Pianos: Toot, Toot, Tootsie!

Mirror, mirror on the ceiling. Pastel pink is unappealing. 

BC (before COVID) I chased event hire pianos all over town, confronting opulence at every turn. Now I'm mostly relegated to passing judgement on the decor in your piano room at home.

Mirror, mirror on the floor. Three ain't right, there should be four. 

My girly way of inspecting a piano's troubled tootsie. The Caped Regulators (piano pamperers to the stars... and you) must solve the mystery of the missing mobility aid.

It's the piano doctors to the rescue with an enormous array of tools. We'll tilt that tilter then use it to tilt the piano.

One wheel has been torn right off.

This random solid block of hardwood was being used under the corner with the missing wheel. The perfect height, it served well.

Examining the other wheels provides insight into why one had failed.

A flat plate held by four very stubby screws is inadequate for the needs of a piano that weighs 250-odd kilograms. It seems the casters had been changed to provide firm rubber double wheels for a piano that is moved a lot. Unfortunately the upgrade was an unwitting downgrade. The flat plate fittings lack the shafts that should extend up into each corner of the piano (which the original brass wheels would have had).

The Caped Regulators have trodden this path before. A troubled domestic piano tootsie awaits a wheel replacement job.

And another. This old dear (the piano, not the client) has been shoddily shod many times. Photos like this may help educate clients that one cannot simply quote over the phone to replace one broken piano wheel. There may be a lot of woodworking needed. If one wheel has obviously failed it is likely that others may, too, be compromised. Replacement parts are probably from a different manufacturer and are unlikely to be identical to the existing parts.

On occasion Superhero Tech has had to manufacture hardwood sleeves in the workshop. Ain't no one paying the true cost of such expertise, time, materials and myriad crazy big tools.

Previous pedicure pictured. The newly-fitted wheel (with stem extending into the piano cabinet) is the upper in the shot. The difference in height won't be a problem. If a pernickety person declared this unacceptable, the customised woodworking and tools required to resolve the perceived issue would jump up tenfold. And any technician's hourly fiscal recompense will be diminished to half a rusty razoo, in the old money.

Back to the red-carpeted institution of creative learning. The remaining three wheel units are removed from the piano. They'd be fine fitted to a triangular desk, I guess.

I attempt an exploded diagram to educate the client about the repair and parts. The hardwood sleeve must fit snugly into the central hole. The wheels' fittings fit therein. Piece of cake. Oh, yes, I'd love one thanks.

Despite the surrounding damage, the wheel can be fitted securely. Three more to go. This piano needs four quality double-casters. It now has them. The cosmetic damage to surrounding wood and veneer is best ignored. The piano is able to be safely and efficiently moved, and in schools and studios and the like, one probably shouldn't be too fussy about cosmetic troubles at ankle-height. Everything can be fixed, but at what cost? You can quote me, but this is not a quote.

Two types of 'toot'. Let's deal with the first.

Putting the 'toot' in tootsie. My other job, onstage hi-jinks tooting these types of horns (all mothballed right now). I would not, under any circumstances, say 'yes' to any type of performance work at this time. With COVID-19 at large, it is inconceivable. I'm fine with this situation, until things are radically different... and that won't be any time soon.

The esteemed and amiable Greg Poppleton is a dab hand at the selfie. He'd have splashed us on 'the socials' that very night, whereas I rarely reference specific gigs, never post photos on Facebook, and don't tend to time-stamp anything within this blog.

A festival memory.

The trio struts its stuff for a classy corporate shindig.

Greg's chequered past. Oh, it's the lighting. This Sydney Festival season was my last gig before a certain worldwide pandemic smacked performances right out of the park. It is what it is. All is well.

A sneaky stage snap reveals just how rock 'n' roll our muso lifestyles can be. Guitar guru Grahame Conlon gets down, baby... or is it across?

Pianos: truth in fridge magnet form at a domestic tuning job.

And now to the other 'toot'. Are you across the rich, archaic vernacular with which I'm imbued? No? Well, you are now. It's my duty as an Aussie to bring this knowledge to you.

Another domestic job. Another 'toot'. Sometimes a tradie needs to find the smallest room in the house. I'm galled to find these decorative stylings. A plush fabric covering on the lid...

...and the seat. No. Just no.

I'm no fan of those horrid shaggy mats folk (used to) have in their toilet rooms to soak up splashed piss. But this is next-level revolting. 

Hideous, senseless, unsanitary and absurd. Don't worry, that client will never read this.

Homer (bursting for a toilet break) is drawn into reverie by seeing the destination Flushing Meadows on a bus.

His scamper through a field of lid-flapping lavatories culminates in a Busby Berkeley overhead. Now back to actual sightings from my tuner travels.

Another toilet in a piano house. Astonishing. Ridiculous. But the fourth shot? Sesame Street-style (one of these things is not like the others) that toilet was spied in the main street of Trundle during their annual ABBA Festival. The whole town gussies to celebrate. This bog* has a certain legitimacy in being decorated, erm, I think. It must have been in the window of a hardware store. Such glamorous touring I do (or did) as a performer.

One more picture. Notice how plush these undesirable adornments are. Repulsive. These nonplussing knits from various 'smallest rooms' are not linked with any of the jobs or clients featured further up in this blog instalment. Anonymity is assured all the plush pooper people. They are not my readership.

Let's celebrate imaginative animation as Flushing Meadows Homer twirls and swirls into a clockwise coriolis.

Al Jolson performed the song Toot, Toot, Tootsie! in the 1927 film The Jazz Singer. The song, however, dates from 1922. It was the first feature-length motion picture with not only a synchronized recorded music score but also lip-synchronous singing and speech in several isolated sequences. Its release heralded the commercial ascendance of sound films and ended the silent film era, which must have put many a theatre pianist out of work.

* Bog. What, Cazzbo? Yet more slang terms for dunny?


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