Jump to content
Mander Organs
Sign in to follow this  
MusingMuso

Did I ever tell you this story?

Recommended Posts

When I was over in America, (land of the free, so long as it isn't a prescription), I met some unlikely and hugely interesting people; among them a gay, born again Irish Bostonian catholic, who just had to be something of a one-off contradiction in terms. Apparently, he lectured in English Literature, as the Irish tend to do, and then stuff people full of James Joyce.

 

Anyway, to turn a short story into a long one, this character told me a wonderful tale about a lady called Isobelle Stewart-Gardner, who was the somewhat eccentric wife of a multi-millionaire cotton magnate; Boston then being the centre for the American cotton-manufacturing trade. When her hubby dropped dead, she inherited a vast fortune, and being something of an aesthete, filled her home with priceless works of art by Raphael and numerous other masters. The former family home is now the Isobelle Stewart-Gardner museum in Boston.....been there, done it, bought the imported T-shirt.

 

Apparently, she was born the wrong side of the sheets, and was nothing if not unconventional. She wore bright clothes at a time when the good ladies of Boston wore black. (Shades of Mark Twain's distain for convention). Not only was she spectacular in her choice of attire, she also had a pet cheetah which she led around on a diamond studded lead; regularly taking the animal with her when she went shopping in fashionable Boston. She would hand the lead to the manager of the shop on her arrival, and he probably kept a gun in his pocket just in case the cat decided to attack.

 

In addition to this, she rode around Boston in a heavy and rather spectacular carriage, drawn by, (of all things), an elephant!

 

Because she was stinking rich, people would ask her to donate to various worthy causes, and a high Episcopalian Church, (affectionately known locally as "Smokey Mary's"), was not slow to join the queue. So it was that she was invited to attend Mass and declare the fund-raising carnival open; the church knowing that she would write a cheque.

 

Out came the elephant and heavy carriage, and off they trundled off to the carnival, if not the circus.

 

Well, the church was not situated with elephants in mind, being at the top of a steep hill. Without convenient horse-troughs, poor old 'Nellie' perspired as it plodded up the hill, getting slower and slower on the way. It was fairly inevitable that Isobelle should arrive late, and although the parish priest had delayed things as much as possible,so that their principal guest could take her place in a specially reserved front pew for Mass, they had to proceed without her.

 

Arriving to find a procession entering the church via the west-door, Isobelle Stewart-Gardner stepped quickly down from the carriage, held her hat and ran across to the west-door; blundering her way past the clergy, the choristers and the acolyte swinging burning incense in a thurible.

 

In characteristic style, she stopped briefly and turned to the thurible swinging acolyte, robed in a cassock and cotter, saying loudly, "My, my honey child, that's just the most divine dress, but I think your handbag's on fire!"

 

 

Well, I believe it to be true.....but then.....

 

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone know what incense does to organ pipes? Corrosive or preservative?

 

=======================

When I first played at Holy Joe's, the priest was a bit of a smells and bells merchant. I haven't noticed that the pipes have started to crumble, so I guess incense must preserve.

 

On other hand, he probably reduced my life-span. It was so bad, I went on a course of fire-fighting at the local fire-station, where they teach you to breath in smoke, by crawling upon thine belly. I felt sure it would come in useful, but then the priest died and we reverted to the spirit of the "Clean air act."

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone know what incense does to organ pipes? Corrosive or preservative?

 

It just makes a filthy mess over time I think... it can't be good, but there are plenty of high churches still with their original organ so I don't think it can be that bad.

 

When I was in Edinburgh and the smoking ban came into play we were worried this would damage the enthusiasm for smoke in the services, though the ban itself doesn't apply to incense. Anyway, it doesn't seem to have had an effect. I love it personally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone know what incense does to organ pipes? Corrosive or preservative?

 

I think it is the same as tobacco smoke in producing a thin film on the pipes and all decorations in a church. Think of the ceilings in smoked filled rooms in pubs of yesteryear. I recall an organ tuner telling me of a church where they got the incense going etc near the intake to the blower. Apparently, the insides of the organ/windchests/actions got covered in a sticky mess which eventually stopped things working.

