MAS­TER KEY IS MISS­ING

IN THE GREAT­EST OF IRONIES, THE MU­SI­CALLY BRIL­LIANT INFORMER IS RATHER LESS HANDY WHEN IT COMES TO TICK­LING THE IVORIES

Warwick Daily News - - Weekend - WORDS: MICHAEL JA­COB­SON

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.”

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