A. Vernon Wood

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The man who wrote today’s post is my age. I say that because he writes like a spiteful curmudgeon (you wouldn't know that he was 33). As you read, if the image you develop in your head of him has anything to do with a corduroy blazer then the image is probably correct. He also wears glasses. Mostly they rest on the end of his nose. He talks with his head tilted back so he can look across them. He is known to make a sarcastic “Hm” when he disagrees. His name is A. Vernon Wood (he will not tell me what the 'A' means). I met him when I was living in the DC area for a short time. He is a composer, and I wanted his take on our recent collaboration. Since I haven’t been keeping up with this blog (sorry, this September is a rough month) I asked him to write down his thoughts. - Jeff

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I hope you ignored the introduction – Lord knows to what end the “author” of this blog went to disclaim the purposes of my (this) guest entry. At least he was kind enough to warn me ahead of time that he would be doing so, which, in turn, gives me the opportunity to ready a disclaimer of my own – which will perhaps be the shape and tone this entire article will take. Of course, you morons don’t call them “articles,” because somewhere along the lines a generation killed the printed word, leaving us with web logs. Yes, that’s right, I remember what they were called before the format was, almost instantly, given a shorter name. To each his own, I suppose, though I do miss the crinkle of a dust jacket – that creaking crackle of a book being opened for the first time. Take a bow, for you people have excised the world of the printed word, like technological Nazis, burning each page against over-heating microchips. We have handed over tradition and warmth, and in return were delivered technology and depravity. (Do not cut this). But, I will digress now, for I am getting angry, and my purpose for pecking out this paragraph has nothing to do with the written word, but rather, with music.

The drip that normally pens this revue of random and uninteresting cerebral meanderings has suddenly decided to be a filmmaker – at least to a certain extent, because he’s found himself helming a documentary on something or other. I don’t know the subject, and I don’t much care. Nevertheless he required a score and since I am schooled in music he approached me, presumably because he has no talented friends, or because he has no friends at all. I would assume the latter to be the case, because he’s something of a putz. I told him that I at least needed a rough cut in order to apply the appropriate sound. With no concept of collaborative creativity he said he didn’t have the time, and that I would simply have to adhere to certain guidelines, the first of which was that the music “move.” I did my best to not roll my eyes when I first heard this (read it, actually, because he sent me the request via electronic mail), because all music moves, so to speak, and it made him sound like an idiot. Then he requested that it be at one hundred and fifty beats per minute (he also insisted this article not exceed 500 words – but I am not about to count them myself. Plus, I will assume he will, despite our agreement, edit). I suggested half time, and he insisted that the cuts were already being dictated by a placeholder – a bass drum following quarter notes. I then suggested he keep the bass drum, try farting into a microphone, because willful flatulence is, perhaps, his one and only talent (the man can ruin clean air on command), and to never contact me again – because who the hell is anyone unschooled in any medium to dictate such stylistic criteria? He persisted, however, and fearing that he may commit suicide (his e-mails became increasingly less punctuated, and more capitalized – added to which is he is something of a whelp) I took up the challenge at hand.

I had no subject matter, and no visuals, and so I set off to simply pluck notes from whatever demiplane I could pluck and put them in an order that – to quote the moron – “moved.” I spent only a few hours on it, and did not employ players. Rather I used the tool of an icy keyboard plugged into a computer provided by a colleague. The sounds were adequate enough, I suppose, and the average listener will surely not be able to tell the difference between them and a garbage truck, though I am hard-pressed to believe that any electronic form could match the warmth and presence of, say, a Stradivarius (to use an example that even the most uneducated may grasp). In the end I produced a charming little piece, if I do say so, and so I sent it off to him using the technologies of today, although I was tempted to press it into a phonograph record, on my own dime, simply out of spite. But, for whatever reason (call it pity) I did not. He got back to me not too long after with an electronic mail that read only, "Perfect, thank you. A little grating after about two minutes, but it'll do. Perfect." I had no idea how to interpret a negative criticism bookended by the word "perfect" - was he pleased or not? Was it used in the yet-unseen final piece? I was never paid for the job, of course, because financial responsibility and restitution were never the man’s strong suits. If I were to guess the traits that are his most prominent – based on this “blog” of his, and from our few interactions in Virginia – I would say alcoholism and, perhaps, low self-worth.

Though, at least he was good enough to allow me a retort to his regular readers – all five of you. So, I will give him that.

-A.

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