Our man in Ulm has sent this report from the Festival of Argumentative Music in Ulm:
The annual Festival of Argumentative Music in Ulm has become a highlight on the calendar for lovers of grumpy German improv jazz, and this year they received a special treat with a performance by grumpy German improv jazz titan Horst Blot. With his usual septet augmented by glockenspiel, steam hammers, Japanese cardboard trombone, and an electronically-enhanced janitor’s mop, Blot devoted his entire four-hour set to a startling reinvention of the old jazz standard Chutney On My Spats.
Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the concert. I had a very trying day. In the morning I had an ague and the quinsy, and then shortly after lunch I was stricken by jellybrain and cork-in-the-ears. In addition, I had to deal with a gas leak and a letter demanding the return of an overdue library book. The final straw was the discovery that my press pass had expired, meaning I would have to pay out of my own pocket for a ticket to the Festival. Horst Blot may well be a grumpy German improv jazz titan, but I am not going to open my wallet for him.
Instead, I waited until the next day to read the review in Godawful Racket magazine. What a load of codswallop! It was written by Primrose Dent, who opined that the music was, among other things, searing, bippety-boppety, tough, chewy, Machiavellian, plinky-plonky, mordant, splenetic, sunlit, dappled, goosebumpy, tenebrous, and “a bit like a choc ice”. In other words, she simply pulled a load of adjectives out of a bag and strung them together.
Now I have done exactly the same thing, in some of my reports from Ulm, in the days when I used to have a valid press pass. I wrote out hundreds of adjectives on hundreds of scraps of paper, stuffed them into a pippy bag and then plucked out a few dozen each time I had to write an article on, say, the bus stops of Ulm, or the gazebos of beekeepers in Ulm, or indeed an earlier Horst Blot concert at the Festival of Argumentative Music in Ulm, where he played a shorter, three-and-a-half-hour version of Chutney On My Spats, without the glockenspiel, steam hammers, Japanese cardboard trombone, and electronically-enhanced janitor’s mop, but with a steam glockenspiel, a Japanese cardboard mop, and a bowl of rice pudding. My articles may have been codswallop too, but they were emotionally-wrenching codswallop which elicited great heaving sobs from my readers. I know this because they used to write to me, although I was never able to read their letters, smudged as they were with salty tears.
When I have recovered my wits I shall write a letter to Godawful Racket magazine pointing out that Primrose Dent has been deaf as a post since that episode in the wind tunnel at the aerodrome. She also puts her adjectives in the wrong sort of bag.
Over and out, Your Man In Ulm.
There’s quite an illuminating review of the original ‘Chutney on my Spats’ 78 rpm record ( audible, up to a point, at http://hootingyard.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/aunt-maud-78rpm.mp3 ) in the recent issue of Wakeful Dogcart magazine)
Unrelated to Ulm, have you seen this piece about the resurgence of ornamental hermits? Something about this just screamed “Hooting Yard” to me. http://www.citylab.com/housing/2014/08/ornamental-hermits-still-exist-kind-of/375410/
Dan : Splendid!