'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Friday, April 20, 2007

Lives Of The Great Belgians - Part I

Back in Beghan days, V decided that for a man of my advanced age & musical ineptitude the only sensible course of action was to take up the saxophone. This struck me as a counsel of despair. But in the course of a rendez-vous in Soho last December I acquired one of Professor Sax's inventions from my old friend The Defrocked Priest, who in his more lucid moments likes to imagine himself a member of the Glen Miller Orchestra.
The sax lay untouched till the other day when I finally resolved to give it a blow. The first obstacle to be overcome was assembling the various bits. Once accomplished, I carefully took it in my hands, hooked the strap to the back of it, brought the mouthpiece towards my lips and took Lauren Bacall's advice to Humphrey Bogart.
Nothing happened.
I tried again. Still nothing.
I put the sax down & took a long look at it. After about five minutes I removed the mouthpiece and turned it so that the reed (a Rico #3, jazz-fans) was on the underside. Then I picked up the instrument, put my lips together, and blew.
The effect was astonishing.
A sound very like a Gressingham duck in terminal agony echoed from the walls of the cottage. Ben the trailhound stared at me balefully, got up off the couch and ran downstairs.
Undeterred by this enthusiasm from my audience, I persevered. By now the reed was vibrating in a truly alarming fashion, making my lower lip feel as if it was being massaged by a coffee grinder.
Exhausted, panting for breath, I put the instrument aside & staggered to the window. Out in the fields the sheep were staring up at me with expressions that occupied that dangerous no-man's land between Wild Surmise and Bored Resignation.
I picked up the sax and blew. That'd show the woolly bastards.
Just give me some of that rock and roll music . . .

4 Comments:

Blogger Irene Adler said...

It's all about developing your embouchure. Then you can join a band and play the solo bit in Baker Street.

20/4/07 4:06 pm  
Anonymous Lex said...

Indeed. Thirty mins a day x 2 months and you'll be good to go, minus the cracked and bleeding lips of a novice trumpeter.

20/4/07 5:11 pm  
Anonymous Herr Doktor Professor said...

It is advisable to soften the reed before starting to play. To do this, remove it, suck it for about half a minute, then clamp it back under the ligature.

As you are just learning, you should consider sucking the reed for at least 95% of the time you allocate for practice, in order to reduce the duration of the suffering you inflict on dumb animals.

20/4/07 8:02 pm  
Blogger Nick said...

Irene, Lex - thanks for the good advice & best wishes. Though I suspect you've pollitely overlooked the lines about 'musical ineptitude' . . .

23/4/07 3:02 pm  

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