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Post by miranda » Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:48 pm

Lance, will you help me build this? (I'm half-serious. And even though this is mentioned in the context of jazz, and devised by a writer who loved jazz, I'm posting this here because Lance is more likely to see this here.)

Here's a description, from Vian's "L'ecume des jours" (literally, "the froth" - or "the scum - of the days". The book's also been translated as "Foam of the Days", "Froth on the Daydream" or, in the version I first read, "Mood Indigo"):

— Would you like a drink? asked Colin. My pianocktail is finished, you could try it out.
— It works? asked Chick.
— Perfectly. I had trouble getting all the bugs out but the results go beyond my expectations. I got a truly astounding mix out of Black and Tan Fantasy.
— How did you make it work? asked Chick.
— With every note, said Colin, I’ve matched a spirit, liqueur or flavoring. The loud pedal corresponds to whipped egg and the soft pedal to ice. For seltzer water, you need to do a trill in the upper register. The quantities are in direct proportion with the duration: the 64th note equals a 16th part, a quarter note one part and a whole note four parts. When playing a slow tune, a leveling system is put to work so that the quantity is not increased—that would make for too abundant a cocktail—only the alcohol content. And, depending on the length of the tune, the part’s valence can be changed, reducing it for example to one one-hundredth to get a drink that takes into account all of the harmonies by means of a lateral regulator.

— That’s complicated, said Chick.
— Everything is controlled by electrical contacts and relays; I won’t give you the details, you know all that. And besides, what’s more, the piano really works.
— That’s marvelous! said Chick.
— There’s only one problem, said Colin. The loud pedal for the whipped egg. I had to put in a special system of interlocking parts because when you play a tune that’s too "hot," pieces of omelet fall into the cocktail and it’s hard to swallow. I’ll modify that. For the time being, you just need to be careful. For the sour cream, it’s low G.
— I’m going to make myself one on Loveless Love, said Chick. It’ll be great.
— It’s still in the junk room that I turned into a workshop, said Colin, because the protection plates aren’t screwed in. Come on, let’s go. I’ll set it for two cocktails of about twenty centiliters, to start off with.
Chick sat down at the piano. At the end of the tune, part of the front panel opened up with a clap and a row of glasses appeared. Two of them were filled to the rim with an appetizing mixture.
— You scared me, said Colin. At one point you hit a wrong note. Luckily, it was in harmony.
— It accounts for the harmony? said Chick.
— Not all the time, said Colin. That would be too complicated. There are only a few constraints. Drink and come eat.

(from the Brian Harper translation)

Vian loved music, theatre of the absurd, and science fiction. He blended them all into these paragraphs, a cocktail of his own devise.

quoted from:
http://nightlight.typepad.com/nightligh ... .html#more

I would like to read Boris Vian's L'ecume des jours at some point...
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

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Post by RebLem » Tue Feb 06, 2007 4:54 pm

Sounds like an autistic savant, with everything expressed as tastes instead of visual images.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
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"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.


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