MASTER KEY IS MISSING
IN THE GREATEST OF IRONIES, THE MUSICALLY BRILLIANT INFORMER IS RATHER LESS HANDY WHEN IT COMES TO TICKLING THE IVORIES
This week’s rectangle should have ended with the best one-liner Informer has ever written. Shame it’s unprintable in a family newspaper. The best I can do is present everything leading up to that great moment without actually delivering it.
Informer has smallish hands. Not unnaturally so, but hardly King Kong. Still, you know what they say about men with smallish hands. That’s right: smallish hands, thumping great ... oh, modesty forbids. What I can say is that the piano has arrived.
The good news is that the piano cost us not a penny, being donated by a friend who is decluttering as part of a move. Unfortunately, this is the only good news.
The bad news is that, while Informer has always wanted a piano, past attempts at ivory tickling have failed miserably. Those smallish hands again, you see. No matter how I stretch my carpals and metacarpals, I can only cover a few of the keys. What’s worse is that I simply cannot extract anything like a recognisable melody out of the thing. The entire instrument makes no sense to me. Like high school maths. Neither smallish hand has any idea what the other smallish hand is doing. As much as I’m all for ebony and ivory living together in perfect harmony, I don’t know where harmony starts, goes or finishes.
This ineptitude is such a shame because Informer is generally quite adept as a musician. Guitar? Not a problem. Negotiating the fretboard to deliver the prettiest of chord patterns is a mere doddle. Drums? I can paradiddle and ratamacue my way around most kits. Sing? Nightingales have been known to clam up and cower in silent envy when Informer gives the old pipes a workout.
But piano? Pitiful. I’m a fan too. One of my first musical idols was Rick Wakeman back in the ’70s, thanks to his piano and Moog-heavy
conceptual takes on the wives of Henry VIII and Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Then there was Elton John, from the delicacy of Your Song to the pounding majesty of Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.
Others followed as Informer’s musical knowledge explored and expanded. I’m talking Tom Waits, Tony Banks from Genesis, and jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Bob James (James wrote the Fender Rhodes piano theme for ’70s sitcom Taxi, and no other theme has come close to it). Among more contemporary keyboard stunners there is Bruce Hornsby. Don’t worry about anyone else. Just listen to some Bruce Hornsby, especially the early stuff. You’re welcome. As for Mrs Informer, she professes a more classical taste in the piano. She loves Mozart. Then again, she saw him live.
Yet despite Informer’s obvious appreciation for the piano and it’s finer exponents, my efforts on the instrument remain feeble. Plink, plonk, plunk. Chords that aren’t. Notes that won’t. Melodies as maladies. No forte on the pianoforte. No way on the Steinway. Mrs Informer heard me practising the other day. I was making a pig’s ear of it as usual and she, appropriately summoning the spirit of Babe, slammed the lid thingy down on my hands and screamed: “That’ll do, Informer. That’ll do.” Of course, that was easy for her to say because ... and this is where the best one-liner I’ve ever written should have come in. Oh well.
“THIS INEPTITUDE IS SUCH A SHAME BECAUSE INFORMER IS GENERALLY QUITE ADEPT AS A MUSICIAN.”