The High End’s High Colonic

The High End’s High Colonic
Jonathan Foote
6 January 2002

Every so often, we journalists of the High End (Audiophilia’s better part of town), we exalted few, we demigods, we matinee idols, we heart-throbs, need to flush our belief systems in order to examine the puddle for humbugs.

Free audio playthings. A touchy one, that. Moving right along:

Tweaks we’ve recommended the effects of which wear thin or out. Actually, the system sounds better when we negate them. Years ago, when I could actually hear, I dusted off my electronic components and noticed an immediate improvement in sound. Mondays also sounded great.

Canadian money. Too little is said about the tragedy of Canadian money.

The yen. I have these Japanese binoculars with which, on weekends, I observe a young couple across the street. She visits him and they don’t draw the blinds. I paid for the binoculars in dollars and soon developed a yen. I had hoped to include the soundfield in my theme but see difficulties.

The Micronesian thwack. Out in the Northwest Pacific, they use the thwack (pronounced thwanck) as a unit of currency. What, you ask, is a thwack. A thwack is a fur-bearing fish the natives net, gut and pack in salt till they resemble miniature bacalao. A thwack’s life expectancy is several times that of a US dollar bill. No, really. Those at whom the missionaries got give as Christmas gifts thwack purses made of colorful woven grasses and sturdy palm fibers. These charming containers, hung about the neck, are developing a following. Stateside collectors greet the arrival of a fresh shipment of authentic thwack purses with cries of jubilation. Imitations abound, and it takes a practiced eye – an audiophile’s eye – to know the difference.

Impedance mismatch. Worse than child abuse.

And as a bonus, Jonathan’s Guide to the Opera:

Emotion in opera is paramount. We are interested not so much in what our hero, heroine or villain may do as in how he or she feels before, during and after the action. In Il Trovatore, when Manrico learns that Azucena has been captured – remember, he supposes her to be his mother – his thoughts turn to rescue, but rather than dashing off as one would in life, he steps stage front and sings of his mad desire for vengeance:

Away to autumn’s bunting, mulchy, sodden Fate!
The maternal Azucena a landslide endures of incoming louts
as scene ‘pon scene from view fleets away
and seven static clams remain. The bulge to th’audience
so predictably apparent is the topic of an aria I later plan
to deliver. But now I am enrapt by Azucena’s stagger
as in louts draped she for the skyline departs.

You are standing on my corolla, Violetta. A love duet follows, ‘Tell me of my mother.’ It shows as plain as music may that Don Dubito’s affection is genuine and that she in turn, the mystery guest, has given him her heart, exclusive of aorta, etcetera. Gypsy smugglers descend from the mountains, dancing, feasting on rabbits and olives, drinking muddy wine, breaking into a dashing gypsy song, ‘Fencing Little Sister’s Goods.’

Footsteps! And whilst I wonder, Be it she, my visage encounters an amusing cream pie. The gypsies are thunderstruck. What a funny indignity! Interest shifts to four recent gypsy arrivals dragging female acquisitions. Then follows the first of the beautiful quartets for which this act is especially famous, ‘This is your dwelling now,’ followed at once by ‘Whudda dump!’

Whilst milling in the marketplace, The agèd Liszt and his aide de camp remark a wizened fryer. As Liszt has in mind a large oven roaster, he sings about success ‘slowly on going in circles e’er closing. Goosesteps I see marked in fire!’ It requires musical fantasy to descry in an hourglass a full-figured female standing on her head. One prefers to simmer, dismissing wintry memories. One scours the libretto for Apollonian eloquence, counteragent to these trouser-housed Dionysiacs. For opera’s large requirements, sunrise is a gold tooth ascendant. Gold dust powders dimples, embellishes the very fog! The night I fled the satyriasis clinic I tripped over the chaise on which lay a diva in sequins festooning her groin. This is, in opera, why we fall in love.

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