Pianos: Magic carpet ride

Hey, the piano is meant to be here but it ain't.

That carpet reminds me of this Shepparton cow.

I told you of my trip to Kirribilli Shanty.

Inside the shanty there's a cinema room. Just kidding. This room is in a home for the perpetually bewildered. I have to detune the piano to honky-tonk to accompany the silent fillums. Kidding again. It reminds me of reading an interview with our esteemed sensei in Piano School.  After having tuned beautifully for Winifred Atwell he was called back to slightly detune each unison.  She had allegedly been discombobulated by a clean-sounding tuning. One of the odder tales. A neglected piano may scream with jangly unisons that the average punter might describe as 'honky-tonk'. Further, the whole shape of the tuning across the keyboard also changes. Pianos don't go flat evenly, some parts move more than others. Parts of the piano can go sharp. It is obvious to a good aural tuner what has happened.

Art gallery sights.

An empty piano truck is a good thing to see. It means the piano will soon be onstage and available for me to tune.

I saw this truck while out walking. Such a cartoony name and font.

It's the obverse of this Simpsons moment.

I was chatting to one of the carriers, then I channelled the Wolfman who is famed for his excellent photographic portraiture. I picked up my device and took a snap. "What's that for?' he asked. 'Fun.' I replied. 

The piano goes into the State Theatre's cage lift...

...and out onto the stage.

You know a venue is ruly when fluoro vests are dispensed in a vending machine.

A stealthy snap. I feel a bit fearful doing this sort of thing, but figure it is harmless unless someone punches you. You have to read the situation. I have a mate (a former Opera colleague) who publishes the most astonishing street photography (of people) every single day on Facebook. His shots are the most artful I've seen. Brilliant. He is constantly publishing strangers' images. It is the world we live in, we should not fear it. Conversely, I'm less keen to learn that facial recognition software has been quietly trained on the punters at our major sporting venues. Ne'er mind, I don't care for sport.

Coffee has my back at a way-too-early corporate job.  The piano is yet to arrive. I'm here because the window for actual tuning is almost non-existent. A freezing shed space is being transformed into some sort of conference venue.

Here comes the piano lid.

The walls are leaky louvres and the winter wind is whistling in. There are no heaters down this end of the room. The worry with this sort of job is that the room is arctic now, but by the time the heaters have taken effect and the joint is jumping with warm-blooded conference attendees, the piano's tuning may well have changed. The strategy is do my best then advise the clients to protect the piano until showtime. It is what it is.

The carriers have left me a horse blanket. I use it. I tell the clients to take the blanket off when the piano needs to look pretty, but don't lift the lid until it's actually showtime. That wall beyond the piano is also a series of meshy louvres, more like a fence. It's icy-cold and windy.

I'm not sure why, but I don't fancy dining with brass coloured eating irons.

Sometimes knifey-spoony clatter can be annoying while tuning, but it's not as bad as vacuuming (to try to hear through). This was a smoking area in a pub.

It evokes the Simpsons parody of Crocodile Dundee, the birth of knifey spoony. It's a silly throw-away joke, but certain types of nerds will (and do) discuss how it could be so, and what the actual rules of the game might be.

An azalea bloom in my garden.

I placed a bench seat in my front yard and created a secret potted garden opposite the seat. I don't have a front verandah but I have made another (sort of) nice place to be. Sitting in the front yard is underrated. One has to make the most of a small city plot.

My Pocketty-Flappington geraniums are providing joyous colour.

Blooming marvellous. I've mentioned Charles Pocketty-Flappington (Esquire) before. He's a pianist and self-styled entrepreneur of note. He has embarked on a personal gardening propagation odyssey. He gave me geraniums and succulents. I would never say 'no' to any garden offering. I hitherto had zero interest in geraniums but they've won me over with their simple charms.

Perhaps it's time for a sneaky stroll around the Pocketty-Flappington garden.

He built the pergola and strung up the plants. He has clever ways of tempting skilled and earnest vagrants to provide cheap labour. The pots can be moved and hung under shelter for the harsh winters in our nation's capital.

A gorgeous bouquet. Well done, Charlie.

A Flappington feline.

I'm back in Sydney. Follow the flowers and you're likely to find the piano.

The level of gussying for these events never ceases to amaze me. It's a private house that is far bigger than my humble urban block of land. The yard adjoins the beach. I guess the beach is theirs, too. Insane. A massive clear-roofed marquee has been erected for a wedding. Such marquee environments are harsh for pianos.

A 'highlight' was spying bridesmaids wearing silk robes, part Hugh Hefner, part boxer entering the stadium. The robes had their names and roles embroidered on the back. I wish I'd be able to steal a snap.

At least there are plastic walls. Moments later they started rolling up the plastic and opening the sides of the marquee. Gah. I hinted that it would help the piano if the walls directly near it could stay closed a little longer. I doubt my words had much impact.


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