Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Jungle Drums

The teenager next door appears to have been given a drum kit for his birthday.

Happy Birthday
The tranquil peace of Fantasy Bob and Mrs FB's evenings is therefore disturbed by a cacophony of snare drum, tom toms and hi-hats crashing through the wall.

The young man seems to feel that he has a musical bent. For he has progressed from the piano through the electric guitar  Neither the piano nor the guitar appear to have been loud enough for his finely tuned ear.  The drums are suitably placed at the end of the loudness spectrum.

FB is finding this daily concert tough listening.  He is never one to thwart young ambition - as the junior bowlers of his go ahead Edinburgh cricket club will attest. For FB's comic efforts to keep their spinning deliveries from his stumps have given many of them the impetus they need to develop into decent leg spinners. However the young percussionist does not yet appear to have been persuaded that the purpose of the drummer is to provide a rhythmic drive. So far his repertoire is based on the belief that volume is an adequate substitute for a steady beat.   It is like taking up bowling without recognising that the stumps are to be aimed at.

FB regrets that he was not more persuasive in his efforts to get this young man to take an interest in cricket.  Had he been successful, he could be listening through the wall to the pages of Wisden being turned of an evening, perhaps with the gentle tapping of the bat on the bedroom carpet as the youth perfects his stance in front of his wardrobe mirror.  He might even hear the occasional aspirated 'Thwack' as he imagines the ball speed off the middle as he mimes a perfect cover drive.  But FB's efforts came to nothing and he is punished nightly.

FB's has always been willing to accept the necessity of the drummer in pop and rock.  He might at times have admired the contribution to their ensembles of such as Ginger Baker or John Bonham and confesses to a passing affection even for Ringo Starr.

However he never quite got the point of the drum solo - notwithstanding that rock concerts always featured one. It seemed nothing more than an opportunity for the audience to talk among itself.

He recalls also the prototypical heavy rock band Iron Butterfly whose anthemic 1968 track In-a-gadda-da-vida featured a 5 minute drum solo within its 17 minutes.

FB recalls thinking that those 5 minutes seemed an eternity   What he would give for a mere 5 minutes now.

Mrs FB, as always, is tuned to the positive. Removing her ear plugs to engage her dear one in conversation during a brief pause in the clattering, she remarks, 'At least it means I don't have to listen to you droning on about how you were on for 50 last Saturday until you played all round a straight one..........'


  1. The positive qualities of the drum solo have always eluded me also, though I am assured by none other than Mark Kermode, the BBC's film critic, that the movie Whiplash does indeed make the genre sexy. I only offer this to FB as scant comfort - a visit to the local estate agent might be his only realistic way out of this.

  2. A cheaper option might be to invest in a copy of Cream's "Wheels of Fire", turn the FB speakers to the wall, and treat the neighbours to Ginger Baker's 15 minute "Toad"? Although personally Anonymous prefers the comparatively brief and slighty more focussed John Bonham effort "Moby Dick".