August 23, 2004
For those of you who have been wondering about the August issue of this publication--Hey! You're soaking in it. It's late. It's late, of course, because the Chiff & Fipple Interns went out on strike (you probably caught that news on CNN) leaving me and a temporary employment agency guy named Melvin, who wasn't that much help, frankly, because he knows nothing about whistles, computers, or much of anything else. He does have a M.S. in History of Textiles which has been a tremendous help.
Melvin, who has been my temporary assistant in between history-of-textiles middle-management gigs.
Amy, in Chiff & Fipple Customer Service, the one that always shown smiling so sweetly at the bottom of most of these newsletters (including this one) also went out on strike "in solidarity" with the interns. Not that's it's any of my business, but I strongly suspect that Amy has been "in solidarity" with one particular intern named Eric, who evidently came very close to qualifying for the USA Olympic Swim team. I don't know if it's gone as far as "solidarity", but something is going on with those two, anyway. Not that I have a problem with it.
Anyway, the strike got resolved when we finally settled the last issue on the table. Actually I settled it by putting a used 13" color television in the break room. If you shop carefully, you can find those really cheap, but used ones are a total steal on ebay. I got this for $7.
The weird thing is that it has perfect sound but the only thing on the screen is the still picture of these two goofy kids. It's pretty weird listening to Wolf Blitzer intone the news on the audio while watching these kids. The interns are whining about it but, hey, a contract is a contract.
Hi, I'm Dale Wisely and this is Chiff & Fipple's 6-Hole Theory.
I. AUNTY BEEB
Dear Mr Undisputed,
As you may have heard, here in the UK our fine television service is supported by a licence fee paid annually towards our beloved British Broadcasting Corporation the BBC. As a result, modest funds are frequently dedicated towards what might sometimes be considered "minority" programming by the unenlightened. Consequently Aunty Beeb provides us with some splendid folk oriented programs as part of its radio service (though it's better ones seem only available in the Celtic provinces (heh!) - Scotland, N Ireland, Wales) We're stuck with just Mike Harding here in England, Bah!
However the main reason I'm writing is to draw your attention to the BBC's excellent web site, and in particular the corner of it devoted to Folk music. I was especially excited by my recent discovery of the Radio 2 Virtual Session.
This is a delightful little flash program put together with help from the likes of Mike McGoldrick, Ian Carr, Karen Tweed, John McCusker and Tomai Taylor. Select a set of tunes and they'll play them for you at a moderate pace whilst the notation is presented for each tune as it comes around.
All the while in the background instruments are played and err.... Guinness is consumed.... at a somewhat alarming rate it must be said!.
Indeed. All the atmosphere of a good session in the the comfort of your own PC, albeit with a slightly cubist flavour.
BBC radio is now available beyond the British Empire to all foreign types via the internet using the BBC radio player (Hurrah!). Two programs of interest to your Chiffing Fipplers might be Ian Andersons Travelling Folk for a taste of the Scottish traditional music scene (There are some phenomenal Scottish Tinwhistler/pipers here - Rory Campbell of Deaf Shepherd/Old Blind Dogs being a personal favourite). Then there's Celtic Connections which takes the approach of "If you like this... then you'd probably like this...." This program was responsible for my discovery of Scandinavian folk tunes.... as well as umm.. Tuvan overtone throat chanting among many many other things.... OK, so lets not go there perhaps! But anyway, here are some links, see for yourself
Mr P Little, lately of Basingstoke.
II. Bill Ochs Is a Better Deal Than a TV Set on ebay.
Free Tin Whistle Workshop with Bill Ochs in New York, Sunday, Sept. 19th
I'm beginning my fall teaching season with a free tin whistle workshop on Sunday, September 19 from 2:00 to 5:30 PM at The Irish Arts Center, 553 W. 51st St. between 10th and 11th Ave. in Manhattan.
The workshop is divided into three sections: Absolute Beginners (Starting from Scratch), 2:00 to 3:30 PM; Advanced Beginners (Playing Simple Dance Tunes), 3:30 to 4:30 PM; and Intermediate (Intro to Ornamentation), 4:30
to 5:30 PM.
In addition to the free workshop, I'll offer a full complement of whistle classes and uilleann pipes and Irish flute lessons at my home/studio in mid-Manhattan this fall, beginning the week of September 20th.
For workshop reservations or information about classes, etc., please e-mail me at email@example.com or call me at 212-247-3231.
