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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #165
Beano Bengaze
David Gunn

Beano Bengaze was a musical shaman, the last remaining member of the Tandemerol Clan, which itself was all that was left of the Order of the Skull of Montovani after the horrific onslaught by the Sphagnum Parsons which, of course, is another story. Beano's mystical powers were legend, though his own existence was frequently in doubt. He was thought to be hundreds of years old, but always two months shy of qualifying for Social Security. Although he could walk through walls, he apparently couldn't see through them, and when he occasionally bumped into electrical conduits, air conditioning ducts or nesting termites, his equilibrium short-circuited, and he lapsed into a parallel universe. Nevertheless, his magic was indeed great. His annual ASCAP, BMI and MCI dues were paid on time without his ever having to writing out a check. It was said he could turn the washing instructions for sneaker inserts into a massive arts grant award lasting ten years. Although he didn't play an instrument, musical snippets swirled about him like hungry pangolins stalking a freshly stocked ant farm. They say much of Beano's magic came from his prayer pipe, a briar meerschaum on which basso-relievo nymphs with timpani danced the fandango. He smoked it whenever he pondered a puzzle, or pummeled pumpkin, or panhandled a parvenu. He filled his pipe with neither tobacco nor herbs, but rather a mysterious mélange whose contents baffled even the pharmacologists at Eli Lily. The aroma smelled equally of cedar, rust, a sizeable tax refund, and tincture of Anbesol. The pipe emitted sounds, too -- acoustical events that bordered on music the way Taiwan borders on mainland China. There was no apparent meter or structure to it. Notes gave up their association with bar lines and moved freely through staves following a Mobius strip-like course, sometimes crashing into the rear of themselves if they got going too fast. And the music was strangely intoxicating, like table wine left in the freezer for a week affects a goat.

Among Beano's many amazing acts of legerdemain was apple staring. It is said that after gazing at a pippin for 20 minutes, it began to leak the title song from a soon-to-be-released major motion picture. After 30 minutes, a band and recording studio had been hired, and after an hour, a CD of the entire soundtrack had been released, reviewed, and recommended. As a bonus, the core of the apple transmogrified into naturally-occurring Freon. Scrutinizing other types of apples produced equally remarkable results, not the least of which was a monthly stipend from Reinhold Gliere performance royalties.

Beano lived in an aerosol cabin that floated six feet off the ground deep in the New Hampshire desert, alone save for the spirit of Weasel Slayer, the bi-nosal warrior ancestor of Otto Lummer who inhabited a chink in the chimney. The cabin, like a similar structure mentioned in a recent Saturday afternoon narrative, shared its portion of reality with a breach in the time-space continuum through which fogdogs paddled en route to enigmatic encounters with clarinet choirs. The ensuing ripples produced Klein bottle like effects in topologic time -- that is, they had neither insides nor outsides. The universes simply leaked universal constant constituents back and forth to one another, an occurrence in the metaphysical world known as dilemme de le flambeau oriange.

While no such problem currently exists on Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, be assured that we have more than our share of predicaments to overcome, not the least of which is accounting for the sudden non-appearance of a scheduled guest on today's 165th episode, an event that not even Beano Bengaze could remedy. But we have cobbled together our own solution, and that begins forthwith with a few mumbles from Kalvos.