I include this cover, not because it is awful, but because the story behind this collection of classic jazz nose-harmonica stylings remind me of such an excruciatingly sad story.
In the annals of nose harmonica players, Ignatz Topolino is usually the first entry. He was a genius. Grown men would weep at his rendition of Whatever Lola Wants, and women would toss panties whenever he ripped off his heart-breaking version of Summertime. But like all geniuses, Topolino had his obsessions.
He is perhaps best known for his obsessive — yet understandable — dedication to nasal hygiene. Not content with conventional nose-cleaning fare, such as hankies and tissues, Topolino would often try new products intended to freshen his olfactory organ. Nothing was satisfactory. He poured much of his fortune into looking for devices that would keep his muzzle clear of mucus, and even hired a research team to look for more aggressive technology.
Eventually, they came across some of the later work of the Victorian inventor, Michael Flannigan. This led to the discovery of a working prototype of Flannigan’s Pump-Action Nasal Cavity Irrigation System, circa 1901.
According to the Emily Chesley Reading Circle, the system (pictured right) worked thusly:
Two hoses were held by the cleansee, positioning their ends in the nostril opening. The operator of the device (bow-tie not mandatory) waited until the cleansee was ready, at which point, the operator would shout, “prepare for the injection!” (giving the cleansee once last chance to remove the hoses). The operator then vigorously depressed and raised the MegaPlunger, providing the delightful pump-action necessary to help the cleansee eliminate potentially embarrassing nasal discharge.
As cleansee, Topolino discovered the “delightful pump-action” was more powerful than necessary, and the carbolic acid used in the cleansing solution also did not help. His nose-harmonica career was essentially over, and Topolino would have been forgotten to the world, if not for his later contributions to Ride Theory (writing at Ignatz Topo), and his heartbreaking autobiography: A Nose By Any Other.