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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 5 (September 1, 1929)

Splurgical Instruments

Splurgical Instruments.

Let us consider some of our contemporary splurgical instruments. Is it not fitting that, music having originated in the bellows of our four-footed friends, we should utilise their spare parts in the construction of our squawkers and rattlers?

I hate to mention it, dear reader, but what of the bagpipes? Thousands have asked this question with tears in their eyes, and the only answer has been a low moan, like the sob of a heart-broken haggis. The bagpipes remain one of life's mysteries. They have never been adequately explained. People sob, “Why are bagpipes?” and put chewing gum into their ears; but still from the oatmeal caves of Caledonia come these bags of irreconcilable alternatives, marked “Explosives,” “Aeropains,” or “MacHinery,” and sometimes even disguised as music. But let us be fair. Do not let our feelings carry us away more than five or six miles from the seat of the disturbance. Let us remember that for the manufacture of every nest of bagpipes, at least one poor quadruped has laid down its life for Scotland, for it is known that bagpipes are manufactured from the scooped-out personality of a sheep, or an ox, or an ass?

Having deflated the bagpipes, let us turn to the combination of horse's flyswatter and cat's mousetrap known as the violin—but often referred to as the vile-din, and worse.

Is not nature inscrutable, gentle reader, when we consider the fact that a horse's swisher brought into conflict with a cat's inner meaning is, more often than not, productive of a disturbance akin to the howl of that continental quadruped known as the hors-de-tomcat?

Of course you are aware that the notes of a piano are manufactured from the eye-teeth of an elephant—hence the jungle noises which frequently emanate from its little-known interior. Of pianos there are various species, including the grand piano. Suffice it to say that of grand pianos the baby variety is the most persistent and is provided with a self-starter which is difficult to stop. The “baby” usually performs from midnight until the first rays of daylight, and is at its best when completely unstrung.

And the drum—what of it? Of course you have heard songs sung about drummer boys who have played on and on relentlessly, although shot through the drum-sticks and wounded in the professional pride, but what do you know of the physiology and biffology of the belaboured boomerabang? When I convey
“A basinet is a musical instrument.”

“A basinet is a musical instrument.”

page 52 the sad tidings that, in the interests of biffology, at least two sheep have given their pelts for each drum, is it any wonder that a sheep always appears to look on the world as a very skinful place?