Friday, June 08, 2007

Roll Over Max Jaffa

Homework, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

My next project: a recently acquired single string phonofiddle. Made somewhere between 1910 and 1930. Manufacturer (as yet) unknown. There is the remains of a torn paper label below the soundbox which although unreadable is sufficent to recognise if I see another complete one. It was found in the back of a dryish garage.

The string which is played with a fiddle bow sits against a soundbox at its base which amplifies the sound through a horn. Homemade ones were often made utilising the soundboxes (and horns) from phonagraphs. This one, which appears commercially made, connects the string to the mica diaphragm of the soundbox using a piece of cork.

Whats wrong: It is missing its horn. The body is in terrible cosmetic condition. The soundbox needs attention; the mica diaphragm is fine but the pieces of rubber that hold it in place although still intact have perished and become hard thus losing the necessary pliability to offer the best sound. The cork which should be attached to the diaphragm (?using beeswax?) has dropped off. Five woodworm holes in the wood of the body although these appear to be old. It is currently strung with what appears to be a plastic string from a child's toy ukelele.

What next: Acquire a reproduction Phonagraph horn. These are available in brass, enamalled tin and aluminium. Attend to the wooden body. Fix and tune the soundbox. String.

Questions I am minded to get a brass horn because it will look better than an aluminium one. Will the weight make it impractical to use? The price difference is only about seven pounds. Which will sound better?
Which is the best violin string to use?
Anyone done up one of these?
Any tips?
Anyone recognise the manufacture from the remains of the label?

What after that: Learn to play and become a rock god. After all if Norfolk's own Bruce Lacey could play one in legendary band The Alberts I can surely do it too.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Colonel Blinks Bad Trip

Truly unseen Beatles, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Picture the Colonel on a pavement by the YMCA taking photographs of that building ("Just a plain photograph of the front of the building Nothing arty" I had been commanded) when I noticed all these toys in the window of the St Giles Gallery.

I had forgotten that they had an exhibition of photographs of the Fab Four called The Unseen Beatles taken by newshound Frank Herman in 1967. The window featured modern toys from the the 1968 animated children's film "Yellow Submarine" which the Beatles had little or nothing to do with and the display seemed to be more about 21st Century eBay marketing than about Herman's wonderful and revealing photographs.

What I did like was St Giles Street reflected in the strong colours of the window and I took a photograph and then another one of a balloon. Big mistake.

"Can I HELP you............Sir?" This guy in a purple t-shirt had run out of the shop and was looming over me, speaking very loudly.

"um. yes. well I was just taking a picture of er your window" I said

His hand rested on his hip and his lip curled "You should have asked first" he said and with that he spun round and walked away.

"I was just coming in to have a look" I said to his back but the slamming of the shop door hid my words.

Now I knew how the Apple Scruffs felt. On reflection I decided that I would wait a month or so before I visited the exhibition. As I trudged down St Giles Street I found myself singing one of the fabs most famous songs "All You Need Is Cash".

This photograph is my 1000th entry into the Norwich flickr pool.

Beatles Play St Giles