iPod Nano cannot be unlocked

My iPod Nano has gone into the equivalent of a coma. No matter what you do with the “HOLD” switch, it remains in a locked state. So while you can see when you connect it to a PC that the music is still there and the battery still works, you cannot use it, since the play-button (as well as all the others) does not respond.

Switching frantically between HOLD ON/HOLD OFF does not work, pushing excessively towards “HOLD OFF” (to the left) does not work. Is there a way to disable the HOLD button, or is that a mechanical connection that is not managed by the firmware? Can you open an iPod Nano and ‘clean the contact’?

The only other option I see is to buy a docking-station-with-speakers that includes a remote control. But why spend another 100€ on a 4GB iPod that doesn’t work properly …

Any ideas?