Stalking a pianist

For the avoidance of doubt, I would like to make clear that I am not (currently) stalking a pianist.  It is merely a literary device to try and attract readers to this post, perhaps permitting me to disappoint a whole new audience.

Despite my earlier denial, I do have a real interest in pianists, largely as I wish to become one.  Sadly, the idea that 10,000 hours of practice will deliver condign mastery of any skill is somewhat overstated – involving as it does extrapolation from a rather small and unrepresentative sample.  Even were it true, at my current rate of practice, 10,000 hours would require me to significantly exceed any human lifespan outside of those recorded in the Old Testament (which may not be a wholly reliable source).  I always intend to practise more, but somehow I never seem to have the time – or if I do have the time, lack the mental horsepower (watts?) to achieve very much.  I have reached the stage where not only do I have to use all ten fingers, but that regularly more than two need to be actively engaged at once.  This is very taxing on the middle-aged brain – I am never entirely sure whether my endeavours are helping to keep senility at bay, or are merely illustrating just how far it has already advanced.

Anyway, I recently found myself seeing the same pianist in two somewhat distant UK cities in a two week period.  Luckily, I think I was somewhat camouflaged by the crowd of other keen piano-fans filling the concert-halls of West Road and Turner Simms – so I don’t think she will have noticed.  As a result, I remain at liberty to pursue my 88-string fetish.

The pianist in question was the excellent Imogen Cooper and, given my butterfly mind, I did find myself wondering whether there is another pianist – just called Imogen or Imogen One – who is wheeled out for less sporty repertoire than Schumann and Schubert?  Cheaper to buy and insure, but poorer acceleration through an arpeggio and would top-out at allegretto.

Yes, sorry, this whole post was to introduce a weak joke about the work of John Cooper, augmenter of small cars that really barrel along (there, a bonus pun for you!).


2 thoughts on “Stalking a pianist

  1. matathew says:

    I’m wondering whether the fetish you pursue so keenly is an 88-key fetish? An 88-string fetish would be one of a much more specialist (or spicy?) nature, because an 88-key piano has typically around 200 strings inside.

  2. Stuart Ffoulkes says:

    OK, I will own that a piano with a single string per key would be rather a meagre instrument – but “88-key fetish” somehow lacks the poetry of its stringed counterpart (conjuring, as it does, images of bondage, locksmiths and shoe repair). And, as we all know, GofaDM, is all about the poetry of language – whilst, thankfully, sparing you my attempts at rhyme or meter (well, so far at least…).

    The phrase is also an homage to Tom Lehrer, who in the introduction to “Folk Song Army” acknowledges that the piano is not a traditional folk instrument and urges his audience to imagine he is playing an 88-string guitar. If I am to stray into error, I can think of few finer guides than Mr Lehrer! Ready! Aim! Sing!

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