Saturday, 29 January 2011
Baroque and Roll
There were amazing scenes at the Byzantion Opera last night, when the English Baroque and Roll quartet known as the West Hampsteade Orchestra (The WHO) played, and young gentlemen of the town, all carrying their newly fashionable Guitars, set about each other afterwards in the foyer.
Apparently the behaviour of one Mr Peter Townshende, a member of the quartet, had so inflamed passions with his wild and abandoned playing of the instrument, that they became quite uncontrolled and the local Vardariots had to intervene and restore order.
We understand the young bloods of the town have picked up the guitar in order to serenade and so reduce their intended loves to a quivering passion.
There is some confusion as to where the new popularity comes from - some say from the Turkish quarter, some say from the Spanish and Italian mercenary troops in the Guard regiments who have been seen serenading their amours around town, some say from those very Vardariot troops, many of whom are gypsies from the Balkan hills.
Chief of City Policing, Colonel Klulos, said that the guitar was inciting young men to become public menaces - "most people can put up with the serenading at all hours of the night", he said, "so long as the serenaders can actually sing and play, which too often is not the case". He muttered darkly about proposing a new byelaw that would allow immediate confiscation of the instruments and a fine, with no strings attached. "Lets see if they have the guts to play then".
(Guitar frenzy is not exactly a new thing..."the role of the guitar as a courtly instrument during the 17th and 18th C were largely over but it had always remained as a favorite of the lower classes. During the last third of the 18th century this success transferred to the fashionable salons and the domestic sphere of the bourgeoisie."
Original Painting by Charles de Marescot. "Discussion entre les Carulistes et les Molinistes". )