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271361 Thomas Bruce <tom.bruce.trb@g...> 2020‑07‑02 Re: Call for ingenuity: loosening a wooden screw

You weren't at North Texas State, were you?  And, yeah, actually, as it
happens, I have a pretty good idea how many times you can play the Faure
Requiem.  I dated, and very nearly married, a working cellist in Boston.
Most of her year's income was earned between November 1 and January 15,
which is pretty much Messiah season in Boston -- and she was playing for
every baroque ensemble in town (there are 5 that pay well).   I became
deeply familiar with the treatment of tendonitis, and the tedious but
important process of selecting cello shoes (must meet dress codes for BSO,
Handel and Haydn, Cecilia, and Pops, be flat, and non-slip, which is
actually a fairly demanding set of criteria).   There are any number of
stories from that era, but my favorites involve 1) a four-cello version of
"Shattered", which works amazingly well; 2) 49 lobsters, a baroque cello, a
modern cello, and herself in a Honda Civic driving from southern Maine to
Wilton, NH (write your own punch line; she thought the lobsters would get
loose in the car and the authorities would find her bleached bones stripped
of all flesh in the car), and 3) the night that I persuaded her and a
half-dozen of her baroque-ie colleagues to join me in seeing Gang of Four
at a club called Spit.   Everyone involved had a surprisingly good time.

Also, in a former life, I stage-managed four Traviatas and did monitor mix
for a Missing Persons tour in the course of one year and three months.
 For a year after that, anything in waltz time caused me to go full Oedipus
with a pair of screwdrivers.  I can only image what too many Moonglows
could do to you.


On Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 6:53 AM Robert Brazile  wrote:

> Tom,
> Just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart (or gut, perhaps) for
> that story. I couldn't stop laughing this morning when I read it, then read
> it to my wife, who similarly cracked up.
> FWIW, I made spending money in high school and college playing somewhat
> similar gigs with the other members of the rhythm section of my high school
> and college jazz band. In Dallas of that era, while NYE was a thing, that
> was mostly for the union cats. For people like me, it was three other times
> of year: Easter (that was violin, though: you have no idea how many times
> I've played Faure's "Requiem" and Dubois "The Seven Last Words of Christ",
> but it was excellent money), Christmas (Vivaldi "Gloria", Handel
> "Hallelujah Chorus") and the spring time Rotary/Kiwanis/Lions/KofC/Masons
> banquet circuit. This was the late 70s and the mostly WW2-veteran aged
> crowd had an infinite appetite for Great American Songbook standards played
> by a small trio of (cheap) high school students. Had a fake book and a
> Reader's Digest compendium of "America's Favorite Songs" or something like
> that: hey kids, can we get another run through "Moonglow"...?
> The most memorable for me was having to sit through the guest speaker at
> one of those gigs who was a grifter of some kind there to explain how the
> syncopated nature of that evil rock music was designed to weaken not just
> the moral fiber of good Americans but the physical fiber as well: he
> proceeded to demonstrate how the melody of "Can't Get No Satisfaction"
> would cause you to lose strength in your arms. I kid you not, he had some
> poor woman come up to the lectern, where he would have her lift something
> like a small dumbbell with her arm straight out, have her hold it for a few
> moments, then play the first few bars of "Satisfaction" on a tape deck.
> Amazingly, she couldn't lift it as far or hold it up as long the second
> time! I know, shocked us, too. We generally were able to keep from
> sniggering too loudly at these affairs, but it was tough sometimes...
> They were nice old folks, though, they loved us because we were clean cut,
> relatively speaking (what hair I had back then), polite, and knew the
> "real" music. And they paid us well, for high school kids. I'm sure union
> musicians would have had other thoughts.
> Robert
> p.s. wish I had a solution to your stuck screw. Soaking it in something
> like penetrating oil is the first thing that comes to mind, but that might
> have other bad effects. Good luck!
> On Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 8:13 AM Thomas Bruce 
> wrote:
>> Folks:
>> I have, here in my hot little hand, the handle from a Millers Falls
>> Alford-type hand vise.  At the moment, its highest and best future use
>> might be as a sort of maraca, because I can hear the rattle of tiny parts
>> and bits inside when I shake it.
>> And, sadly for you, that reminds me of a story.  I have a good friend who
>> worked for some years as a gigging guitarist in New York.  He lucked into
>> one of those bread-and-butter jobs that working musicians badly need,
>> working as an orchestra contractor for a caterer who ran a number of large
>> banquet halls in the Bronx.  Now, as some of you may know, every -- by
>> which I mean EVERY -- musician in a large city who has a union card works
>> on New Year's Eve. In fact, there's usually a shortage in the metro New
>> York area.  And so it was that my friend found himself working a New
>> Year's
>> Eve party with himself as the guitarist, a keyboard guy, a bass player,
>> and
>> a "percussionist" who was horribly late.  When the guy finally did show
>> up,
>> he had with him....a pair of maracas.  And that was it.  A pair of
>> maracas.
>> The band struggled through the evening, as you might imagine, with the
>> gentle, sometimes amplified shake-shake-shake of the maracas accompanying
>> popular party hits.  Finally, at 1 AM, a rather well-lubricated member of
>> the audience staggered up to the stage and said, "Can you guys play
>> 'Stairway to Heaven'?".  My pal snapped. "Look at us," he said, through
>> clenched teeth.  " LOOK AT US.  LOOK. AT. US.  DO WE *LOOK* LIKE WE CAN
>> Anyway, I'd like to expand the use of the Alford vise handle beyond its
>> potential as half of a pair of maracas by unscrewing the cap and rescuing
>> whatever's inside, but the damn thing is stuck.  A judicious application
>> of
>> paraffin based bicycle chain lube loosened it some, but it's still stuck;
>> guessing the whole thing is both swollen and dry.   Anybody got any good
>> ideas for what to do?  I did try clamping it in a soft-jawed vise and
>> using
>> one of those strap-type jar openers, but no dice.
>> Advice, and renditions of Stairway to Heaven on non-traditional
>> instrument,
>> are welcome.
>> All the best,
>> T.
>> --
>> +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
>> Thomas R. Bruce
>> tom.bruce.trb@g...
>> +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
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Thomas R. Bruce
https://workingtools.biz  (for vintage wo
odworking and machinist tools)
https://tombrucemusic.space  (for elec
tronic music)

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