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Mrs Electricity

A Brief Guide To Awful Foreign Instruments

All the 'in' gear that's abroad, and no messing

"Bonjour," says Michel, but then he is French. "Ma leetle seven-string lute business she is 'ow you say ze big willy to record, isn't it? But ze sound is another thing... any boulevard you are strolling in, as ze Pope 'e say to ze fellow 'oo is cleaning 'is rabbit 'utch out. Under ze strings is my special patent replied to pick-me-up, what is selecting ze sounds as ze strings is giving it out, booting ze arse'oie off your grandmother, an' I certainement would not lie to you my old fruitcakebox person. Is very loud I think! Ah maself 'ave used 'im with the living rock band what I am jigging with present times, and it is no exaggeration to say zat if Mr Jim Hendrix is still alive and kicked, 'e would say, 'Michel, zat is no bunch of poo-poos or I am not Mrs Electricity!' Ma leetle seven-string lute is not all these things alone - she is built like WC entrance-doors too, if my drift is being catched." The Michel lute is not available in the UK.

As if to prove that the Swiss are obsessed with cleanliness, Mr Eamonn Tarl here demonstrates the SwissKleen On-stage Chemical Toilet. He acknowledges the delicate nature of his product, and gives a special message to readers of Making Music, which is of course a family magazine. "You can have a really good shit in the middle of a song and no-one'll know," he puts it, sensitively. But how does it work, we want to know, being essentially a technical family magazine. "Well we can make the toilet into any shape, essentially hiding the works in a musical instrument for disguising purposes. I'm showing the tuba model here, though we've had orders for the obvious ones - grand pianos, bass drums and so on - as well as the more difficult ones like microphones, and even a plectrum.

With the tuba, though, a long metal tube comes out the back of the instrument and into the, er, rectum of the musician. A quick crouch and strain, as I'm showing here, and you can continue your performance without nasty accidents. The only thing you have to be careful about is to be absolutely sure that you keep blowing very hard. Otherwise, it's a piece of piss." The SwissKleen unit, with on-board deodoriser, is not available in the UK.

The 5-track Trumpet Organ. Georg Trumpet was not available for photography, but his organ was. "Vell," said Georg enigmatically when we rang him up at his Bremen, West Germany workshop. "Vell, meine kleine Trumpetenen Orgel ist nicht ein grosses scheisskopfen..." and went on and on in this sort of Germanic fashion for some hours. In the meantime we played a little game to amuse ourselves. What you do is to choose a subject, and then go through the alphabet finding one item for each letter. So if we choose 'trees', for example, we'd go Ash, Beech, Cedar, and so on, through to Yew and Zimmoca (actually the Zimmoca is a type of sponge, but the beauty of the game is that you can cheat quite spectacularly and no-one will know - not unlike life, really). Anyway, once you've gone through a few subjects and chosen lots of silly names for things, even someone as terminally boring as Georg Trumpet will fade usefully into the background. As, no doubt, will his completely and utterly useless Trumpet Organ, which is not available in the UK.

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15 Things

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Alesis Midiverb

Making Music - Copyright: Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.


Making Music - May 1986




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