For reasons that are too dull to go into, I needed to convert from a Dbase database to a MySQL database. OpenOffice can read both types, which means that you can create a new MySQL database, open the DBF version and then drag the records across.
The prerequisite to this is being able to get OpenOffice to connect to the MySQL database. There are instructions here, and tucked away at the bottom is a note about forcing MySQL to use TCP/IP rather than sockets. If you miss this out, you’ll get a persistent “connection failed” error.
If - like me - you’re a coward and using MAMP or MAMP Pro, this gets tricky. The answer is to drill into the MAMP Pro application by right-clicking and the Show Package contents option; then scroll down until you find the my.cnf file and edit this. Restart MAMP, and things should work.