Fri 23rd Feb 2007


I’ve always been scared of the accordion. It reminds me of sinister groups of men jumping unsuspecting couples dining in restaurants. Or of the torture that is being forced to drink vast amounts of lager whilst watching fat men in leather shorts slap each other. But a couple of weeks ago Richard – a great Slovakian musician and friend of Rommy’s - came over and recorded for one of the new tracks. He is strongly influenced by the Gypsy musical tradition, and he made the wheezy squawk box sound quite beautiful. As a result I have been forced to change my opinion. But for the sake of nostalgia I shall write down my favourite accordion joke one last time. The advantage of writing it down, is of course that I don’t have to watch the rolling eyes of my friends as they listen to me tell it yet again…

My favourite Accordion Joke

A man was out wandering in a city far away. Which city it was I’m not sure, but it was a port city, because he was wandering down by the docks. Hands in his pockets, he was enjoying the afternoon air, when he stumbled across a little old curio shop that he’d never seen before. His eye was caught by a bronze statue of a rat sat prominently in the window. Taking a closer look, he was struck by the detail – the thing was so lifelike it seemed cast from a living mold. He went inside and a wizened old shopkeeper emerged from behind a pile of dusty old junk.

“Can I help you sir?” he creaked.

“This bronze rat you have in the window,” said the man “how much do you want for it?”

“Aaah, well,” answered the little shopkeeper with a twinkle in his eye. “That depends. If you just want to buy the bronze it will cost you one dollar. But if you want to hear the story that goes with it, that will cost you 1000 dollars.”

“Ummm, ok,” said the man. “I’ll just take the bronze thanks.”

“If you’re sure.” said the shopkeeper. And then, as the man left the shop: “But I promise you sir, you’ll be back!”

That was weird, thought the man as he carried on his walk. The bronze rat was heavy, but it looked fantastic, and, impressed with his bargain, he carried on with his stroll.

After a few minutes, he caught a flash of movement. Turning, he saw a huge black rat standing fearlessly out on the road behind him. Odd, he thought. He turned again, a minute later, to see that not only was the rat following him, but that it had been joined by two others. And now, as he walked on, he saw whiskers, noses, flashing eyes and sharp teeth everywhere. Soon a stream of rats was behind him, squeaking, their sharp claws clicking on the street. He began to run.

As he raced down the street the rats came from everywhere: out of doorways, through hedges, up from gutters and sewers. Before long a furry tide was chasing him as he sprinted towards the docks. A few steps later he was at the water’s edge, with nowhere to go. A black, brown and grey wave of rats poured onto the dock towards him: what could he do? With a desperate flash of inspiration, he hurled the cursed statue into the water. The rats swept round him and, as one, they threw themselves into the murky sea after it. A few seconds later, all was silence.

When the man arrived back at the old curio shop the shopkeeper greeted him with a cackle.

“You’ve come back for your story, have you not? I knew you would!”

“Actually no,” said the man. “I was just wondering if you had another one of those statues, but this time in the shape of an accordion.”

B’dum tsh…