Thursday, September 27, 2012

You know how to whistle, don't you? go online, do a  Google search, a Google Shop search, try Musician's Friend and Lark in the Morning and even Amazon, and find nothing but the same damned fake-ass pot-metal shiny-sniny "Hey, I'm an Admiral!" display crap instead of an actual, playable bosun's pipe (or boatswain's whistle, if you prefer).  Hell, half of them are 3" keychain models, even!

It's the old tragedy of the commons for the online world -- do a search for biographies of a 19th-century physicist and all you hit are fan page after fan page for some anime girl who was given the same name -- combined with the tragedy of the cheap instrument; for every decent ukulele out there, there are ten gift-shop plywood junk fakes.  And at least four sobbing would-be uke players who blame themselves instead of the unplayable instrument.

The best options I have right now for a bosun's pipe which can play properly is vintage ones on eBay (pricey), and the one actual US Navy standard I've been able to find after two hours of searching.  I'm a lot more tempted to put down thirty, forty bucks on one I'm sure will play (even if it is not exactly the right look), rather than deal with our actors trying to navigate an unplayable bit of gift-shop junk and finally giving up and having it be replaced with a sound effect.

Yes, actors.  So if you know your Broadway musicals, seeing the bosun's pipe will most likely tell you which it is (it is one of the Holy thirteen.)

And here's an exercise for you.  Which Broadway musical is coming up next if you see the following props on the rehearsal table?

1) A cow's head and a trumpet.   (Add a bra that lights up if you really want to give the game away).

2) A saddle, and a kaleidoscope with a hidden knife blade.  (The saddle might be arriving later -- those are big, and usually borrowed).

Think of any other obvious ones?

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