Gluck, Glinka, And Buxtehude

Between the years 1787 and 1804, in the ethereal realms, the dead Gluck and the unborn Glinka became friends and allies. They were drawn together by mutual puzzlement at the absence, from those very realms, of Buxtehude, who had been dead since 1707 and ought, therefore, to have put in an appearance in the mystic aether. Gluck and Glinka, or their spirit-essences, set out to track down Buxtehude, or his immortal soul, a quest which only came to an end when Glinka was transformed into a material mewling infant in 1804. Gluck had to drum his heels and await Glinka’s return to the ethereal realms in 1857. By this time, of course, Buxtehude’s immortal soul had been missing for a full one hundred and fifty years, which is as close as dammit to a cut-off point in the world of spirits.

This is the conceit of an unfinished novel by Algernon Spooky, the so-called “psychic windowcleaner” who has a walk-on part in virtually every single biography and memoir of the first half of the twentieth century. Spooky seems to have known everybody, and frequently got into fist-fights with them. He was a commanding figure, described by Pipton as resembling a cross between a Roman emperor and a harrier hawk, with a bit of the temple of Angkor Wat thrown in. Unfortunately for the fate of his novel, Algernon Spooky had a tin ear and knew nothing of music, so his attempts to bring the souls of Gluck and Glinka and Buxtehude to fictional life are, in the words of Pipton again, “like watching an idiot child drool into a tin cup”.

After scribbling thousands and thousands of words, Spooky realised he was making a fool of himself – not for the first time – and tried to rework the material into a detective thriller. Here, Gluck, Glinka, and Buxtehude became a trio of malefactors plotting dark and dismal deeds. They hid in plain sight, operating from a high-street shoe shop clearly modelled on Freeman, Hardy and Willis. Only when Freeman, or Hardy, or Willis, or Freeman and Hardy, or Hardy and Willis, or Freeman and Willis, or for Christ’s sake let us have done with it, all three of them, got wind of Spooky’s tale and threatened him with a libel suit did that manuscript, too, end up in the dustbin.

But being Algernon Spooky, it was no ordinary dustbin. He styled it his Magical Ancient Egyptian Dustbin From The Realm Of Thoth, and scratched various arcane symbols upon it. He then tried to sell the dustbin to a credulous follower, the Dowager Duchess Dipsy of Poxhaven, warning her that she must never, ever remove the lid from the dustbin for fear of unleashing several malign demons from the ancient mystic city of Gaar. Even poor dim-witted Dipsy saw this for the poppycock it was, and she had Algernon Spooky dragged out of her drawing-room and beaten to within an inch of his life, with cudgels, by her valet, the one time champion wrestler Dinsmore. What happened to the dustbin thereafter is not known.

Algernon Spooky’s illegitimate daughter Poubelle, who acted as his literary executrix, consistently denied the existence of the two Gluck, Glinka, and Buxtehude manuscripts. It was only when Pipton bashed her repeatedly on the head with an electric toaster that she finally spilled the beans.

2 thoughts on “Gluck, Glinka, And Buxtehude

  1. Clearly, this is crying out for a big-budget film adadpation, relocating the entire story to California for no good reason whatever, and starring those titans of the silver screen, Alan “Fluff” Freeman, Oliver Hardy and Bruce Willis.

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