Monday, April 5, 2010

The Tiny Organist

Nobody really likes hearing other people talk about their kids, so luckily, me talking about my year-and-a-half old nephew is exempt from the unappreciative ire anyway. Just pretend that Cameron is a little man that I know... a tiny, bipolar drunk man who falls a lot, drools and soils himself regularly, though exactly when and how messy is always a bit of a guessing game.

I went home for Easter this past weekend -- a nice family affair with my parents, sister, and her husband and kids. Earlier in week, I'd dragged my Lowrey organ from the house I'd been moving out of and found some fine real estate in my parents' living room. It's been with me for a thousand miles and then some, and I suspect it will probably follow me for a thousand more, just like the decorated oil drum I picked up from a performance of thirteen sweaty Frenchmen pounding with pickax handles and shouting on a cool November night in Florida nearly ten years ago. You don't pick up souvenirs like that at the merch booth... you drive around back to the theatre loading dock after the show and grab one while the gettin's good.

Cameron, being the dumb man that he is, was indifferent to L-65 taking up space in his kingdom of recreation, that is, until I rocked the POWER switch to one side and struck a high C. Cautiously, he waddled over and I put his little hand on the lower keyboard and a wet, toothy smile brightened his face when he made the connection between his clumsy paws and the strange, new racket coming from the box.

The two of us must have jammed on the organ for a solid ten minutes before I had to start moving some of my things into the basement. Every time I'd reappear, he'd make a beeline for the organ and I, ever the obliging uncle, especially for a budding musician, would turn it on, and play some complimentary chords to his oblivious banging. This cycle repeated about five times, and by the third time around, Cameron had discovered the pedals... which he deftly pounded with his hands. He eventually stumbled onto Williams' Jaws Theme and collapsed like a sack of dirty laundry on the lower pedals, jammed between the leg of the organ and the speakerbox. What I think he was doing was exploring musical minimalism. You know, some heavy La Monte Young drone stuff. I played a repeating chord pattern over his drone and he started bobbing his head to the beat of my progression and stared off into the distance, completely entranced, as I imagined peering into his head and being able to watch his brain making all sorts of new synaptic links. LEARNING!

I am so pleased that he got into music like that and that we could bond over it... I was getting tired of chasing him around the house with an electric toothbrush. Twenty years down the line, it would be really strange to pass the time like that.

1 comment:

Loren said...

Unless, it is one of those electric toothbrushes that plays music in your mouth through the vibrations on your teeth.. THEN that could be an interesting story.. I'm not sure where I"m going with this, but you understand.