• Monsieur Père was also a jolly good fellow

    Monsieur Père was also a jolly fellow 

    Monsieur Père (perhaps especially from this distance) could seem and sound a rather formidable man... If you check here, you'll notice the memories I have written of him are mostly of the sobering kind! I think his daughters would testify to that. Mind you, I suppose because they were daughters, he fancied his "girl-keeping" duties to be all the stricter. But he could also be jolly and fun, as you'll hear. In fact, I remember mostly this mood of his (I was still young when he died in 1973). He would love making faces, for example the trick he did with turning the various parts of his face (ears, nose, chin) in order to make his tongue stick out, turn to one side, to the other, and then suddenly disappear inside like a sort of little animal. This didn't stop him from being severe, but like other authoritarian people, he was a great children lover; and I wonder whether he was as comfortable with grown-ups. Little children don't question your authority: for them it's like the air they breathe. But the older they grow, the more they can see through it. Well, anyway. Here are some recordings of him, too few alas (but perhaps Noël will supply us with some more, because he's gone back to the tapes with a new procedure), but still quite revealing of this dimension of our Grandpa's character. Two short clips first, one which Noël thinks was badly recorded by MP himself, and in which he recorded his voice with the wrong pitch

    Here's an extract with a similar intention, but with his normal voice, showing that he enjoyed the very fact of having his voice recorded, and rather played with the phenomenon itself:

    here he seems to be calling Grandma his "fat rabbit" (to say the truth I'm not certain MP's intervention connects with what Grandma says just before - there seems to be an overlap, and perhaps the "Fat rabbit" remark referred to somebody or something else!!):

    Then there's this number with AB (I think - Mark?) where the two are singing a song which I believe starts with the words: "Although you're a girl that I've simply gone mad about..." I've googled this verse and found nothing, so I wonder where the tune comes from. I know that Grandpa was a Gilbert & Sullivan aficionado, so as soon as I heard him sing songs of the absurd comedy type, I think that perhaps they come from this origin. But I've not been able to confirm. Maybe some of you can help!

    Below a photo where he's clearly clowning - perhaps not quite to the liking of his daughter!

    Monsieur Père was also a jolly good fellow

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