The large house at the end of Maldene Square had been rebuilt in the last few years; when I asked around, no one who lived in the formerly-posh location knew anything about the owner. I tried to find a telephone number but it was unlisted. I took a chance one day and simply marched up to the door.
I was greeted by a lovely but quiet young woman and explained why I was there; I wanted to meet the owner. She suggested that it would not be possible. I pulled an old, tattered concert poster from the interior pocket of my pea coat; it was from an organ concerto many years past. She held up a finger, bidding me to wait.
Just when I thought I would lose my fingertips to the chilled London air, the door opened and she beckoned me in. I was taken to a large and familiar-seeming room which was soon filled with the sounds of a complicated organ piece. The player and his instrument suddenly appeared before me, having risen on an elevator that I had not noticed but somehow knew was there. I tried not to appear too eager as the organist finished with one last tremendous note and approached.
His offered handshake was firm and I again brought forth the poster; he seemed pleased to see it and was more than gracious when I asked him to autograph it. Soon our pleasantries turned serious as he asked me my true purpose. “I would like to ask you a few questions.” He wanted to know why and I proffered my smart phone, upon which I had dialed up the current Daily Post prompt. He was interested in my phone, which I promised I would explain if we could talk; he agreed and took me to a side table which had silently appeared. The quiet young woman, his assistant (and possibly sister-in-law, but I was too polite to ask), brought tea and we settled in. I tried my best to not stare at the complicated mechanism my host used to speak.
“With my knowledge of music and acoustics, I was able to recreate my voice,” he said. I asked about the process but he only gave me a basic overview. I kept my eyes on my own tea cup as he sipped his brew delicately from the back of his neck and we talked about a variety of topics.
Eventually I got around to the true point of my visit. “Doctor, I have to ask; how did you decide to use the G’tach?”
He smiled and began, “Nine killed her, nine had to die…” I listened to his story and when he finished, I asked him if he would mind playing the organ for me again. He bowed graciously and as the first refrains of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” floated from the pipes, we laughed together.
Ah, those Daily Post pixies.
Since we have just passed Halloween, I could not let this post go by without paying homage to one of the greatest villains (?) ever, Dr. Anton Phibes. If you’ve been a follower of this space for a while, you know he’s probably my favorite movie character…click below to get to know him a little better too (clicking takes you to a wiki page; despite the protestations at the top about how the article “may not adequately summarize” the story, it is more than adequate to give you the gist of the film).