Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 09:29:13 +0100 From: Peter Rodwell
Organization: International Organ Foundation Subject: Re: Gin (large I mean long) Quoting Richard Scott-Copeland: >All joking aside, can anyone tell me why, the aftermath of imbibing >goodly quantities of gin (or anything else alcoholic for that matter) >one's hearing seems to suffer in that the high frequencies are >attenuated severely? I was delighted to read this posting at last a subject for some serious experimentation! I decided that I should undertake a series of carefully-controlled experiments to determine whether indeed alcohol affects the hearing even when not poured into the ears. Clearly, two things were necessary: a supply of alcohol and a pipe organ. The second one was easy: the village church. For the alcohol, I persuaded Lourdes, the owner of the Asturian Cider Bar here in the village to provide several bottles of her finest Larios Gin (Spanish gin in a bottle that looks suspiciously identical to a Gordon's bottle). Now we all know that temperature has a serious affect on pitch, so Lourdes brought along her ice-making machine, too, to ensure that each gin was supplied at precisely the same temperature. We had to wire the ice-maker into the blower power supply since no power point was available (the blower ran *much* cooler as a result, BTW I shall patent this discovery when I'm better). Several hangers-on from the bar joined us on the grounds that there was no ice available in the bar. I also took along a village personality known as "The Good Doctor" to render expert medical advice and first aid, should this prove necessary. (I subsequently learnt that his doctorate is not in fact in medicine his PhD thesis was on early Greek hydraulic engineering, which caused the University some difficulty since they couldn't find an engineer who knew Greek or a Greek scholar who knew engineering. But I digress.) It is well documented that J S Bach used to nip out of church to the pub across the road during the sermon and down a few steins of bier, so in keeping with this tradition I decided to play an entirely Bach recital. I started with, of course, BWV 565. This had the effect of waking up some members of the audience who had lapsed into a rather tired and emotional state by the time we got the ice-maker working. Even though I say so myself, I managed a fairly passable rendering of the Toccata. Before playing the Fugue, I partook of one large gin with 3 cubes of ice. Now I have never really mastered the Fugue and it seemed to get progressively more difficult as I played. I had to play some of the final passages several times before I got them right. I stopped then for further refreshment before launching into BWV 608, "In Dulci Jubilo". Some members of the audience tried to join in, singing the Francoist anthem "Cara al Sol" to the tune of "In Dulci Jubilo". This distracted me considerably and at several points I found myself playing "Cara al Sol" by mistake. In fact I had to stop half way through for another drink. Despite the temperature of -10 C both inside and outside the building, I was sweating profusely. So I thought "Shod thish" and decided to play something else. Umm, lemme see, ah yes, this toccattaa, adshio an' fugue thing ishn't too bad. Whashit called? BVV 655? BWW 656? BBB 666? No matter. Let's pull out more of theshe shtop things, get the furniture moving a bit. Damn! I forgot it has this pedal bit. And I jus' spilled my drink and an ice cube has got trapped under a pedal. Still, it makesh a nice crunching sound, doesn't it? Trouble is, the damn organ is a real schreeker. Maybe if I use just the Pedo de Elefante 16' it'll sound better. It doesh. Well, another couple, please, Lourdes. Now I'm gonna play the finale. This ish an organ transplant, no, umm, *transhcript* of Bach's little-known Heineken Cantata, BMW 750 IL (metallic red). It really doesh sound remarkably avant-garde, and it'sh real difficul' to play. Oh, yesh, maybe if I turn the mushic the right way up. Another one? OK, but make it a triple. The Good Doctor writes: At this point, Mr Rodwell was seen to slide slowly, and not ungracefully, forward off the bench, coming to rest lying across the pedals and creating an interesting thunder effect. We all assumed this was part of the performance, but when he hadn't moved after 45 minutes, we got bored and went back to the Cider Bar. We took the ice-maker with us. Happy Christmas, all!
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