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 touching 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.”