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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #63
Humid Music
David Gunn
It's Humor in Music Day this afternoon on Episode 63 of the New Music Bazaar and Sesquiradial Phonic Network, a day to celebrate the near births of wacky composers Sir Art Bliss and William Schuman, as well as to mourn the anniversarial passings of alliteratively amusing geezers Grinling Gibbons and Ferdinand Frobenius -- two guys tangentially related to the music biz with patently normal funnybones who set the late 17th and 19th centuries respectively on their collective ears with unparalleled acts of sheer comedic bravado, feats which stand the test of time and generate bellylaughs even today, or more likely tomorrow, since, due to logistical discombobulation, that's the first chance we'll have to discuss these actions -- and to anticipate the births of funny folks to come.

This day, Saturday, in history is rife with musically witty events. In 1492, balladeer Christopher Columbus boarded a ship moored in a Portuguese harbor intending to provide entertainment for the captain's surprise birthday pigroast. Wine and tequila flowed continually, like rubber water at a drip-dry clown academy. Soon after Chris began to sing, the ship broke loose from its anchor and began to drift seaward. Before any of the by-now tipsy revelers realized what had happened, they were involuntarily making 20 knots in the direction of the end of the world. We know, of course, about the adventures of the plucky sea voyagers, but what of Columbus' on-board musical endeavors? The truth is, the crew rapidly grew weary of his music, and when he commenced his 230th set of songs, they turned hostile and threw his sheet music overboard, ate his guitar, and threatened to snip his vocal chords. Columbus, no dummy, instantly embarked on a new career as explorer, and the rest is history.

Another witty action occurred on this date 104 years ago when former Massachusetts Sunday School teacher Lizzie Borden incorporated her parents into what has since been termed the first American performance art. In her eyes, she rendered them into interlocking bite-sized morsels with a hand tool. In the snooty opinion of the eminent New England Art News, "Elizabeth Borden Silences Critics, Mum and Dad with Neuvo Ax Art." Equally ahumorous law enforcement officials accused her of murder. A year later, her crafty defense attorney agreed to a plea bargain which resulted in the charge being reduced to acquittal.

Other funny people with an attachment to today include Warren G. Harding -- whose slapstick antics drove a humor-hungry voting public to elect him to the presidency -- and your humble radiophonic servants, Kalvos & Damian, who stress that this portion of the New Music Bazaar -- not to be confused with that portion known as le flambeau oriange, which follows directly -- is being simultaneously translated into Alien for the convenience of those of you with transmitter implants in your teeth and napes.

Funny music is as funny music does, and what better place to is it than here at WGDR, and what better doer than its very own precursor, if that's possible, which in this case it is, which, unless I have this thought process badly askew, is Kalvos.