BERT EILE by Perkin Warbeck


The  Perkin’s inner easy listener can still (vividly) recall the Day  in D Major when first came forth and entered into his earshot to nestle there as a most welcome earworm.

Only one who could be guilty of ‘treason, spoils and  stratagems’ would have failed to respond to the Kaempfertian ceol.

That, erm, Happy Feeling was to continue for a long, long time, but, alas,  even the happiest of feelings have a limited (gulp) shelfie life. More of which anon.

That Day in D-major  was  back in the early Sixties which were still basking in the afterblow of the Fabulous Fifties.At that time the typical Kaemfert rhythm had been enhanced by a titillating sound coming from the flutes: one of his own compostions was, of course, Tutie Flutie, a tip-top toe tapper if ever there was one.

The intro to  another of his  compositon  Swinging Safari was to become one of the unmistakeable symbolic cymbals  of Bert Kaempfert.

The brilliant bandleader modeled this music on the sound produced by blowing penny whistles  in the same particular way as in South African Kwele music. This style had in its time been influenced by American swing and was very popular among young black people in the townships.

Bert K, back in the day, saw to it, with typical Teutonic diligence, via paracruel, gruelling  rehearsals, that his piccolos eventually got to mimic as if by magic  the sound of the African penny whistles.

Not only to his own satisfaction but also , as was to prove in time, the satisfaction of a global audience.  Not least  The Perkin’s inner piccolo-penny whistle-spit projectile-  pleasing self.

Bert Kaempfert’s  first hit with his orchestra had been in 1960: the haunting solo trumpet, muted brass and lush strings saw to it that ‘Wonderland by Night’ was not a one-hit wonder.

A  Hamburger,  he hired the then unknown, moptopped, muscial  whoppers called Die  Beatles in 1961 as a backing group in his native city to record an album by Tony Sheridan called ‘My Bonnie’.  Bert produced this LP  which was to become the Liverpudlians’ first recording.

Shortly before that  he had also arranged an old German folk tune for Elvis Presely which the latter later sang in the movie,  GI Blues.

That was, of course,  Wooden Heart (‘Muss i’den sum Stadtele hinaus’ ) from which the gurriers of Dublin and other places besides,  added to their  near zero sum of comicbook German (Donner und Blitzen and Mein Gott !) with garbled versions of  ‘Sei mir gut, sei mir gut, sei mir wii du wirklich sollst’.

Regrettably, in retrospect,  Croke Park had not yet become the Concert Venue it is today:  oh to have had Bert Kaempfert with his orchestra back in der Tag.  Whose delicate baton  would have had his Baby Elephant Walk  across the green green grass without leaving  a single blade in need of medicade.

Rather than those contemporary chancers who put the Cac into Cacophany and who recently turned Hill Sixeen into Hill U2 by 8. Instead of leaving the stadium resounding with the aftersound of Ragime,  these self-financers – by beating themselves  up on  Africa rather than by the African Beat – left the sacred sward in rag order.

It might be said that Bert went beyond the beirt (of Elvis and the Beatles) , as it were, and scored a hat trick, even a hit trick in the world of Global Pop, by  having Francis Albert record his composition:

-Sinatras  in the Night.


Der Hamburger outsold Herr McDonald.

-Trio, trio, o.

Yet, all gut things must end, and that end –  ( Call in D-minor Day) – hit Der Perkmann  in the gut.

On the longest day of the year, 21 June, 1980,  the summer solstice itself when the Northern Hemisphere enjoys the most daylight hours, the life of Bert Kaempfert (56) was cruelly cut short when he  dropped dead of a stroke.

The composer / arrangers  of the global hit, ‘Blue Spanish Eyes’ had just arrived back at his summer villa on the island of Majorca: fittingly his blue German eyes were closed there, and for the last time.

Thus did a score of years, dating back to 1960, spent enjoying the scores of BK, come sharply to an end.  And how. A dark Day in D-Minor in which the melody morphed forever into malady.

For, on reading the obituary of the deceased Deutschlander, the scales fell from the eyes of Der Perkmann and the plug from his ears. Never again was he to allow his hearing to be impaired by exposure to Die Kakophonie von Kaempfert.

Indeed, one  has lost track of the times his hand has since reached out to twiddle the knob of his wireless every time this dissonant soundtrack  from Deutschland intruded upon the airwaves.

Fast forward now  to October 28, 1994 on the famous occasion  on the FSS ’s Fleg Ship TV prog, The Lateen, Lateen Show. The legendary time when  GB witheld his hand from his guest, GA of the Direct Provision IRA.

The Perkin’s inner Modest Mussorgsky balks at the suggetion (in truth, he would rather spend a night on the Bald Mountain itself than countenance it)  that  the Great Broadcaster’s  witholding of his hand was a mirror image of  the million times one’s own hand reached out to his knob.

For GB was faced with an uncannily  similar situation to that one faced on reading that obliterative obituary back in the Longest Day, 1980.

One succinct line will suffice to explain the poleaxing effect it had on The Perkin:

-Bert Kaempfert served as a bandsman in the Nazi Navy during the Hitler War.

