Pianos: Arty farty

A surprising number of tuning jobs require compulsory hi-vis wear. It's reasonable while crossing a forklift-laden space, but it can be tedious scooping back one's just-issued XXXL smock during the tuning. I'll usually scoop it right off.

You'll notice I hate lanyards too. Scooped off ASAP. If they're theatre access swipe keys they'll be tied to a belt loop at my hip (remember to wear the same trews tomorrow Goughdammit!).* Is it just me, or do the folk who wear neck lanyards to carry their Opal cards remind one of those kids at school who had their handkerchief safety-pinned to their jumper?** Perhaps it's just me. Those kids. Yup. Opal-on-a-lanyard, never! Not even when I become a pensioner. You see, I never leave home without pockets.

It makes sense to be visible if you're moving a piano on the street but it's not compulsory. Since this snap there has been an upgrade both to the carriers' truck (it now has a platform lift) and to their dolly/trolley (a sturdy aluminium frame with inflatable tyres). Looxury. The bloke up the ramp has left the group and gone solo. Well, no one goes solo in the piano-hefting business, but you know what I mean.

 Back-breaking work, above and below.

After every gallery tuning I linger over a different artwork. That's the theory, at least. "The ringer looks around and he's beaten by a blow..." which I thought (as a youngster) meant he'd been hit over the head with a descant recorder. When I was a toddler my mother would gently place a recorder in my mouth and say 'blow', so I thought that was the instrument's name. It's all part of the rich tapestry that lead me to become a professional musician.

How wonderful that the universe should provide me with a descant recorder at my tuning on the very day I didn't specifically need nor want one. What are the odds? It's not a classy instrument, but a fipple fit for purpose to be drooled into by a two-year-old. It seems gross now (kind of, having met the two-year-old in question) but it was fine when my mother got me to make a sound at a similar stage of life. Don't let two-year-olds drool into your piano.

I'm compelled to dub this daubing Ramming the Shears.

In a snooty university hall I spy this bloke above the piano.

I reason that if he were able to overcome the epithet 'Barff' and rise to the esteemed offices of Warden and Registrar, I can only assume that it's because the term was not in use back then. Indeed, it came on the scene in the US in 1960, "to vomit or retch". I saw a truck with the licence plates BARFF outside a bottle shop in Bathurst (yeah, yeah, Barffhurst). Clearly the town's Barney Gumble. There's no photo to prove it, so you'll have to slum it with other finds...

...on booz...

...and winez which was (somewhat disappointingly) a commercial vehicle, not just a punter celebrating chardonnay with personalised piss plates. Yes, we call booze 'piss'. To be pissed is to be drunk (not angry... to be angry is to be is to be pissed off). Folk using the Americanism 'pissed' when they mean 'pissed off' really pisses me off... but I digress.

Next to the piano in a snooty house. Ornate frames tickle my fancy and funny bone. What kicked that off?

 This stunning giant mirror in my room at the Ikon Hotel in Burnie, Tasmania. It's impossible to convey its impressive dimensions - twelve feet tall if it's an inch, just leaning against the wall. It's a heck of a statement, curious and wonderful. I presume the piano carriers installed it.

I shared the experience with a mate. It built on our already-rich riff that those signs with people's names on them held by drivers near airport baggage carousels should look like this. Since then we have evoked similar imagery for mock-ceremonial mirth at every turn.

I found this in my mother's shed. I'll wager she's cooking up a succulent Mona Lisa that gradually becomes a succulent Dorian Gray. As long as she doesn't confuse Round-Up with regicide. 

Gilty as charged. Yes, I said gilty.

Rupert Bunny's titular work. Cazzbo, I don't think that's how you're supposed to use the term 'titular'. I had no idea such fine strokes could be made using a cottontail as a brush, but Peter Rabbit was a superb artist. He called this work Summer time. I call it Perimenopause.

