Point of View
singer/guitarist and composer,
asks and answers the question...
What is the best Instrument of
Sebastian Snide-Whittingly was excommunicated from the Classical
world of music after an illustrious career that became complicated, and
ended up working for M15 as a "persuader" (The new politically correct
term for torturer).
Snide, as he preferred to be addressed, started on 2nd Violin but
quickly rose to soloist with the Prague Symphony Orchestra before coming
home to play with the London Symphony as a percussionist.
His explanation was that he wasn’t getting enough reading done playing
the Violin during the performance. He had tried gaffaring a kindle to
the side of his Stradivarius and would turn the pages with his nose,
which was easy enough when playing the English composers but not the
Russian canon that was popular in Eastern Europe.
They had to let him go after a very ordinary performance of the
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in which he nosed his way through War
and Peace without being convincing enough. He thought it made sense
to "Read the Russians while playing the Russians"
Back in London he took up percussion and got through a stack of books
without raising an eyebrow. He even started writing pieces that were
innovative to say the least. His idea was to write breaks into the
composition big enough for each musician of the London Symphony to sneak
off one at a time and have a pint across the road at the Slug and
He even factored in how quickly a horn player could move, compared to a
cor anglais player, to whom he would give an extra 100 bars break. The
percussionists, despite having the biggest thirst, were the slowest as
they kept texting while walking.
The pieces, though of dubious musical merit, were incredibly popular
with the performers.
The last piece he wrote before being sacked was a piece entitled
"OY!! Where’s the Orchestra gone!!??" It consisted of a solo
teetotalling bassoon player on stage while the rest of the 119 players
were all at the Slug and Lettuce enjoying a 5000 bar break before
shambling back in for the last B flat 7th chord.
The establishment eventually forgave him for the pub fiasco, but not the
chord. He was excommunicated for that.
Snide’s angry father had a devil of a job finding a job for his
miscreant son and had to drink his way right through the Club in order
to find an old boy ready to take him on. M15 it was.
He started as an office clerk but it was revealed during psychological
tests that due to his years in a boarding school, he had a penchant for
"getting to people". A mean streak and nose for getting under peoples
skin. He ended up in the interrogation room. He brought his violin to
work one day and managed to get the truth out of a suspected bomber by
playing Stairway to Heaven an eighth tone flat and very slowly
without taking his eyes off the suspect. He had to get all the way to
"and as we wind on down the road" before the man broke down in a
torrent or tears and spilt the whole plot.
From then, his instruments of persuasion grew.
Strangely he rarely used the bagpipes as he discovered most people only
pretended to hate them while secretly tapping along. He noticed this. He
Every person he interrogated had a different weakness and he prided
himself on sniffing it out.
He broke down the ringleader of the Kings Cross Bombers by playing
Hallelujah on the theremin with irreverent respect for the time
The Birmingham Six were brought to justice after he got the Welsh Male
Choir in to sing the Pink Panther theme for 3 hours.
The Brighton Shiny gang rolled over after Rolf Harris and his banjo
orchestra got one line into Nirvana’s "Smells like teen Spirit"
but Rolf kept going and segued into Billy Holiday’s "Strange Fruit",
including a wobble board solo that forced an evacuation of the whole
building until tear gas finally stopped the banjo players. Rolf was
still singing as they packed him into a Black Hawk and off to Iraq.
One day though, Snide met his match."
He tried everything. This guy was tough. Had no "Tell" as they called it
in the trade. No tic…nothing fazed him. He just sang along.
Marina Prior was called in, as things got serious, to do her version of
the Chilli Peppers "Give it Away Now" with Lord Tim Rice thumping
along on the harpsichord. Still nothing, and seeing the sweat on Snide’s
nearly beaten brow, she switched to Dylan’s "Like a Rolling Stone"
which nobody recognized because they had never heard the melody before.
There was an argument for some time over how the song went, with a
flustered Lord Rice poking at the score until Snide banged something
very, very loudly down on the table "ENOUGH"!!!!
They all turned to see the most serious instrument of persuasion ever
invented. The Vuvuzela. It was the famous and omnipresent racket behind
World Cup Soccer. The loudest instrument ever heard. 120 decibels.
Equivalent to sticking your head into a jet engine.
"How many Vuvuzelas does it take to change a…WHAT???? I said how many
Vuvuzelas does it take… WHAT???? SORRY I STILL CAN"T HEAR YOU!!!!!
Interestingly the Vuvuzela was developed as a weapon by the British
Defense Department, but one day an officer took it illegally from it’s
securely locked vault and went to a Serbian soccer match to coerce the
whereabouts of a war criminal. It disappeared and Pandora was out of the
box. Next week 3 appeared at an Arsenal game, the week after, 200 at a
Man United game. Next year there were 5 million in Africa and then 300
million at the World Cup.
Snide eyed his victim and warmed up his embouchure for his version of
the One Note Samba, with a little sousaphone polka backing.
Nobody could survive that. Snide was half way through and he suddenly
realized his victim was actually enjoying it. It hit him like a trombone
slide in a china shop! This guy was a soccer hooligan!!
He was barking up the wrong tree. This guy LOVED Vuvuzela!!!
Snide stopped, and with a sneer of menace borrowed from his boarding
school days, he said, fetch me a soccer ball.
He clamped the ball in a vice and played "You’ll Never Walk Alone"
on a kazoo as the pressure was increased on the ball. Beads of sweat
started to appear on the hooligan’s neanderthal brow.
The stitches started bulging… slowly popping, one by one under the
pressure…It was like a scene from "Das Boat" …key change up a semitone
on the Kazoo….then suddenly…
"DON’T URT THE BALL!!!!
AND STOP PLAYING THAT FUCKIN’ TUNE!!!
THE BOMBS UNDER PARLIAMENT ‘OUSE INNIT !!!!!
Snide had guessed correctly.
Not a Liverpool supporter.
© 2012 Tony King
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Pure Gold - thats just a cracker of a read! Im laughing so hard I can bearly type. Although I do feel a bit caught out because I like the bagpipes but pretend not to. Is that wrong????
Posted by John Morrison on Saturday 1 December 2012
Good article. I'd forgotten all about the Vuvuzela, that most annoying of sounds. I'm not sure what's more annoying, the actual sound emanating from the bell of the horn or the function the "instrument" serves - to allow every no-talent schmuck in the audience to 'participate' in the frivolities. (If only there were a sneer/jeer button on my keyboard so I could fully express how much I despise that self-centred notion.) Those familiar with previous vitriolic rants of mine will know that I consider this 21st century obsession with having to actively participate to be seriously undermining the public's appreciation for art. Can't play guitar? That's ok, get the video game GUITAR HERO and you'll be just that! Can't sing? Karaoke! People will even cheer you like you were on stage at Wembley Stadium, providing you are mediocre enough. This wholesale trade-in of excellence for mediocrity threatens art at its very core. Or am I reading too much into it?
Posted by Wil Sargisson on Saturday 1 December 2012
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