I see art from the pretence’s point of view
The best experiences overwhelm the old you
It’s better to believe your own lies than it is not to have any; that’s what I always say.
How to find your own voice:
1) Listen to your thoughts
2) Write them down
Ladies and gentleman, Throwcase turns one today!
To honour this momentous occasion, I would like to quote Michael Bay: “Excuse me. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
That’s right, you have been roaming my slapdash comic wilderness for any amount of time less than or including one year as of today. And boy what a time you could have theoretically had.
Out of the eighty-four articles I wrote over the past year, by far the most popular was Student Has Amazing Breakthrough By Doing What Teacher Says with more than 171000 views; this is more than the next five most viewed articles combined:
Man Discovers Another Fucking Hindemith Sonata (26,536 views)
Brahms Fan Forgets How Bad Bruckner Is- Almost Dies During Symphony (7825, courtesy of guest author, Pianists With Kittens.)
Of course it all started with a little crisis that engulfed Opera Australia last year, involving a soprano, a homophobic Facebook rant, and much intolerance. I hoped that my article, Man With Vague, Noble Ideals Finds Prejudice Disappointing, would puncture some of the extreme rhetoric being thrown from both sides; I’m not sure I did that, but hey, I thought it was funny.
You can also check out some of my other less popular but still splendid articles, like the stories made out of dad jokes, the odd relanguaged worderiffics I do for fun, or perhaps some of my more serious editorials about musicology, free speech, or utterly stupid monkey experiments.
Some might like to ask me, why do you write, Throwcase? Why do you feel compelled to bring joy and wonder into the souls of thousands? And why do you maintain such a rigorous and manly schedule, publishing a new article every week for forty-two consecutive Mondays as well as a thoughtful, original aphorism every Friday, not to mention those early weeks when you were just pumping out new material every day or even your dazzling comment sections famed for their zappy élan?
The obvious answer, my friend, is that writing is very erotic; flitting into someone’s life, taking consensual control of their pleasure-centres, and leaving them with a rosy afterglow. Hopefully they tell their friends how good you are and then you can join the great pantheon of men who validate themselves with some type of external measurement. How could I possibly resist?
Here’s to another year of Throwcase. I hope you enjoy it.
P.S, you can make a donation any time you want. Any time.
John Man, whose business card lists at least eight musical professions, recently conducted an orchestral concert for his personal galley of minions. During one of the rehearsals, Man suddenly realised that he had run out of time without having worked on all of the repertoire.
“I hit upon an ingenious solution,” said Man. “I decided to ask the orchestra if we could just go over time, by asking them politely. Very politely.”
Man was happy that he got what he wanted, and that no one in the orchestra complained. “That’s an approach I often take in life,” he said. “If someone does not clearly say no, that means you should just go right ahead with taking whatever it is you want from them.”
Representatives of the orchestra at first thought it was unreasonable for Man to have requested the extra time, but soon remembered that Man had in fact arrived thirty minutes late for the rehearsal, so his request was completely logical. “In that sense, he wasn’t really asking for extra time at all,” said Sally McDally. “It wasn’t his fault he slept through his alarm.”
Man enjoyed using the limited rehearsal time to explain how much he knew about the pieces and what string techniques he enjoyed naming. “Sure, there might have been an entire Mozart symphony on the program which we didn’t rehearse at all,” he said, “but at least I was able to impress everyone with my knowledge of Zelenka’s middle period.”
Man hopes to dispel the myth that conductors only go over time when they have not planned their rehearsals carefully. “I actually planned the rehearsal very carefully,” he said. “It just throws me when I have to be at the venue by a certain time or know the repertoire very well or give the musicians a break once every three to five hours.”
John Man, note-learning singer and blanket expert, has finally come of age as a musician and artist, cancelling a small concert tour in which he was going to sing Schubert’s great song cycle Winterreise.
“One day I was just an immature and foolish vagabond who thought I could sing whatever music strongly appealed to me and for which I was technically and artistically capable,” he said, chastising himself vigorously. “But such grandiose thinking only proves how immature I was; now that I have a fierce complex about singing something, I know I’m a real artist.”
Man, who enjoys soft and comforting blankets in his spare time, took inspiration from his friend Bob Guy, a classical pianist who refuses to perform any of the last three Beethoven sonatas. “Hammerklavier, maybe,” said Guy, fastening training wheels to his motorcycle, “but the last sonata? No way am I ready for that. I’m not even deaf yet!”
