Get out there and PATRONIZE!

The Joy of Conducting

This morning, Matthew asked me a question that was both pert and impertinent!

That little scalawag had gone to the symphony last Thursday and, to my surprise, he had had the mental capacity to appreciate it. He actually had the audacity to ask if I had ever been to the symphony!

I rumbled and fumed like a semi-dormant volcano; sometimes that boy is overwhelmingly minx!

Oh, but don't worry, I caught him upside the conversational head with a one-two combination of retort and rejoinder!

"Have I been to the symphony?" I rhetorically asked, "Actually, I conducted a number of operas in Hannover between 1958 and 1966 under the name of August Wenzinger!"

For a moment, I drifted away upon the sonic swell of a full stage of surging strings. My pipe crackled, dried Egyptian tobacco catching flame and combusting, its flavour reminscent of monuments and heiroglyphs. I wistfully recalled the incomparable sensation of conducting a symphony orchestra. One of life's greatest delights, conducting is a dance performed in a mirror-world of inverted causality, where new notes are born in response to a man's motion.

The slightest trembling of the fingers provokes a magnificent vibrato, a swift swing of the arm is met by the thunderous report of the tympanis. When I conduct, each one of my noble exertions receives the type of instantaneous adulation which it so deeply deserves.

I drew at the pipe and then released a thin wisp of smoke into the air. I believe Matthew was speaking, but how could I be expected to attend to such trivialities at a moment like that.

I recalled my friendship with the real August Wenzinger. He was a gifted cellist (oh the evenings we spent together in Basel -- he playing and I crooning ever so gently. We would laud the moon long into the night, treading softly over the inextinguishable protests of our landlady Frau Drachenfutter), as I was saying, he was a gifted cellist, but he simply did not have the mettle necessary to lead an entire orchestra.

Accordingly, when he received an invitation to conduct in Hannover, he proposed that I take the stint in his place. We worked together to devise a wax facsimile of his head, which I had Alphonso hollow out so that I could wear it while conducting. To this day I associate Baroque operas with the smell of a sweaty waxen mask.

Alas, that is enough reminiscing, there is a sign of the apocalypse to be had herein.

The Deplorable Financial Decline of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

At this point, that smarmy little upstart Matthew had been thoroughly rejoinded and our conversation was able to continue. He gushed and squealed about the various primitive delights which he experienced and through his rambling it came to my attention that an acquaintance of his had obtained two tickets for ten dollars!

"Good god!" I protested, "But how then, shall they keep the commoners out?"

Apparently, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is actively courting the likes of Matthew by offering severely reduced ticket prices to the young and uncultured. I was shocked and appalled! What a degradation; an entire symphony reduced to getting on its knees and begging for the attention of a worthless dunderhead such as Matthew Lie - Paehlke.

Matthew informed me that the TSO had an operating deficit of 2.28 million dollars last year. Up until now, I had been focussing my philantropic efforts on the Wiener Symphoniker, because, let's be honest, they're much better than the rag-tag bunch we have here in Toronto, but I hadn't realized the local situation was this dire.

Immediately, I rang for Alphonso and had him cut them a check to cover the gap for this year and last on the condition that they instantly cancel this TSOundcheck nonsense and return the symphony to those who are rich enough to actually deserve it.

Dismissing Matthew with the stern warning that he should not attend the symphony again until he learned to appreciate it and handing my pipe to Alphonso to be cleaned, I tried to imagine how this deplorable state of affairs could have come about.

The Gentleman's Art of Martyrly Investing

And then it struck me! Within the machinations of our crass culture, with its lowbrow notions of monetary return on investments, we have lost both the fine art of patronage and the patronage of fine art!

The rich today have no pride and no shame. They do not seek to acquire that which is fragile but laudable, instead they purchase that which is ugly but profitable. The pathetic cowards that pass for wealthy these days are always looking for safe investments and good returns.

Ha! I say, risk is its own reward! A real man invests headlong down the steepest slopes! That is bravery! That is investing!

Pick a company you believe in and take a stand! Heroes are men like Davey Crockett, fighting to the bitter end at the Alamo. To make financial decisions based on monetary loss and reward is the absolute height of ham-fisted provincialism.

At the Granite Club, where I go for racquetball, I recently spoke with a "gentleman" who told me with some sort of deluded pride that he had invested in Walmart. He seemed to think that it was some sort of achievement to shame both himself and his wealth with this kind of esurient clutching for more and more money. I, for one, was raised to believe that true wealth was demonstrated by a total disregard for petty things like budgeting.

Of the many, many, many things which I own, there are only a handful of which I am proud enough to boast, and even then I do so only when the spirits move me. Since I am feeling quite spirited right now, I shall detail these things for you; my world-class collection of ivory miniatures, my zepellin fleet, my first edition of the Bible (autographed by the author) and the preserved body of Salvador Dali.

But hear me now!

This post is a call to arms for those who fancy themselves wealthy. Stop throwing away your money on profitable but artless ventures and step up to the patronage plate. A man should be able to list the things that he owns with pride. To start the ball rolling, I am pledging to purchase Brazil and kick everyone out in order to preserve the rainforest for future generations!

The gloves are off, who amongst my readers shall respond to this challenge?

I pray to all that is wealthy, that someone will rise to the occassion; the current state of things is positively mortifying. Things have gotten so bad, that I wouldn't be surprised to overhear a man at a table next to me at Scaramouche bragging that he was dining there because he had somehow obtained a coupon.

Oh, what an ugly word that is. Perhaps I shall repeat it in order to shame my readers into putting their wealth to good use.


The fact that I should ever use that word thrice in one day is sign enough of our impending doom.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir, as weave discussed I realize that I went beyond my editorial duties when I posted my own personal observation on you're website. Perhaps you are justified in calling me a "smarmy little upstart," however, I wish you wouldn't refer to me publicly as "a worthless dunderhead."

Furthermore, I feel that, although I may be whelmingly minx, I am not certainly not OVER-whelmingly so.

2:26 p.m.  
Blogger Matthew Lie - Paehlke said...

Thank you Matthew, your comments have been noted and ignored.

Next time I ask you to type up my opinions of you, I would ask that you do so with significantly less backtalk.

2:29 p.m.  
Blogger me said...

God, Von Mustard, you're so patronizing. Get, it? he he. Patronizing...

11:54 p.m.  

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