Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz and Galina Ustvolskaya walk into a bar.
Nick Cave and Tom Waits are there.
“Sorry, wankers, bar’s full,” Nick says.
Galina stares him down.
She just looks at him until he takes his cigarettes to another table.
Tom takes his hat and follows him wordlessly.
“Ants, you were saying,” Schulz says after they all sit down.
Kafka shakes his head slowly. “Talk about having formica in your kitchen.”
“I got up this morning and…” Kafka continues.
“I like the sound of that,” says Lightnin’ Hopkins.
Ustvolskaya stares at Hopkins. He shuts up and moves to sit with Nick Cave and Tom Waits, who are trying to get the bartender’s attention without success.
“I mean,” Kafka continues, “I lifted up the sponge and there was this sponge-sized square of ants underneath. Like they were trying to carry it back to their hill.”
“I hate ants in my kitchen,” Bruno Schulz says.
“There are no ants in my kitchen,” says Galina Ustvolskaya.
Monthly Archives: May 2008
Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz and Galina Ustvolskaya walk into a bar.
For a while it was really hot and nice. The orchestra played a concert somewhere. It went well. Kirsten and Jak(c?)ob visited Vienna. I took Gamma and Beta to meet them at the Cafe Central, to demonstrate to them that their dad knows classy people. Jac(k?)ob sort of talked me into getting a cheap electric cello instead of an expensive carbon fiber one, which is good because then I have more money for the theremin, contact mic and other doodads he also talked me into getting.
Then it got cold and rainy. We had a rehearsal, and then another orchestra concert that went really, really well. We sounded great, because our conductor is brilliant. God, I love her.
Tip: at the end of a performance, when you’re totally pumped and the conductor motions for the brass section to stand and gtake a bow, only stand if you’re actually in the brass section. If you’re in the cello section, it’s rather embarassing, although the harp section thinks it’s pretty funny.
Two whales walked into a bar last night. The fish was a bit nervous, and the krill was a bit loud (who knew glockenspiel was a LOUD instrument? My ears were still ringing this morning) and the mermaid got blisters on her thumb (she asked me to put fewer glissandi in my next composition), but the lobster was just right and the whales were amazing. And the voice track totally worked. I could not tell you how the whole thing sounded from the audience (I was too engrossed in trying not to mess up the performance and in general act human in public, which is hard), I will buy the CD when it comes out (there was a recording made) and find out then, but the audience gave it third prize (out of twenty performances).
Beta took a picture of a guy in a white suit giving me my prize
The workshop is an amazing program. The level of engagement and dedication on the part of all involved flabbergasts me. This is how education should work all the time.
And there are some talented little kids out there, man, swear to god. I felt a little bit bad that I (and another adult and a kid about 18) won the prizes and not the wee ones, since in my view a program like this is primarily for them and we grownups are lucky to be allowed to tag along. When we were leaving, the smallest boy and his mom walked past, and I was tempted to give him my prize and say, Here, you deserve this; but it was a gift certificate for forty Euro worth of books at a music store, so better luck next time, kid.
Man: So anyway I’m really tired because I couldn’t fall asleep all night.
College student: Why not?
Woman: You shouldn’t take hot baths at night.
Man: Well, you did, and you slept fine.
College student: What bath did you take?
Man: Your mom’s leftover bath. The one you gave her.
College student: That was Invigorating! No wonder.
College student: Yours is Relaxing.
Man: Thanks for the warning.
Man: I was in the tub for hours.
Man: Reading a fat book.
Man: Do they have bath things for, like, Charismatic?
We went somewhere and did something.
I remember now: Somewhere = this new park thing. Something = rowed around in a boat, crashing a lot because the waterway was too narrow for a rowboat.
When we got home I took off my hat. I had hat hair so I did the mussing-up thing.
Gamma said this: “Dad! Now I know why people say you look like George Clooney!* You totally looked like him there for a second.”
I said, “huh?” and tried to flatten my hair back down.
“Put your hat back on and take it off again,” she suggested. “See?” she said.
Maybe I should have Beta get me a George Clooney bath thing.
If they have them.
The girls had a recital the other day.
Gamma sat on my lap for a while. When she got up to run around again, my suit glittered for a long time.
*In fact, I am the only one who says this. The programming seems to have worked on Gamma, to the extent that she thinks people say I look like GC, not that I actually look like him. She says he is an ugly old guy and I am better looking.
This reminds me of similar things my dad used to say. Funny how silly stuff moves through the generations.
It is May so my car is covered with pollen. Driving around, I think this is what it would feel like to be a varroa jacobsoni, a relatively benign honeybee parasite, if varroa jacobsoni drove the bee and found it irritating to have to drive bees in the first place, because bees got cracks in their windshields all the time, no sooner did you replace the windshield, it got a new crack, maybe bees shouldn’t tailgate trucks, or even cars, and the price of whatever ran the bees was going up to the point that, sheesh. And on the varroa jacobsoni’s way to work, alongside the freeway offramp, there was a line of stuffed toys and dolls, two or three stuffed animals and a doll or two, and seeing that made the varroa jacobsoni sad every morning. And the mite remembered this one afternoon when it was seventeen, it went to the library with a friend to listen to a lecture on Transcendental Meditation, and got there early so they read Rolling Stones in the library, and saw an article about clothes designed by Eldridge Cleaver including pants with a built-in codpiece, which Mr. Cleaver modeled in the article, and laughed about it and later, during the lecture remembered it and giggled through the lecture, and eventually took up TM until the organization started getting into the levitation and the “His Holiness” business, whereupon the varroa jacobsoni got busy with other things; and the mite wonders why it remembers this and not, for example, what it had for breakfast that day, which upon reflection it figures was probably toast or cereal, since pancakes were the only other thing it usually ate back then for breakfast, and they were probably too much trouble except on special occasions.
I dreamed I was participating in the first rehearsal of my composition. The other musicians were all there, the conductor was there. We discussed the music, my intentions with it and how everyone was to play. Then we sat down and played it for the first time. I noticed that the cello part had no notes, except for three at the very beginning, and instructions to play with a lot of tremolo. For the next seven minutes, I tried to make up notes as we went along.
Then I realized it was not a nightmare, it was really happening. I’d left the cello part to the last, figuring I’d get around to it eventually. Then I forgot, as the endorphins released by being finished with everything else flooded my system. Our next rehearsal is this coming Tuesday. I have until then to figure something out. Also I am beginning to feel that the tremolo doesn’t work.
Chris was kind enough to host the mp3 for me since I was unable to figure out how to get it onto my own server. You can download it as a zip file here (about 10 MB). Warning: lots of reverb. 10 minutes long, too.
P.S. Chris has put up a hack of the project here, which is pretty cool. The music is from him, not me.