Man says that listening to Guy not play the last Beethoven sonata showed him just how artistic that could seem. “Who was I kidding?” he said. “At my age, how could I possibly understand the extraordinary depths of meaning within Schubert’s masterpiece? I’m only thirty, the exact same age he was when he wrote it. I should at least wait until I’m the same age he was when he was dead.”
Man’s teacher, Dorothy Snamp, has somehow taken credit for Man’s artistic awakening. “I’m just glad I have managed to transmit yet another one of my weird prejudices into the febrile young minds of my students,” she said, “like some type of approval-seeking cancer. And I didn’t even plan it this time!”
Man is reportedly glad that now, whenever he hears about a young person performing Winterreise, he has a simple, prefabricated thought he can say. “I know I can just say ‘oh my, that’s too young’ whenever someone sings above their station,” he said, fondling his favourite mulberry silk blanket. “This makes me look smart and sensitive in a way that doing things never could.”
Would you like to read a version of Winterreise summarised with Facebook Messenger icons? You can, right here!
John Man, a highly skilled practitioner of linguistic rumpy-pumpy, achieved fame in the early 80’s by inventing the now ubiquitous phrase “toi toi”.
Though initially intended for people to say to disobedient dogs or rogue goshawks, it soon became popular among artistic types to use before performances as a kooky way of saying good luck.
Sally McNally, musician and guerilla-knitter, has used the phrase for years. “It just rolls off the tongue,” she said, “like reflux, or a small ball for carrying messages inside your mouth. Without it I would have to go back to saying ‘good luck’ or something. I mean…what the hell?”
We asked Man if he had any theories as to why the phrase had become so successful. “I think it’s the combination of O and I that comes just after a T and is then repeated,” he said. “That probably has something to do with it.”
Now, after years of resting on his laurels, he has come up with another phrase, one that is set to become very popular amongst the bee-farming community. Though naturally guarded about the precise content of his new phrase, Man hinted that it was a tasteful allusion to the onomatopoeic ‘buzz’ sound typical of bees.
“Many people told me I was wasting time by randomly vocalising into a microphone for hours on end,” said Man. “But I always knew I was sitting on salutation gold.”
Bob Guy, dramatic actor comedian, is glad he does not have to say ‘good luck’ to his friends. “Those words really stick to the tongue,” he said, “like a desperate moisture-seeking alien or effective tongue clamp. Not like ‘toi toi’, which is like a Gatsby party for your teeth.”
We asked Man if he was afraid his new phrase might not take off as well as his first. “The public is so capricious with what it chooses to like! I really thought ‘chookas’ would go worldwide, but it only became popular with the bogans.”
Mr Busy-Busy-Stop-Stop, bee-farming vivisectionist, was confident that Man would once again craft a lexical delight for his permanent casual use. “I’m sure I will use it all the time,” he said, “so long as it does not magnify the adhesive properties of my tongue in any way, like a doughy clag lasagne. I hate those.”
Many of the world’s most unjustifiably famous classical musicians met this week for the most important event in the music world.
“As usual,” said Max Schaft, “the biggest item on the agenda was: ‘should we keep being a dick to anyone who doesn’t like the same music we do?’ Thankfully I settled this issue, and now I look forward to being a dick to everyone I meet.”
A minority of dissident voices at the conference were troubled by this outlook. “I sometimes wonder if being a dickhead is the right approach,” said Sally McNally. “Perhaps it might better not to be a dick to people who, for whatever reason, don’t like the same music we do.”
“Nonsense,” said Schaft. “That is the best part about listening to music with a long history of cultural authority: you can pretend that some of that authority is yours. Once you have that, everybody else becomes inferior to you. Feeling validated has never been easier.”
We spoke to John Man, inveterate piano toucher, who felt he should agree with Schaft but had his own opinion instead. “Musical preferences come down to taste, and that is always changing anyway. We shouldn’t take it personally when someone doesn’t like our favourite composer.”
“Nonsense,” said Schaft. “The music I like is universal, in much the same way that any highly refined culture with its own complex history seems universal to the people who grow up in it.”
Sally McNally left the conference burdened by a deep and abiding sadness. “I’ll just have to keep my musical tastes to myself,” she said. “It would be great if I could freely revel in the magnificent cultural bounty the past few centuries of creative endeavour have left us. Too bad I have to make sure I only like the ‘right’ stuff.”
“Victory!” said Schaft. “Now that I have won, I really see no reason to develop any empathy, tact, or sensitivity at this point; much better to promote the grace, nobility, and profundity of classical music instead.”
John Man, peripatetic music teacher and total legend, submitted an invoice to his local school yesterday in an attempt to keep starvation at bay for at least one more day.
