I'm not sure why 'a day at the office' continues to provide such wacky adventures, but I'm up for it. The piano has beached itself - quick, push it back in, greenies! Surreal and more than a little ridiculous, but I always find ways to work with, not agin, the situation.
By this time (above) I could feel the sun's heat on the keys, but let's backtrack a little. Just how (or should I say why) does a piano spend a morning on Manly Beach?
It was an obscenely early arrival call to prepare for the adventure of getting the piano 'beached as'. The way my camera has exposed the following shots it looks much lighter than it was.
A skilled pre-dawn manoeuvre.
Slowly but surely, with the team transferring the plywood sheets, the piano moves towards a small platform that has been erected for it.
The last piano leg goes on, with the lid next. The earnest boot camp exercisers are yet to arrive - when they do, they'll think hallucinogens have been slipped into their sports drinks. Seeing the tireless piano carriers in long sleeves is unusual - but long pants, utterly exceptional.
Let there be light (TV light). The clock behind, on the Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club, is at precisely 6am. The shadow from that light stretches all the way to the edge of the beach.
Dew on the lid. A whingy residents' noise rule meant no start for me until 7am (notionally) despite having arrived at 5.30am (working with the info that the piano had to be in situ by 6 and ready by 7). No biggie, roll with it. Never mind that traffic on North Steyne was louder than anything I might have done tuning! Still, I had a little play and decided what I was going to do when I got the chance, in the tiny window I had. No point starting with that condensation, and knowing that conditions would change markedly in the next many minutes. In the interim I chatted with the crew (got all the goss) and gratefully received an egg and bacon roll and coffee.
This, like the infamous 'pool piano' [photo] [blog entry] was another situation where having the lid open was potentially adding to the troubles, so I recommended microphones that enabled the lid to be closed (which happened) and said that if they were to go to air with the lid open that the opening should happen seconds before each of the two broadcast segments. I likened it to a nude movie shoot where the model would be in the robe until seconds before the actual take... which just got all the crew picturing naked women!
As the sun considered joining us, some bold punters got snapping. Photographing a photographer, I found I'd fluked a neat illusion: Look, a tiny person earnestly salutes the sun from atop the piano. Lilliputians, please note - beach pianos are not yoga mats!
The crew purposefully covered the small platform with sand, to create the perfect beach piano image. I was glad I wasn't yet tuning as literal spade-work and bucketing ensued. Shovels full of sand were being thrown toward the piano (in a controlled manner). I entertained myself quipping, "I bet you haven't played with a bucket and sand since you were five years old." keeping the mood light, then carefully dusted sand off the pedal lyre.
I'm quite sure this is not taught at Media School.
Finally, my brief moment in the sun.
I didn't feel warm enough to take a layer of clothing off, but also, there were so few (theoretically) sand-free places to put stuff. There was just one of the plywood sheets behind the boom rig, which I kept as sand-free as possible. On it I had my bags, and the piano's doona (duvet). Perhaps it was because (like the piano) I should still be home snuggled up in bed.
'I think I've got sand in my G-string'. When else would that joke play so well?
Finally, Tim Freedman sings and sweeping boom camera shots make the whole thing look pretty cool. I did my best to make it sound pretty cool.
The event? Part of the flurry, or media circus, that is the heady and volatile world of breakfast television. I never skip breakfast, but I give all breakfast TV the widest-possible berth (unless I'm engaged in gainful employment). At the conclusion I supervised the removal of radio microphones from inside the piano, carefully covered it with the doona (the sun's baking warmth now significant) and contacted the piano carriers. By now crew members were shovelling and scraping sand again, but this time away from the piano, to reveal the platform.
This scene repeatedly played in my head as I advised a sequence of tuning clients on how they could potentially improve the locations of their pianos within their houses... a series of encounters where sofas seemed to have the 'upper hand'.
I picture this piano telling the others back at the storage facility, 'Last night I dreamed I was on a beautiful beach...'.