Friday, 17 May 2013

Everyone's a critic.

I used to sing in a choir, but only until the choirmaster eventually discovered where the noise was coming from.  It seems that today, everyone is a music critic. There are a myriad of Carol Levis, meets X factor's, got talent, type shows on television. With, a pick-and-mix of celebrity judges who are well past their sell by date. The excitable Tom Jones ladies in TJ's fan club have changed from throwing their knickers and have now started to throw their zimmer frames instead. Which adds a whole new meaning to the balad The Green Green Brass on't Throne!

The Gruffalo has also become something of a music critic. Boating through some of our larger river conurbations and you are likely to meet up with one or more crews out rowing. For some deep seated reason, whenever we come across people out on the river rowing. It seems to trigger me into providing an impromptu rendition of the Eton boating song.

Well, when I say the Eton boating song. What I should be saying is my version is a slightly more ribald virtuoso performance. Which involves that popular Etonian man of the people David Cameroon encouraging Ed Balls with  the memorable lines "Swing, swing together, with your bodies between your knees."

These, sort of subliminal visible boating cues also stretch to other types of craft. A small boat with a family aboard can trigger me into a solo acappella rendition of Josh McCrae's "Messing about on the river." Now the Gruffalo thinks my rendition does not hit all the right notes, but like Andre Previn I assure her that all the note are actually there. But not necessarily in the correct order.

A small rowing boat will elicit the line from Kenneth Grahams 'Wind in the Willows', “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

But the critics are not only on Rose of Arden the critics are everywhere. 

Recently, the crew of an American Airlines jet made a force landing, after a passenger refused to stop singing the Whitney Houston hit "I Will Always Love You." Apparently, there was a federal air marshal and music critic on the aircraft, who subdued the woman and put her in handcuffs and removed her from the plane. The woman, who it turned out was a diabetic, was later released without charge, but told she would have to sort out her own onward journey. I presume she was also advised to sort out a voice coach as well.

An 82-year-old woman called Emma Anderson was thrown off a train in Florida for singing too loudly. She had been told by a security guard and music critic to stop singing religious hymns. Emma said, "I was beating my little beads with a bottle and I was singing a song, and he came up to me and said  Ma'am, you're making too much noise." A mobile phone video, taken by a fellow passenger and posted on line, shows the guard and music critic physically removing Mrs Anderson from the train at a station. Where Emma fell from the train onto the platform and needed to be taken to hospital.  Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued an apology to Mrs Anderson and then ordered a review of procedures. "The situation should have been handled with more care and common sense," he said in a statement. "We have made it clear to all County employees and contractors that our patrons must be treated with dignity and respect." The train company issued a statement saying rules prohibit anyone from "singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument" unless they have a commercial permit.

Gondoliers in Venice have been criticised by the local mayor and music critic for ignoring local ballads and for singing songs to tourists that are "culturally deficient" and have no relation to the lagoon city. The tourists, who pay up to 200 euros to be serenaded as they are taken around the city's canals, hear songs such as 'O Sole Mio' the tune associated with the Just One Cornetto television adverts.

At 200 euros I would be quite happy to serenade tourists on board Rose of Arden. I could cruise the canals with my  "culturally deficient" version of the Eton boating song. But then CaRT would issue a statement saying the rules prohibit anyone from "singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument" unless they have a commercial permit.


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