Pianos: Popcorn and poop decks

This exhibition barn is so local that I felt compelled to ride my bicycle. Yet the navigation seemed so confusing that I felt compelled to pre-ride the route the day before. That meant that I had not one but two absurd and annoying encounters with security staff who it seems cannot countenance anyone not driving a car. What was I doing there? You can't ride across there (anywhere near the venue). You need to put your bicycle here. This involved the checkpoint goon lifting my bike to chain it to a fence whose mesh started at head height, on the distant perimeter of the precinct.

I don't always do this, but if I can, I bloody well will. Any small subversive gesture I can execute to protest against this country becoming any more ruly than it already is.

If I'm issued hi-vis, sure, I'll wear it. These exhibition set-up days are full of construction activity and forklifts, which of course makes them wonderful environments in which to tune pianos... erm. Increasingly organisers expect you to have a fluoro vest, or buy one. I traditionally resist purchase, until someone scrounges one for me.

OK, if you can't lend me one, I'll have to buy one. This is hi-vis Woodford Folk Festival-style. I was easily able to resist Woodfordia's last-day sale temptations.

Here's what I do at Woodford. Support and honour the great Mic Conway.

The Ironman Challenge. 

As I neared the relevant function room I heard intermittent white noise in the distance. Often soundies will use such a sound to whip around the various speakers to check that they are all connected. I presumed that was what was happening. I rounded the corner at the top of the stairs to find that, no, it was fine young gentlemen ironing the linen tablecloths. What could possibly be more charming than seeing a fine young gentleman doing 'women's work'. How delightful (and a bearable sound as well) I thought ,as I sneaked a snap from my piano post.

It's not strictly an event hire job, but I travelled 'overseas' to tune a cruise ship piano. There was much procedural security (don't worry - I didn't try to ride my bicycle). I cheerfully warned the guards that my bags were full of tools. Just before I stepped through the personal x-ray I realised my tuning fork was still in my pocket. Despite a recent flurry of flights, I wasn't quite in 'airport mode'. I removed the fork and handed it to the guard behind me as I then stepped through the magic door jamb. The security guard donged my tuning fork then held it up to his ear to listen, which made a refreshing change from it being treated as a threatening weapon.

The resident piano was filled with these. Wow. It's hard to know whom to feel more sorry for, Derek of Manchester, or the ship's pianist. I'd love to have heard 'What's My Scene?' purely because it seemed the most unlikely potential piano number.

As a piano technician I do not approve of this method of song request. Although who can resist Popcorn? It's so catchy. Yet every second bit I tweezed out broke into smaller pieces and fell further in. It was such a confined space there was no removing the action (or even fully lifting the lid). OK, I'm outta here. If anyone wants me, I'll be on the poop deck. Cazzbo, are you trying to say this work is giving you the...

...chance to gaze upon your old office and tell the world 'how very Sydney'? Poop deck. OK, let's not confuse blogroll with bog-roll.

Not so many planes and trains, but plenty of automobiles.

I can't be happy at any hour when a misplaced apostrophe gets top billing over Schnitzel Night.

Misplaced apostrophes everywhere. Oh, wait, that's a bank of speakers.

There'll be some live music just as soon as the piano gets up another flight of stairs. The Clive Palmer belts are out again for a venue with no lifts, by which I mean no elevators.

Little Whitey is one of the busiest pianos in the fleet. You can have a white wedding, or a white divorce, it's all good if it keeps the event hire pianos (and their tuner) busy.

Not happy, Jan. There is often precious little time to tune, let alone adjust or repair. Often the piano is backstage, in the dark, with barely enough room to shimmy up to it to tune, let alone remove the action. Right. The next time this crap happens you'll find me on the poop deck taking it a little too literally. I did get to the bottom of this (I think) and it was not the carriers (I'm serious). 'Poop'...'bottom'... stop it!

Here's that local exhibition barn again. This is the same event 363 days later. Same vibe, different piano. Phalanxes of fluoro-clad tradies. These painted themed plywood follies don't just construct themselves, you know. 

But what's the deal? More pokies than a pokestop (that's a thing right? Is that still a thing?) all plugged in and bloody blingetty-blinging away. Their sounds would well up and eclipse my consciousness. I'd think 'this is impossible' then I realised their routines were all kind of loops, and that the most decibel-laden parts of their little soundtracks would abate (a little). Interspersed with power tools it is hard to know how I heard my own blingy sounds to tune. Duck and weave, Cazzbo, duck and weave.

I should have been tuning this piano, right?

Spied on eBay, I can only presume the seller got jacked off with the lack of genuine bidders. Oh, that's a king. 'That's a fine way to treat a Steinway'. Surely it would disappoint not to evoke the Berlin Defense.

Wow, I think I've found the perfect hi-vis outfit for my next poker machine expo job, backstage at a television station. If I watched this sort of TV I'd have been quicker to recognize Spongebob Scroogepants.

The view from down here (I'm already high up, but not in the tuning).

A new production is in rehearsal. There are two uprights side by side for me to tune. They are being played together to create 'the band'. Here's the piano I'm not tuning. It was made by Noni Hazelhurst and John Hamblin with generous sponsorship from Australia Post. 

Waterfront mansions have a tendency to be down a lot of steps. Fifty, in this case. Two trucks and an augmented team of illustrious piano carriers installed the white Yamaha C7 for one night only.

My mother came to the Art Gallery to pap me at work.

Well, two can play at that game. Which game? Pokémon Go?

Speaking of poop decks, I condemned a tour-of-duty piano on a battle ship recently. But that's another story.

On the skids. There's a new truck with a lift now. Looxury.

Monochrome movers.

It's not only Goths who covet black nail polish. Shh!