I feel compelled to alert you and your other newsletter subscribers to a serious threat to all those suffering from WhOA!
Last weekend as I was innocently cavorting through the grounds of the picturesque Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, OH, I encountered surreptitiously tucked away among some of the other displays of traditional instruments the insidious trap for WhOA sufferers set up by the infamous Michael Burke. Many of your readers may know of Burke's long time threat to WhOA sufferers from past reviews of his remarkable whistles. Indeed, I fell victim to his craftsmanship a few years ago when I purchased regular C and low D whistles from him which I acquired at the Milwaukee Irish Fest. How can a WhOA sufferer be expected to resist whistles that are so easy to play, have such perfect intonation and sweet tones? Indeed, I believe the low D whistle I own to be one of the best balanced and nicest sounding low D whistles I have ever played.
But now the threat should be raised from the orange level all of the way to the red because based on what I encountered at the Dublin Festival last weekend, in the last few years Michael has made improvements such that I doubt there is a WhOA sufferer among us that could pass by his assembly of temptation without purchasing at least one and more likely half a dozen of his masterpieces. It was only due to the strong influence and support of my dear wife that I was able to get away with only one purchase. But what a purchase it was. I bought a low A whistle and since that day I have had a hard time keeping my hands off of it. It is one of the most melodious and musical whistles that I have ever heard. It seems to play almost effortlessly and has a special bell-like quality in the notes that almost demand to be sounded. It also has a remarkable feel, so smooth, shiny and professional in appearance that it almost seems as if it is perhaps visited on us from another world. I found it even more appealing after I got it home and was able to hear it in the quiet of my living room rather than the din of the festival.
So I feel it is my duty, nigh my high obligation, to warn all others so afflicted with WhOA of this red level threat. I wonder if such displays shouldn't be posted with warnings like those signs posted near MRI machines warning people with pacemakers to stay away. Perhaps these displays could have a color-coded symbol indicating the level of risk to WhOA victims. If such a code were established I'm sure Michael Burke's displays would be labeled Red, the highest level threat!
Thanks to Bob for his email. By my authority, however, I am now lowering the WhOA alert level back down to orange. While the level is at orange, you need to be on the constant look-out for symptoms of Whistle Obsessive Acquisition disorder (WhOA). This is a cause for significant alertness and concern. However, please go about your normal business and don't worry about it. Buy whistles, go to DisneyWorld, whatever.
IV. OLD GENERATIONS and YOUR BRAIN.
As the whistle expert I am wanting to know if you have ever seen a Generation whistle like the one in the pic. T
Yes, Bob, I have seen these. They pop up now and then on ebay and elsewhere. Before converting to plastic mouthpieces, Generations had this construction, which is very similar to various kinds of inexpensive flageolets that you could buy from mail order catalogs and such way back in the 20th century. Like a lot of old instruments of this style, the plugs in the mouthpiece are sometimes made of lead. Lead in the mouth has a way of getting into your body, which has a way of getting into your brain, which, in sufficient concentrations, can get in the way of how clearly you can think. So, be careful about playing these old guys, should you run across them anywhere. You can, of course, lacquer the lead, and substitute some kind of lacquer poisoning for lead poisoning.
V. CHIFF & FIPPLE: DON'T BLOW THE VOTE
Click here for Chiff & Fipple's Voter Registration Drive
Apologies to citizens of other nations than the USA who can't vote. But, don't you wish, in this case, you could?
This is a fabulous new website: http://www.whistletutor.com . Do check it out.
There's a lot of news about one of our favorite bands, Flook. Too much to reproduce here. Tour info, including some rare USA dates. Re-release of the fabulous Flook! Live CD. Check out their website at http://www.flook.co.uk
VIII. NEW PROJECT BY THE UNDISPUTED
IX. STILL NOT DOING THE CHIFF & FIPPLE FORUMS?
Our users have posted a total of 250,099 articles.
We have 3806 registered users.
in our silence, we are complicit.
XI. THANK YOU AND SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER-Dale
Chiff & Fipple is a production of the North Central Alabama Home Gorilla Breeding Association, in association with Red Wolverine Enterprises, and 3Fish Productions. Our privacy statement is now online.
Having trouble with your whistle? Call Amy (if she's not on the phone with Eric) at Chiff & Fipple customer service.
Lord, help us see how near is your kingdom.
FastCounter by bCentral