As a child Tessimond’s father tried to interest him in classical music. Lessons at the piano, piccolo, flute, clarinet and French horn were all paid for, but none to much success. ‘The Gramophone,’ he reflects in his journal, ‘was my predestined instrument […] the instrument for the unpersevering.’
Throughout the 1920s he built a sizable collection of gramophone records, particularly HMV recordings; here’s one of them – Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians performing I Wonder How I Look When I’m Asleep. Tessimond writes of it:
It’s jolly good. I don’t know what the tune sounds like by itself, but the HMV version (with lots of “effects”, gagging, burlesque, etc.) is topping. In one part the man sounds as if he were singing through a glass of water – he does a marvellous gurgle on the first syllable of each “wonder.” And it brings in bits of Grieg’s “Dawn”, “All through the Night,” and “Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep”.