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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Culture Clash

My coworkers have come to accept my inability to work without music. This is not to say they enjoy or even understand most of my eclectic musical choices. For instance, one day I will be on a Beatles jag, and on another Miles Davis and Coleman Hawkins might be the featured artists. I don't play anything particularly often... or loud... but my small desktop speakers are seldom idle.

My iPod, which plays through my office radio, has almost 500 CDs on it, and there is almost no era or genre that lacks representation. Gregorian chant and Bluegrass, Zydeco and Fusion, Show tunes and Reggae, Classical and R&B (to name but a few) all make frequent appearances. I think Rap is probably the least represented genre in my collection... but it's there.

A few minutes ago I was listening to a recording of Gilbert & Sullivan's light opera 'The Mikado' when my boss's boss walked in. I instinctively muted the volume so we could talk, but he indicated that he had come in to find out what I was listening to.

Now, I would be hard pressed to explain the social and political nuances of this 19th century English spoof of Japanese culture in my mother tongue, so you can imagine how the explanation went in Hebrew.

No... much worse than that.

Imagine getting up in front of an audience and beginning your prepared remarks with a favorite joke... only somehow the joke gets away from you and the punchline ends up orphaned due to some forgotten detail. The audience shifts uncomfortably in their seats as the flop-sweat drips down your back,... and you momentarily debate trying to explain the joke, only to realize that further explanation would only make matters worse.

Well, it wasn't quite that bad, but I can safely say that this particular Israeli executive didn't run to his office computer in order to peruse the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company's selection of original recordings. Suffice it to say he now thinks my taste in music and humor are both a little odd.

For those of you who were keeping track, today's little dust-up involved the clash of Israeli, American, English and Japanese cultures!

I'm thinking that has to be some kind of record, no?!


Posted by David Bogner on October 31, 2004 | Permalink


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Country? Xmas carols?

The closest I can come to your dust-up (and it's not even close) is explaining in Russian, to a Russian, that Queen's "Rushin' Headlong" is not "Russian Headlong."

Posted by: Tanya | Oct 31, 2004 8:01:15 PM

LOL, Tanya!

Oh, the perplexity your Russian friend must have felt...

Posted by: Lachlan | Oct 31, 2004 8:13:46 PM

pretty telling what's not included :-)

Posted by: shmiel | Oct 31, 2004 9:11:40 PM

I strongly recommend geting a digital scale. What's the likelihood that your weight fluctuates from day to day by exactly one pound? The more precise the feedback, the better!

I was 83.6 kg this morning.

Posted by: Andy | Oct 31, 2004 9:19:28 PM

Tanya... Yup, plenty of country. And my favorite Xmas album; Soundtrack to 'A Charlie Brown Xmas' (featuring The Vince Guaraldi Trio), gets plenty of play at my place!

Lachlan... my thought exactly.

Shmiel... nope, not one bit of 'shiny shoe' music! Been there, done that, got a closet full of t-shirts.

Andy... I don't need to know by each fraction of a pound. I have a really high-end Salter bathroom scale (made in England) and it is quite accurate. So long as I continue to see a downward trend, I won't worry too much about the small stuff.

Posted by: David | Oct 31, 2004 10:39:54 PM

What's 'shiny shoe' music?

Posted by: Tanya | Nov 1, 2004 12:00:02 AM

Er, maybe suggest that he go to Blockbuster and rent "Topsy-Turvy."


(and thanks a lot! Now I'll be singing "Three Little Maids at School" all night.)

Posted by: jennifer | Nov 1, 2004 12:33:28 AM

Andy--your weight CAN fluctuate, even by 2 pounds, even within the same day. The issue isn't how much you weigh from day to day, but over time.

Good luck, David!!!

Posted by: Sarah | Nov 1, 2004 4:08:21 AM

Heh. Funny Stuff.

Try explaining G&S to Rednecks. The Mikado is a particulary hard one to explain. Well, Iolanthe is also a tough one to explain, but it doesn't involve quite so many cultures (unless you count fairies, which a whole different conversation right there).

Posted by: Jan | Nov 1, 2004 6:47:03 AM

Tanya... [sigh] How to explain shiny shoe music? In a past life I sepnt 17+ years playing trombone in a club date band. In that time I got to play everything from Jazz to rock to classical to Broadway tunes to Klezmer! But since the bread and butter of the business was from weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc., we rarely had a free hand in what we played. Most of the affairs we did were for Orthodox Jewish clients, which meant a high proportion of so-called 'Hassidic Music'. Not to confuse the issue any more then necessary, Hassidic music has little to do with authentic music from the Hassidic community. Rather, it is an unholy marriage of rock, disco and Hebrew/Yiddish lyrics. Most of the musicians I know hated this genre as it tended to lack musicality and nuance, and one usually was required to play it at extremely high volumes. Add to this, thefact that the 'artists' who recorded and performed this kind of music (i.e. the singers) tended to be dripping with false sincerity. The uniform for these singers was invariably a dark suit, and very shiny black shoes. I don't know why we zeroed in on the shoe of all things, but someone coined the term 'shiny shoe music' and it just seemed perfect! My friend Shmiel (who is a talented bass player in my old band when he isn't running a Commodity Brokerage) was pointing out the notable lack of this kind of music on my iPod. :-)

Jennifer... It could have been worse. I could have been listening to HMS Pinafore and you would have been stuck with "I'm sweet little but Buttercup..." running around your head! :-)

Sarah... Thanks, good point. there has to be a limit or each glass of water would screw up the weigh-in!

Jan... "explaining G&S to Rednecks" LOL! OK, you trumped me... I think that would be a bigger cultural challenge. :-)

Posted by: David | Nov 1, 2004 8:59:50 AM

I figured Shmiel was a RL friend. Can either of you point me toward an mp3 anywhere? Now I'm curious...

Posted by: Tanya | Nov 1, 2004 6:56:32 PM

Tanya... OK, I'm stumped, what's an RL friend?

Anyway, here are a few links to my old band's web site:

First is a link to, well, me

Next is a link to Shmiel

And last is a link to a couple of samples from that part of 'the business' that I enjoyed somewhat less than, say, playing standards, classical, jazz or rock:

here and here

You asked.

Posted by: David | Nov 1, 2004 9:09:00 PM

(backstage whisper) **r e a l l i f e** (/backstage whisper)

Posted by: jennifer | Nov 2, 2004 12:01:29 AM

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