We always had a piano in our family. I was born into a family with a piano in the living room. We were working class, were not wealthy, but there was always a piano. Of course the piano we had was one of the old sort, upright and the metal strings were of the old type. I just do not know the technical names for the sort of piano it was. The main thing was that every time we had a family party, in the good old cockney fashion, either mum or aunt Lil would play and we would all sing along.
Did I say play? They had their own system. My mum and her sister could pick out the tune with the right hand and the left hand just moved up and down hammering one key at a time in the rhythm. No-one really noticed that it was all out of tune, because the beer had been flowing and everyone was dancing. As a kid I was impressed that we had such piano talents in the family.
The piano was already 20 years old when I was born. And then I had my piano lessons at school. I had a piano teacher who taught me the basics and although I was not perfect, I got the hang of it. I think it was then that I realised that mum and aunt Lil with their rhythms was not exactly the real thing. I played on this now 50 year old piano until I left London for Switzerland. Now and again if I was sitting in the living room in London, there was suddenly a loud bang from the piano. No problem it was not haunted: each key had three metal strings attached in the inside of the piano and as they were growing older, now and again one of the strings would break. It was easy to notice which key that had a broken string as the sound was no longer as it should be. Piano tuner: no never, this old piano had never seen a piano tuner in its life. I grew up with intonations.
We always had a piano, and my last piano is the one in the picture: a Yamaha, electric. At least it has no strings that can break. I no longer play so much, I just lost interest. I learned all the classic pieces but always wanted to be a jazz pianist. Today I prefer to play the computer.