At this impromptu creekside concert, a record is being played for an audience gathered on the bank of a waterway. One wonders what sort of music was played and what the audience thought of it. The gramophone record player is on the SMP (Shanghai Municipal Police) houseboat ‘Kathleen’. The European man in the picture is probably Police Constable Kay, SMP, who was a friend and colleague of Detective Sub-Inspector John Sullivan, SMP, who may have taken this photograph (Su01-58). The photo, essentially a holiday snap, is in an album owned by Sullivan.
The dog sitting by the record player is attending to the music in much the same way as the dog Nipper in the His Master’s Voice (HMV) advertisements and logo. Nipper was bought as a puppy in Bristol, England in 1884; John Sullivan was born in Bristol, on 7 Oct 1885. The HMV imagery would have been very familiar to Sullivan and his friends. Kay and Sullivan were touring from Shanghai in the SMP houseboat ‘Kathleen’, probably among the lakes and creeks of the Taihu region around Shanghai and Soochow (Suzhou).