Pianos: Calligraphy, coffee and cats.

The florid art case of a (or an!) historic harpsichord beside the instrument we intend to tend. In a (or an!) hospitable transgression it was used by the maid as a coffee table. No. Just no. What? Having a maid? No, simply such a service surface selection. It was clearly easier than balancing a tray atop the harp languishing nearby.

My succulents have produced micro-flowers. My camera wore a jeweller's eyepiece for this shot while I wore a frock of tit-for-tat taffeta. When I'm onstage with the great Mic Conway and he tap dances, I'm compelled to discuss this garment in all its onomatopoeic detail. Gardeners with more confidence might congratulate themselves on timely tending. I view each flower as the plant saying, 'Avenge my death, child!' 

Life's Little Mysteries #37. Who is the missing celebrity? I figure someone might be able to make Sudoku-style sense of that gap.

Life's Little Mysteries #42. What were musicians called before they were called musicians? Let's peel back the onion-like layers of lexicographic history and learn. Toting a sousaphone, I figure I qualify on both counts: Jazz musician and disabled.

It's not quite analogous to those Japanese display menu items (pretty plastic foodstuff) because this used to be a real piano. This sign is code for 'we won't pay for tuning, maintenance nor disposal'.

Budding genius.

'More flies than a barbecue'. It could be a thing piano technicians say, but it isn't. Fly dampers are the little extra attachments above some normal dampers. Towards the bottom of the treble bridge (in the mid-to-low range of the piano) the strings' larger vibration patterns give the trichord dampers a tough assignment. 

The flat dampers found further up have already transitioned to 'W' dampers (there is one you can glimpse nestling in between the strings). A 'W' is still not always enough. Many pianos have no flies, many have one or two. This is quite a picnic.

Dedicated readers may recall the time when the Caped Regulators took on a piano move (within a house). The client had intelligently prepared for the event. She'd created an effigy of the piano out of a bloody big piece of butcher's paper. Where was that bloody big butcher? The piano was installed as per her butcher's order. Finally some sense of that nonsensical nook was made.

She decided to carpet the nook and we were at it again. Seconded for a second move, well, a third, actually. 'Park the piano here' (in front of the linen press doors). I swear I nearly swore (I probably did) when the neatly parked piano had to be shimmied well away from the wall for access to linen she'd forgotten to get out earlier! Gah!


The roof has eyes. The loneliness of the long-distance piano tuner (my esteemed partner in piano pampering) is abated by this little sidekick's assistance and hijinks.

I really did this! No news is good news if you think that this is news. Perhaps while I'm here I can help their editors.

With a Steinway frame having been sprayed in the workshop, I'm noticing anew the surfeit of sloppy non-factory lettering work to be found around town. I wouldn't relish the Artbrush Challenge, but there has to be a way to improve on this.

Dubious daubings.

This appears to be paint, but I have heard tales of pesky shopkeeps having a go with a texta. Perhaps they should stick to playing their favourite fragments of  Buy This Piano, Madam and trying to trill on the till, 'Kaching-ding-ding'. 

Perhaps it's a job for an old-fashioned calligraphy artist. I'll try Ye Olde Printe Shoppe.

I see things on the way to jobs and think, 'I must snap that as I leave'. I invariably forget. Sometimes I do it before - then it gets done. When I leave I often drive off in a different direction and thus am not prompted about whatever remarkable sight caught my eye. This sign, mounted way too high for easy reading, still rankled. The playing of ball games is prohibited. What about the playing of punching games?

This Blüthner's treble section is unusually flared. The flanges (where the hammers attach to the action rail) are angled by design so that the hammers are spread further to the right (to match the strings' position). It is more usual for the hammer shanks to be more vertical. It had another story to tell...

...is it sporting the legacy of having been too sporting? Or taking the clichéd theatre epithet too far? Is this school an equal opportunity employer?

It's a laudable but ugly fortification. Not. My. Problem.  

Piano technicians may have reservations about this craze.

Toolkitty cat. This kitty sat there for so long that I considered making a time-lapse film.

I'm obsessed with filming and editing little movies on my iThings to share with like-minded mates. I pepper my filmlets with mildly amusing fare as I gad about this fair city and beyond. Sometimes such seasonings make it to this blog. I cannot believe I felt I was in such a rush between jobs this day that I didn't take the time to lift the wiper blade and see just what the threat entailed. Top marks for apostrophe placement, however.

Spied in another colleague's workshop, a centre pin holder. An elderly technician (who was less elderly at the time) used to make these nifty items and sell them to fellow technicians at guild meetings. Observe a centre pin extractor/insertion tool and centre pin cutters to the side. 

Centre pins are little axles used widely in piano actions and some other pivoting parts. Repinning of action parts may be required due to the pin (and joint) being either too tight or too loose. Each centre pin is surrounded by bushing cloth. Wooden action parts and the bushing cloth may expand with increased humidity, causing sluggish movement. 

Centre pins are usually nickel-plated brass or German silver. The sizes of pins increase by .025 of a millimetre. Size 19 is 1.2mm in diameter. The most commonly-used size is 21.5 (1.325mm) by evolution it has proved to be the most useful size. 

To address looseness, larger sized pins are used as replacements. This is legitimate, unless the bushing cloth is overly worn or damaged. By the time one might be tempted to use the largest sizes, the viability of the piano may already be called into question. 

Red sales in the sunset.