Merchants and tenants at Billingsgate Market include…

City Music Services. Let me explain. And introduce my top 10 performing fish.

Rasp along to the song of the Stoplight Parrotfish.

Rasp along to the song of the Stoplight Parrotfish. Image: Adona9.

Here’s their entry in the directory of London’s great fish market:

Their internationally-oriented product range may or may not include

  1. Black Drum. To be fair, this is just about the only genuine fish that makes any remotely useful sound. James Locascio and David Mann made a nice recording. Douglas Long was a bit disappointed. NYT reported: “Eerie Thumps Haunt Some Cape Residents,” a headline in The News-Press of Cape Coral, Fla., said. “Noise May Cost City Big Bucks.” Did I say “just about”? Here are some more from the Rhode Island oceanographers’ site: Atlantic Croaker, Bar Jack, Barred Grunt, Bigeye Scad, Bluestriped Grunt, Dusky Damselfish, Garibaldi, Longhorn Sculpin, Northern Seahorse, Oyster Toadfish, Plainfin Midshipman, Rock Hind, Sand Seatrout, Spotted Seatrout, Hardhead Sea Catfish, Silver Perch, Stoplight Parrotfish, Striped Searobin, Weakfish. The toadfish is rather good.
  2. The oorie coolooroo cradoo of the Tamil east of Sri Lanka:

    On the occasion of another visit which I made to Batticaloa in September 1848, I made some inquiries relative to a story which had reached me of musical sounds said to be heard issuing from the bottom of the lake at several places, both above and below the ferry opposite the old Dutch fort, and which the natives suppose to proceed from some fish peculiar to the locality. The report was confirmed to me in all its particulars, and one of the spots whence the sounds proceed was pointed out between the pier and a rock which intersects the channel, 200 or 300 yards to the eastward. They were said to be heard at night, and most distinctly when the moon was nearest the full, and they were described as resembling the faint sweet notes of an Kolian harp.

  3. The Chinese temple block, or wooden fish, best enjoyed with rites of death and resurrection.
  4. Sharkie Supermachine by keyboard genius Harry Merry. I can’t understand even the studio version but it’s a great song with maybe a fish in it:

    That is just such a good suit. I have only seen them before on small Spanish boys in conservative provincial towns, and on Russian sailors.

  5. Double basses into which a fresh herring was deposited last spring.
  6. G.K. Chesterton’s magical gold fish:

    Over the land and over the sea
    My flying fishes will come to me,
    For the note is not of the world that wakes them,
    But in ——

  7. The aquarium, from Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. “I know that,” you say, but see what Smalin has done to the score:
  8. Marty Vona’s take on Big Mouth Billy Bass, as not seen on The Sopranos (prevents robberies):
  9. Banjo Catfish. That’s a real species, but they don’t sing, and marine videos can get tiresome, so here’s Richard Hood in Tennessee playing “Nail that Catfish to a Tree” by Steve Rosen of the Volo Bogtrotters, 2-finger banjo stylee:
  10. Juan Antonio Canta’s girlfriend, sunk by a Nazi submarine, and now recalled in every bite of shrimp and fried fishie. This is my only acquisition on this list:

Maybe you will have some different suggestions. Though I know you are terribly shy.

Billingsgate is wonderful. You meet lots of Spaniards acquiring what their trawlers failed to.

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