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Mrs. Boyce Threw A Concertina At His ‘Ed….
HansiRowe posted a topic in General Concertina DiscussionFor those members who may not have read this article before, here are a couple of hilarious (well… to us now, at least!) paragraphs from 'A Brief History of the Anglo Concertina in the United States' which was posted on concertina.com The whole article is very interesting and well worth a read, but these passages stand out for their description of "working class" players in late 19th c America... Anecdotal evidence underscores the popularity of the concertina with the working class. Much comment in the newspapers was negative, as was this piece from the Connecticut Constitution in 1869, complaining of urban street noise: ‘No one interferes to stop any account of noise in the night and early morning …. At any hour of the night a fool in love with a concertina may disturb the whole neighborhood with noises he pleases to think music …’ A police justice in Jersey City, commenting on ‘a complaint of disturbing the peace, by the use of a so-called musical instrument at a late hour at night, pronounced this eminently humane judicial opinion: “Any man who will play a concertina on a stoop at 11 o’clock at night deserves the severest punishment the law allows. I think he ought to be sent to the State prison for five years”. The concertina often appeared within the crime pages, either as a stolen instrument ranking high on the list of treasures taken from an apartment, or as connected somehow with a domestic crime. A typical account from 1889 involves a burglary of a household where the thief removed ‘a boys overcoat, a concertina, an accordion, a pair of opera glasses and some small articles …’ In the days before recorded music, electronic stereos, televisions and mass-produced household appliances, items like concertinas and accordions were among the most prized items a working class family might own; such instruments provided the day-to-day music that people heard most. In an 1859 investigation of wife abuse, a male friend of the accused spoke up for his friend, saying, ‘As soon as they got in the ‘ouse, Mrs. Boyce threw a concertina at his ‘ed, and locked the door and ‘ollered murder’. In a similar domestic incident, a Polish-born defendant was ‘… deserting his wife, but before taking his departure he destroyed all the furniture he could not conveniently remove [by throwing it out the tenement window], beat his wife, and sat down amid the wreck and played his concertina’, before an arriving officer arrested him. In Hazleton Pennsylvania, 1895, ‘Joseph Washkovitch died at the hospital from a broken s kull. Last Friday he played the concertina at a Hungarian dance, and because his music was unsatisfactory, John Lapka struck him in the head with a beer bottle’.