Scene4 Magazine: Claudine Jones |
Claudine Jones
Tu m'agaces

March 2013

I get myself on a raging torrent of disappointment with award shows—nominations, creative differences, artistic aims, politics—and then I climb up the muddy bank & rest my weary head & dismiss it all.  I go to sleep with a smile on my face, thinking about a certain soon-to-be five-year-old who calls me all kinds of crazy names, including rhyming defecatory epithets.  All in fun, of course, but that's why I can slumber & forget the days troubles.

Next day I will check in on Facebook, even though I've said 'enough'! Anything based on algorithms should be eschewed. But how else would I discover that my buddy is up for a local theater circle award second year in a row for the same role in the same production? Didn't win this year, but that doesn't take away the fun from last year. 

And I can take the coward's way out & message a friend to discover what I already knew in my heart: that my dear voice teacher is gone.  I saw her the week before Christmas, there in her studio, next to her Steinway, post-stroke & in a morphine-induced sleep; lightly made-up & wearing a snazzy cardigan I think I recognized; I think she would rather her mouth were not hanging open, but otherwise it's a loving scenario & I get to say good-bye even if she doesn't hear it.

I want to tell her about the loony repertoire our chorale is settling on; what should I do about the well-meaning vocal relaxation crap they tell us to practice. She would say 'never argue, just smile & nod & do your own thing'.  Should I press for another solo opportunity? Marta Eggerth kept singing past 90; hell, I've still got a bunch of pitches (ooo, pun alert) left in the old arm. And I have been told that it would be a welcome addition to the program, so I do make my plans. I let rest the old demon who whispered know all your music by heart before the ink is dry  so my sessions with sheet music are so much more pleasant than the root canals they used to be.

*                    *                       *

Yesterday, my piano tuner was here; hadn't seen him in so long & back in the day he was totally above average cute & we would chat while he worked & he would smile at my Knabe in appreciation of its goodwill & cooperation over the years.  This time I called him as a result of a couple of weeks of new insanity that stemmed from an unfortunate (depending on your POV) inspiration for a midnight random search on Craigslist for another player piano; I want to pedal, not purr; I want no juice, just jazz from my feet & my Weber upright Pianola has leaking pneumatics, so no pumping, just flip the switch.

This search led me three miles away to a Cable Upright Euphona—built to last, they say; bulletproof—I got my ducks in a row: shifted many pieces of furniture to accommodate possible newcomer; based on seller's original information, I called around for moving quotes; talked to Pianola cronies; checked out the possibility of sale/commission of my Knabe console with the original dealer. Which brings us directly back to Steve, the piano guy.  It seems trying to sell an out-of-tune piano is not such a good idea, plus if I got him over here I knew I could bend his ear a tick about the Cable. (Or the Aeolian Metrostyle Themodist Upright—forgot to mention that foray of a couple of months ago: a sweet little pumper, but way too leaky.)  However none of this signifies if the seller is a) desperate and/or b) lying.  After two viewings & many questions, no sale on either of these.

By the time Steve arrived to tune the Knabe, neither of the player candidates were really still optionable, but now I was just excited at somebody new to show my grandson's picture to.  And there we were! Older, grayer, a little pot-bellied (he's tall, so it doesn't show so much), and both of us grandparents.  Yes, Steve has a little one-year-old sweetie, already walking & climbing on pianos & ready to name him something as yet to be determined. And we exhausted ourselves on preciousness, moved on to musical machines & maintenance & so on & so forth. It may have been the reason for the midnight impulses all along.  (Ooo, that sounds nasty.)  But we got so much accomplished it seemed: my grandpa's violin (check); dusty old autoharp (check); my sister-in-law's Art Case Steinway (wants to see that! Yeah!); a groan or two at the Weber, but acknowledgement of its innate quality, even though it must, it seems, motor on even in the face of my objections (drat).

And once again a smile at the Knabe.

O, how to forget all this.

Concentrate on the moisture content of the hard red wheat ready for the hopper on the mill clamped to the workbench.

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©2013 Claudine Jones
©2013 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Like an orthopedic soprano, Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades. With her co-conspirator Jaz Bonhooley, she also has developed unique sound designs for local venues. She's also a Senior Writer and columnist for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives

Scene4 Magazine - Arts and Media


March 2013

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