09 October 2008

I should have learned to play the keytar

I have bought an Omnichord.

The latest financial projections suggest that the recession in Ireland will last through to the end of 2009. While the government support for the Irish banking sector has gone some way to halt the tunguska-like decline of the economy, furiously shaking my magic eight-ball (the most consistently accurate financial advisor I have) leaves me with the "all signs point to no" result when I ask if this is a good time to start a new business. Good work magic eight-ball!

Thus with no prospect of a major endeavour between now and the New Year, and fearful of how I am going to occupy my time once November 4th has come and gone, I have decided to brush up on my fiddling skills and wile away the nights watching the gentle flames dance above the Roman skyline.

Watching the second Presidential debate yesterday morning made me think of Ebay (for the record Senator McCain, Pierre Omidyar founded Ebay in 1995, Meg Whitman didn't join until 1998. Check your facts, sir.), and thus I found myself having a trawl through the 'Musical Instruments > Electronic Instruments > Useless Novelty Crap That Nobody In Their Right Mind Would Buy Except Me' section and came across the brown moulded plastic nugget of 80's electronic goodness that is the Omnichord.

And what, you ask with some trepidation, is an Omnichord? Manufactured by Suzuki, it is an electronic accordion/harp mutant crossbreed that you play like a slide guitar, coming with a number of preprogrammed klezmeresque chords and beats straight out of a Casio keyboard. You select your chord, and strum a touch sensitive metal plate to make the happy noise happen. Jermaine from Flight of the Conchords has one, so it is possibly the coolest instrument in all of New Zealand (given the fact that the second coolest is a Hobbit Harp, its probably not that impressive an achievement).

The Very Understanding Girlfriend has a rule about never drinking in a restaurant, eating in a hotel, or sleeping in a bar, and along the same lines I would normally suggest that one should never buy a plastic musical toy made by a motorcycle company, but as that would also rule out my Tenori-On (by Yamaha), I'll choose to ignore it on this occasion. It promises to make me sound like a Pro, even if I've never played an instrument before, so how could I resist bidding on a magical item like that?

I got mine from The Superimposers, who I first heard about in 2006 when their (then) record company may or may not have released a fake story to the Guardian that they had disappeared in order to drum up sales for an album being released without the artists' consent, allegedly (boo!). Nothing shifts more units like the death of the artist, sad but true and my excuse for buying 'F.L.M. (the Very Best of Mel & Kim)'. The very much alive and not missing Superimposers, being as enamoured of the Omnichord as Jenny Omnichord, but far more musical, listenable-to and quite frankly less whiny, have a plethora of said instruments and decided to put one up for sale on Ebay. There is a suitable Oscar Wilde reference here about having one Omnichord being unfortunate, and owning a plethora being something else entirely. Hopefully my collection will never grow as large as to enable me to test out this aphorism.

My brown box of musical goodness should arrive next week, when soon thereafter I will start to alienate the neighbours with a few Omnichord and Tenori-on sessions (I am so rock-n-roll), but in the meantime you should check out The Superimposers for a preview of what I am never going to sound like, no matter how much I practice.

The Omnichord OM27
The Superimposers
Their rather nice new album Harpsichord Treacle


At 8:57 am, Blogger Kate said...

good morning,
myself and sister 2.0 are in the big city this weekend. I finally remembered to put yours (and V.U.G.'s) Christmas Presents from 2007 in the car!
hope to meet up at some stage.


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