January 28th, 2013

krazy koati

I'll mix with his friends and relations

Some more Utrecht pictures, here from the Speelklok Museum, all about wind-up and automated and clockwork gadgets.

P7040818 This is one of the earlier pieces, a juke box of a century-old vintage. You put your money in, crank it up, and get a couple minutes rendition of the Washington Post March (the one keyed up, in fact) or some other tune from the era when the hottest composers were John Philip Sousa and Wondering If Irving Berlin's Been Born Yet.
P7040835 This one's a mobile band organ, designed to be wheeled out to wherever the performer wants to go, and crank it up to play. The docent (on the left) warned everyone it was going to be very loud, as it was supposed to compete with the noises of the crowd, but I was the one who most believed her. The one on display had an ``Arabian'' theme, as the name kind of suggests. I did get some video of it, but my camera of the time had no microphone, so the whole recording is kind of silly.
P7040838 Accompanying some of the travelling band organ stuff were murals which provided song sheets and illustrations of the pictures. I have no idea what the story was exactly but the docent explained that tales of tragedy and woe were popular choices because they inspired audiences to open up their wallets and give to the poor soul playing his mechanical organ out. The docent did lead everyone in a rendition of whatever tragic song this was, although I couldn't join in because of my multiple disadvantages what with not being able to read Dutch or to sing in any language or known key.
P7040850 This was one of their big music-hall organs. It's something like fifteen feet tall and would fill a good fraction, maybe all, of one wall in a music hall. It wasn't far off filling the whole side of the room. In this way it could replace the whole band.
P7040864 This is another music-hall automated band, and even bigger and more intimidatingly loud yet. They had someone at the museum who'd worked out the punch holes to get it to play ``My Girl'', which came out pretty well, considering. I did spend some time looking around music sheets they'd worked up and, to my regret, they did not appear to have ``Video Killed The Radio Star''.
P7040874 These are just a couple of the figures that would go on organs or other clockwork machinery but in this case weren't. I'm not sure whether their home machines were being refurbished or whether they were just on display as works of art on their own.
P7040880 The Speelklok Museum is located in a former church, which allows much of the display hall to have a broad, airy, very welcoming atmosphere. It also means that, for example, the interior patio for drinking a coffee or tea is on that irregular stone floor with the notes about various people having been buried underneath.
P70409058 File this image away for a more conveniently scheduled nightmare: hang your coat or your umbrella on these hooks and the music box within plays something cheery. Plus your coat covers how these dapperly-dressed rabbits have hook legs. A much more cheerful note, sadly unphotographed by me een though they showed it working (my camera was far into its death spiral at the time) was a ``Konijn in een kool'', a mass-produced toy from the early 20th century, which is a head of cabbage out of which pops a rabbit who looks around and takes a couple nibbles, then pops back in, while music plays.

Trivia: The Confederate Congress admitted Virginia as a state on 7 May 1861, following a state convention to secede contingent upon a voter referendum set for 17 May. Commissioners from the convention and Confederate Vice-President Stephens drew up a ``temporary military alliance'' between Virginia and the Confederacy and invited the government to move to Richmond 27 April. Source: The Confederate Nation 1861 - 1865, Emory M Thomas.

Currently Reading: A Game Of Inches: The Stories Behind The Innovations That Shaped Baseball, Peter Morris.

PS: Trivial Little Baseball Puzzle, which is almost nothing, but it's a little note I jotted down.