Kommentar  ist uberlussig, indeed.  Particularly if that superfluous comment is of the following order:

-The Allies and neutral counties lost 2828 mercantile ships to the submaires of Germany, Italy and Japan. The largest proportion of these ships were sunk by Nazi U-boats.

Impartial pundits whose insights The Perkin respects have noted that:

-These  German U-Boats are to submarine murder what U-Both are to contemporary pop music.

It is a peculiar irony that the very narky archivist who could furnish us with the seed, breed and generation of the Irish merchantile  mariners who perished below the waves in the Hitler War off the top of his martyred head has just lost, in a blaze of indifference, his job, career, future prospects and his peculiary  revered posish in the Pantheon of Cant on Liffeyside, Myreland.

(Be still, one’s  single heartstrong  heart !)

Fast backward to the mid 60s, when a likely young lad name of Levin left his native Leicester and legged it over to Hack for Hireland. Where he morphed into Our Kev.

(Actually his name wasn’t Levin though he  would have liked it to be).

For the duration of the Dirty Thirty War this avatar won for himself a vapidity  of avid fans who read his  daily (five weekly) fifth columns  in The Unionist Times.

What appealed to them seemingly  was something (a contradicton, perhaps)  they could not quite put their fingers upon: Ein  Englander writhing, oops, writing An Irishman’s Diarrhea.

Where he wiped the floor on a daily basis  with the three R’s of the local tribal customs  in a rancid racialist way which, given the provo-cation he was under, was reasonably restrained in a re-spectful way, entirely:

-RA, RC and ‘Rechaun.

That his nifty, fifth column (discharged from his British vowels frequently and in a liquid form)  thrived during the cold, hard, acid  reign of Conor Craze O’Brain led some to notice the almost uncanny similarity between  the chummy  accent of the hack and  the plummy accent of Der Hack Meister.

Leading some of the badminded  Bog Oak Monolithics  to whisper darkly that the only thing remotely Pat between this pair of ‘Paddies’  was to be found in the first syllable of Paternity.

Thankfully this whispering was Vivisectioned by  Clampdown  31.

(So called after the Clampdown Races held in Fairy House, Easter Monday 1916).

One of the dark whisperings (unheard,thankfully,  at the time) was that both Our Conor and Our Kev were every bit as entitled to be considered Pats  as, say, Englebert Humperdinck (see above, under ‘Blue Spanish Eyes’) was entitled to be klassified as a Kraut.

How surprised the Mainlanders must have been to hear the chummy accent of ‘Our Kev’ (for it is he !)  last week for the first time even as he prostrated himself, in the grovel manoevere perfected by him on the gravel of Memorial (sic) Park, Islandbridge, Dublin 8,  on the studio floor of the BBC, leading, one understands, Marmaduke  to turn to Myrtle in both Milton Keynes and  in astonishment, to exclaim:

-Why, ducks, he’s not ‘Their Kev’ at all, but ‘Our Kev’ !

Yes, both the tones and the thoughts, not to mention the clipped hair and airs, still intacta after all this longest time, spent posing as a Pat in ex-pat territory.

.Alas, it was, tragically,  his inherent contradictions which  fnally led to the sad comeuppeance  of Our Kev: he was at last tripped up by his high-fiving  with Hausfrau Saxe-Coburg-Goth on the one hand and and, anderseits, by  his hatred of the Holocaust.

And at the heart-breaking sight of ‘Our Kev’ revving up and effing off home across the Oirish sea for good,  The Perkin has been (sob)  once more hurt  into poet-tasting.

This time he  has tailored – to the worst of his not inconsiderable  inability –  the lyrics of these latest limp Limericks to suit the malodorous melody of:

-Schadenfreuds in der Nacht.




Chaith Lester Pigott seal i bpriosún

Céard faoin Leicester Bigot, bostún ?

Eine kleine musik tag

Ón LB anuas ar MaG*

Dhirigh sé a bhod, a ghráin, a mhún.


*(Ná meascaigh an MaG seo leis an Tuidoir in Uimhir a Deich ; is iad an, erm, Bheirt Eile úd,  Mairtin agus Gearóid atá i gceist).




Our Kev’s m.t. pantry post-Bantry

No more the studio or a TV gantry

Bum some crumbs

As lifts he thumbs

Bony M last seen heading for Santry.


Auf Wiedersehen then, Kragenspeigel Kev.


Danke Schoen.


PS Chin up, old Shin-Kicking Kev. The narky  corgis on the streets of Loyal Liffeyside are barking  there’s a new vacancy in Schloss Buckingham for a Nodding Dog.

Tickety boo !


3 Responses to BERT EILE by Perkin Warbeck

  1. Mike Cunningham August 7, 2017 at 5:20 pm #

    the Cac into Cacophany

    Loved it!

  2. paddykool August 8, 2017 at 7:33 am #

    Kev.?… forgotten already, Mighty Perk…..s…uch is the life of a media hack

  3. PSRB August 8, 2017 at 8:17 am #

    I have said it before and I will say it again, this Perkin is a genius.