A private home. I used my portable light clamped to the piano to ensure that the open lid was stable. Alternatively I'd have to remove the the painting, move the piano out from the wall - or both. If the lid can't be opened stably to beyond 90 degrees for tuning, it is a bloody pain in the arts. Yes, I said arts. Upright pianos should not be rammed hard up against walls - give them a wee bit of breathing space for better sound (not to mention better access for the poor technician). Moving a piano every time you have to service it is a wee bit ridiculous, but not uncommon.

Gallery sights...

...and al fresco, soothed by the sound of an oboe busker. Another term for the oboe is the whittlehorn (but I digress).

The piano is just to the right. There is nothing more entertaining than folks' decor decisions. Behold, The Kramer. 

Back in the real gallery, this enormous tapestry was at least three pianos long (or wide). I've used an imprecise-to-the-point-of-being-laughable measure, in the great tradition of olympic swimming pools and Sydney Harbours. This detail, which I call The Two-Phoned Crone, reminds me of someone I know.

I loved this one. But I forgot to note its title nor creator. In lieu I will call it No WestCONnex until further notice.

Each visit, something new.

Hey, get yourself an free edu-ma-cation.

I found these eyes in a piano. Surveillance has gone too far. But on the upside, I can convert each Rupert Bunny into a Mambo masterpiece next time I visit the AGNSW.

In a friend's kitchen.

Normally I'd change the names, but here I think they should just stay. One day I'd like to be snooty and rich enough to ensure that someone acquired something in this manner. It's not so likely. Nice selfie, Cazzbo.

Here's art, the reflection of one piano in the glossy cabinet of another. The Piano Olympics. This was a surreal job. It was a time when several pianos on the stage were shuffled and dealt out to competitors.

It can be amusing when clients cite their piano's brand. Away from the piano they often get it as wrong as is possible, in effect calling a Nissan a Toyota. But when reading their aged clunker's fallboard decal's cursive script they squint and stumble. I can hear them squinting over the phone (my ears are that good). It reminds me of when Bart Simpson (finding himself at a different school) is exposed as not being able to read cursive script.

"Let's start by reading this sentence."

Bart launches off squintingly "Two wintin...". I too grew up in a place and era that had pensioned off those 2-style Q letters. I love his little rounded mouth forming (his attempt at) the first syllable, and how every kid in the class is seeing what the new kid can deliver.

So it's like trying to read this. But back to pianos, I'm a klutz at German pronunciation so you never need to be embarrassed telling me the name of your piano as you read it.

An Airbnb (I can't believe that has become a word) piano is deemed not fit for purpose, unless the purpose is to just shut up and look pretty. On the upside, the delightful decor boasts a portrait of one of King Henry the Eighth's wives' cats.

But which one?

Let's get homely, homies. Folks' decor and bunting always entertains. I don't know much about folk art, but I know what I hate. And that is most folk art.

Many a cross stitch and some that weren't so angry.

Beethoven. Clever and skilful, but not my cup of tea (in wall art form).

Chopin loved the black keys.

And who could forget the legacy of Scubert (sic)? Supply your own B-natural.

Was I shopping for piano tools online or googling keywords like 'piano tuner? I can't remember, it was a while ago. Somehow I stumbled across the following. Suffice it to say that these book covers are troubling at best, and misleading about the nature of service calls at worst.

In the interest of tidying up, lest the fuzz bust down my door and seize my laptop, I'll just leave these here...

** Yes, yes, I understand that folk have photo IDs that they must display at all times. Still, corporate-style neck-lanyard bunting reminds me of shows like Utopia. It's great that the corporation 'look' is so easy to recreate in parody. I've never really graced a 'normal' workplace, although I've had a photo ID. I'm by-and-large spared.

** Sweater or jersey, if you must.

The Piano Tuner's School Days

Cazzbo in Clunkerland

Park puddles and peregrinations

Pets and Pianos

Pianos: Punchings, scratchings, rodents and rust.

In performance: Matchbox On Ice (a stroll down amnesia lane)

In performance: Stage Time (Mic Conway)

City snaps (witness a man stealing his own bicycle)