Sunday, August 06, 2006

What to do with a clarinet

Herman cartoon by Unger - Someone's been Selling Clarinets to the Indians"Someone's been selling clarinets to the Indians." A Herman cartoon by Unger

This cartoon has been on all my refrigerator doors continuously since July 9, 1985 - that's the publication date marked on it. I figured I'd better digitize it before it crumbles.

I recently passed the tenth anniversary of my final performance as a clarinetist. This little panel always added a nice touch of absurdity to a part of my life sorely in need of same.

It's also an excellent suggestion for what to do with old clarinets. (Unlike good instruments, such as violins, clarinets deteriorate with age.)

This reminds me of the Goon Show episode entitled "The Call of the West" (first broadcast on the BBC January 20, 1959) in which Moriarty & Grytpype-Thynne travel to "the colonies" to sell saxophones to the natives. Here are a few select lines:

1) Lt. Hern-Hern: "Now we're looking for two men who've been selling contraband saxophones to the Red Injuns ... thereby causing unemployment among white musicians."

2) Grytpype-Thynne: "Yes, he plays lovely doesn't he? It could easily pass for music."

3) Moriarty (in crate with saxophones): "Is it night or day?" Grytpype-Thynne: "Fool ... that sort of thing is only for the rich."
(Did you say "What's a Goon Show?" A 50's British radio show written by Spike Milligan and starring Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Seacombe. I've collected several hundred taped episodes over the years. Often cited as an influence on Monty Python. For more info: The Goon Show Site or Dick Baker's Goon Show Preservation Society.)

Ballard Street by Jerry von AmerongenHere's another old clarinet cartoon along the same lines - this one from July 1994 - not funny enough for 20 years on the fridge, but still funny.

"Jerry keeps his interest in the clarinet under wraps." Ballard Street by Jerry von Amerongen

Click on the cartoons for enlargement.

Other Mixed Meters musings involving the Clarinet

Clarinet Flashback (The Del-Rio Mini Sax Affair)

The Laptop in Live Performance (In which you can listen to my failed 30-year old piece for clarinet and electronics.)

VIDEO from before the clarinet became absurd:

Artie Shaw in 1940 (Dig the violin section tapping its foot.)

Eric Dolphy in 1961, God Bless the Child on bass clarinet

Hüsnü Şenlendiri, a Turkish clarinetist. Check out the red outfit on the trumpet player.

Yeghishé Gasparian, an Armenian clarinetist with dancers.

And finally, a 1945 super-excellent animated short of swing-dancing teen bobby-socksers with a Benny Goodman soundtrack. (Highly recommended.)

Music Video

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