“I was sort of expecting the incredible, arduous work I’ve done this term to be honoured in the typical way,” he said. “As in, with money. Please give me money.”
We spoke to a representative from the school who informed us that the process just wasn’t that simple. “The process just isn’t that simple,” said Anne Cillory, head of phone answering and clerical banter at Clumptime College. “I can see from my records that Man submitted his invoice on the 15th.” After an embarrassed, unhelpful pause, she continued. “But he should have submitted it on the 13th, obviously…I mean, we always consult the shaman on the 14th.”
Man reportedly did not understand who this shaman was or what his contribution to the proceedings could possibly be. “Even supposing they need him at all, why do I have to wait a month before they can consult him again? Can’t they just get another shaman?”
Cillory scoffed at this suggestion. “Get another shaman!? Preposterous. We consult our totemically garbed soul-warrior on the 14th, as I have clearly explained already. Anything else would be madness.”
Man resigned himself to waiting another month before he could be paid, because he had no other options.
Vienna, Austria– On Wednesday night, Sally McBrahmsFan made the traumatic mistake of attending a concert that featured a symphony by Anton Bruckner. “I was somewhat ambivalent about staying for the second half,” she recalls, “especially after Legendary Violinist gave a great reading of Obscure 20th-Century Piece That No One Else Wanted to Hear. But I had heard that the Famous Conductor is a Bruckner specialist, so I thought maybe he could make it listenable.”
But McBrahmsFan was wrong. “Basically I had forgotten how bad Bruckner is,” she explains, sipping a comforting cup of tea in her apartment. “Even in that historic hall with a great symphony orchestra, there was no saving the music from itself. I’d say Bruckner is a lot of ‘sound and fury signifying nothing,’ but that is too poetic a phrase for its sprawling expanse of Wagnerian brass clichés and proto-minimalistic repetitions of diatonic tetrachords. I almost died.”
McBrahmsFan considers herself a student of late 19th-century music history. “I can understand how some politically radical anti-Brahms people allowed Bruckner to gain a foothold in 1880s Vienna—but why is Bruckner still a thing?”
“At one point I caught myself thinking, ‘How did this man ever write four-part motets? He can’t even write basic soprano-bass counterpoint.’ The one time the bass did anything it was that tired descending line borrowed from Meistersinger, which created only a momentary interest of passing dissonance. And that trite scherzo – I spent the whole time wishing Mahler had written it.”
Amidst the long repetitive passages with no significant melodic or voice-leading content, McBrahmsFan found herself looking around the hall. “What were the white-haired Viennese concert-goers having orgasmic epiphanies about? It’s not even like Wagner, who at least has the whole operatic-mythological apparatus for you to contemplate.”
“Did I mention I had a standing-room ticket? I almost died.”
Asked if Famous Conductor had done anything for Bruckner’s music, McBrahmsFan frowned. “The piece should have ended about five times before it did. Why would you even want to conduct that in the first place? I just—sorry, I need to lie down.”
John Man is a classical composer with a distinctive style. Until recently he could sort of evoke it with a simple list of other composer’s names separated by the word “meets”. However, he now wants to be more unique than that, so he has officially redefined himself in some other way that makes just enough sense not to be wrong.
“I felt a bit lost because there wasn’t a catchy term to describe what I write,” he said. “I mean, what are people supposed to do? Listen to my music?”
Man says he hit upon the perfect way to express his music with adjectives after reading The Inner Game of Composition five times. “Many of my colleagues are just your run of the mill Post-War composers,” he said, boldly dallying with tonal harmonies. “Not me. I’m a Post-Plague composer. It just remains to be decided: which one? Probably bubonic, I think. But only posterity can decide that.”
One of Man’s colleagues, Bob Guy, found this definition to be ridiculous. “That was so long ago,” he said, avoiding the use of opus numbers. “How can he still be relevant, like me? I’m a Post-Perforated-Toilet-Paper composer, and we use that every day. How often do you use bubonic plague? Huh?”
Despite their irreconcilable and very important differences, Man and Guy both agreed that it was vital for them to define themselves according to things that happened before they were born. “We’re composers,” they explained in someone’s program notes. “Living is just something to get out of the way so that our work can be free of human corruption.”
Sally Mally, a female composer, doesn’t have to worry about this problem at all. “I have tried to define myself many times,” she said, quoting some obscure folksong unconventionally, “but I will forever be considered a Female Composer. I’m grateful that this is not incorrect.”
Man dreads the day when a much younger composer comes along and is able to define himself as a Post-GFC composer. “I hate that kid already,” he said. “What a poser.”