrance saying: “Right of admission reserved.”
He thought this meant the seats on the right had been reserved for the larneys.
My own daughter says she went through her schooldays believing there was a drawbridge to the Bluff. I was apparently in the habit of saying the okeys on the Bluff like to pull up the drawbridge to keep out the rest of Durban, the rest of South Africa and indeed the rest of the world. She was most disappointed to discover there was no such thing.
Ha, ha, such drollery! But most of us have our feet firmly on the ground. It’s so nice to know they’re getting this e-tolling thing sorted out.
SIGN at a golf club in Scotland:
“Back straight, knees bent, feet shoulder-width apart; form a loose grip; keep your head down; avoid a quick back-swing; stay out of the water; try not to hit anyone; if you are taking too long, let others go ahead of you; don’t stand directly in front of others; quiet please, while others are preparing.
“Well done! Now flush the urinal, go outside and tee off!”
It’s a dangerous business going out your front door. – J R R Tolkien