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Strange notices, signs, or tuning book comments?

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Hi everyone - after a long absence, I'm back, as usual looking for something. Who has seen funny signs of notices in the organ loft, on the console, or in the church or venue which has struck them as odd or amusing? Better still, if you have taken a picture and would be prepared to let me use it in my sequel to "Organ-isms: Anecdotes from the World of the King of Instruments" I'll love you forever, give or take a few years. As an example, I remember there was simply a picture of a duck over the exit from the loft at ST Paul's in London (When Mander were cleaning/restoring it some years back). I was so busy figuring it out I hit my head on the low lintel....

I have a few photos, including one in German (which will be translated) but would love a lot more as I know they are out there. Anyone?

Thanks as always for any titbits you can toss my way,

Jenny

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Fault books also?

Yes - anything! Whatever struck you as funny or very unusual. Even if I can't use it, it can help brighten the day for all of us :-)

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I'm sure I remember seeing a notice on a German organ console with the words 'nicht fur gefingerpoken'. It didn't take me many guesses to know what it meant... my German speaking best friend tells me that it's colloquial....

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I'm sure I remember seeing a notice on a German organ console with the words 'nicht fur gefingerpoken'. It didn't take me many guesses to know what it meant... my German speaking best friend tells me that it's colloquial....

 

Rather. To put it more precisely, it’s “Great Dictator” German, thus not exactly intelligible for non-English speakers. However, since that film is quite popular in Germany, as are Monty Python (who extended and spread that particular tongue ingeniously), many might take the hint and have Hinkel’s stern face in mind.

 

Best wishes

Friedrich

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Salisbury Cathedral tuner's book:

 

"Tuba fails to go in on General Cancel (very dangerous!)."

 

St. Botolph, Colchester tuner's book:

 

"If you bang Great very hard, Choir notes squeak."

(from tuner) "Don't bang it, then."

 

Christ Church, Colchester tuner's book:

 

"One of the front pipes has fallen out."

As the tuner remarked, "I might not have noticed that."

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There was a very odd sign at the console of St Luke's, Battersea rather a long time ago when I was a student at London university. I can't remember the exact wording but it read something like "do not switch blower off during sermon or the lights will fuse".

 

What this meant was that you were ill-advised to switch off during a service because the motor starter was an ancient hand-operated rheostat which had to be operated carefully and slowly in a prescribed manner to let the motor gather speed, otherwise fuses would blow and the lights (and everything else) could indeed go out. Therefore you first had to move the handle a short distance towards a detent, and let it rest there for ten seconds or so before moving to the fully-on position. This was something which could not be done hurriedly, such as in a situation where the preacher ended his sermon abruptly. Therefore it was safer, if not very eco-friendly, just to let the blower rumble on all the time as the notice recommended. (Note that I said 'his' sermon deliberately - there weren't many female preachers then, if any).

 

I am sure this curious situation will have been rectified (ha-ha, engineers please note the pun) long ago. Besides other interventions, the organ was rebuilt by H&H some years back. Incidentally, I trust they had a good go at the tubular pneumatic action which was so slow you had time for a cup of coffee between pressing a note and hearing the sound. (In fact I believe they installed a new e-p action). It was a divided organ with the pipes on the north side of the chancel and the console on the south side. But the quality of the Lewis pipework was beautiful and fully made up for the shortcomings of the instrument.

 

CEP

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Tuners Book at Bristol Cathedral is entitled 'The Lamentations of Mark and Paul'.

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Love it!

 

Colin's description of how to start the blower at Battersea sounds very much like the drill for firing up a Hammond. I had to play for a wedding on one a few weeks ago....

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There is a small plaque on the organ at St.John's Church in Groombridge (just outside Tunbridge Wells) which reads:

"Members of the congregation found interfering with this organ will be severely reprimanded and forbidden to practice with the choristers.

Reverend T. Hardie Fallus, Rector of Brenton, November 1871".

Some internet research has shown that quite a few of these plaques exist here and there, although some people have taken this a bit seriously, such as here.


Tim

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I have one of those! I can't remember where I got it. It was on the console at St. Magnus Cathedral for a while, but I haven't exhibited it since.

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I seem to remember MANY years ago a note left in the tuner's book for St Stephen's in Cheltenham that the TC Voix Celeste on the swell didn't speak from an octave below mid C

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A young student aged 11, who shall remain anonymous, whilst learning to play on the school chapel organ became frustrated at the number of prepared-for stops on the Swell organ. He wrote something along the lines of, "Please do something about the Swell by at least adding the trumpet and mixture on the next visit" in the tuning book. :ph34r:

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Still in place at the RFH console.......

 

DSCF5288a.jpg

 

I was told that when the pipes were cleaned in the recent restoration, a layer of brown varnish was removed - years of nicotine deposits (from smoking in the auditorium!).

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The authorities at Notre Dame put up a sign on the console with "Defence de fumer" written in very large letters. Vierne replaced it with an ash-tray.

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Still in place at the RFH console.......

 

DSCF5288a.jpg

 

I was told that when the pipes were cleaned in the recent restoration, a layer of brown varnish was removed - years of nicotine deposits (from smoking in the auditorium!).

Terrific!! Is that your photo BAM? Any chance I could use it for my book?

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The authorities at Notre Dame put up a sign on the console with "Defence de fumer" written in very large letters. Vierne replaced it with an ash-tray.

Many thanks David - wouldn't it be great to have a photo or even a sketch but I suppose that's not possible. :)

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Terrific!! Is that your photo BAM? Any chance I could use it for my book?

Sure - I took it during one of the post-restoration events. PM me if you want the full res version and I'll email it to you.

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At St David's Cathedral in the 70s there was a 'do not disturb the driver whilst the vehicle is in motion' sign. I'm fairly sure it was a genuine sign removed (or salvaged) from a public bus. I'd love to know if it's still there. Perhaps someone knows.

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