PJW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it is the same as tobacco smoke in producing a thin film on the pipes and all decorations in a church. Think of the ceilings in smoked filled rooms in pubs of yesteryear. I recall an organ tuner telling me of a church where they got the incense going etc near the intake to the blower. Apparently, the insides of the organ/windchests/actions got covered in a sticky mess which eventually stopped things working.

PJW

 

Surely it's only a matter of time before the dreaded H&S tentacles extend to the use of holy smoke. Rumour has it that one metropolitan cathedral is anticipating some sort of challenge about its effect on young choristers' well-being.

 

JS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Surely it's only a matter of time before the dreaded H&S tentacles extend to the use of holy smoke. Rumour has it that one metropolitan cathedral is anticipating some sort of challenge about its effect on young choristers' well-being.

 

JS

 

My distant recollection of the effects of incense smoke on Organ pipes is that it depends what they are made of. Lead doesn't react much to the acids on the smoke, but zinc pipes do, giving them a rough, pitted surface where they are not painted (front pipes, for example, may not show the effect much). Regardless of damage, though, it leaves a filthy sticky mess over everything.

 

What did cause immense damage to Organs was a form of heating called flueless gas heating. At a time when gas was derived from coal, and produced sulphuric acid when burned, the fumes from this form of heating condensed on any metal surface, turning brass plaques green, eating its way through pull down wires, eating into front pipes, and ruining the leather inside. It did little to improve brickwork and stone either. I believe it was eventually banned - quite right too, but it left many an Organ in a parlous state.

 

On the H&S matter, I was told, and I have no way of knowing whether this is true or not, that the effects of incense smoke on the eyes was severe, and was the reason many Catholic priests need glasses, and some were going blind. Perhaps there is a Doctor in the house who could comment on this.

 

Regards to all

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Think of the ceilings in smoked filled rooms in pubs of yesteryear.

 

PJW

 

=========================

 

 

Ah! The nostalgia........

 

People may have died young, but they were happy.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once bought a second-hand telly. When it stopped working I took the back off to see if there was anything that I could fix. It had evidently once belonged to a heavy smoker, as the inside turned out to be absolutely covered in a thick layer of slimy brown grime.

 

I don't know what incense does to organs, but I certainly know what tobacco smoke does to smokers' lungs, and their tellies. If anyone here is considering quitting smoking I'll willingly send them a picture of my old telly so you know what the inside of your lungs looks like.

 

Contrabombarde

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I once bought a second-hand telly. When it stopped working I took the back off to see if there was anything that I could fix. It had evidently once belonged to a heavy smoker, as the inside turned out to be absolutely covered in a thick layer of slimy brown grime.

 

I don't know what incense does to organs, but I certainly know what tobacco smoke does to smokers' lungs, and their tellies. If anyone here is considering quitting smoking I'll willingly send them a picture of my old telly so you know what the inside of your lungs looks like.

 

Contrabombarde

 

 

It is quite the most foul and disgusting habit and should be banned forthwith.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is quite the most foul and disgusting habit and should be banned forthwith.

 

 

========================

 

 

Alcohol is a lot worse.....we are sitting on a public health time bomb.

 

What else can we ban?

 

Loud organs (hearing damage)

 

Orchestras (as above)

 

Organ lofts without fall arresters?

 

The list is endless.

 

Life is a brief lottery, but then you die anyway.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Life is a brief lottery, but then you die anyway.

 

MM

There is a paradox here. As the probability of dying is exactly 1.0, any action taken to reduce the risk of dying from one cause must increase the risk of dying from others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Life is a brief lottery, but then you die anyway.

 

MM

 

There is a paradox here. As the probability of dying is exactly 1.0, any action taken to reduce the risk of dying from one cause must increase the risk of dying from others.

 

I don't see a problem here. ;) If none of the risks occurred then you would live for ever.... <_<

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...