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Claiming Our Place In The English Language

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With the faded buttoniere hanging limply from his lapel, he nodded vacantly at the bar tender, his signal for another double concertini with olives. It seemed that drowning his sorrows was the only way to survive. Yes, he was a concertinaholic. Earlier in life he had tried to mask the severity of his affliction by calling himself, with the hint of a carefree laugh, a mere Anglophile, a leather lung pumper, an Angler, a button botherer.


But time had taken its toll. His health was failing. His right arm was host to a seven-fold complex of symptoms: bellowsitis, the shakes, and other maladies with names too difficult to remember. Then there was the terrible wheezing. Drawing in air and pushing it back out again, over and over. An operation had skived a patch on the biggest puncture wound, but the wind bag was old. Some asked why he carried on, calling his effort merely a noisy way to get back where he had started.


How did it all happen?


He was born an Anglo-Saxon. From the beginning seemingly doomed to be half a man, living up the first half of his legacy, but not the latter, knowing intuitively that he could never find joy with the sax – just too few reeds to bother with. His father, a tight-fisted boxer, was a man of few words. He seemed to do his talking with his black belt in caterpillar wrestling. His mother, was a kind woman. He remembered fondly listening to her concertales by the flickering firelight warming the rough flag stone kitchen floor.


But, his life was rough. He was baptized into the Anglocon church by some old bellower, a round portabellow sort of man. As a young boy, shortly after being given his Italian-made concertinny, he was initiated into the Royal order of Wheatstonians by his revered squeezer-wheezer mentor – a wonderful bellowfellow, who constantly played the lush tones that only a mellowbellowfellow could create. But even this league had been infiltrated by Jeffries-ites, and, God forbid, Anglophobes.


Then his coming of age, and the search to determine the direction of his heart. He had known his bi-flexual yearnings for some time, but was AC/DC the answer? Then as a young man, a starry-eyed activist seeking to “Free Reed” along with every other confined proletariate. Then the bitter war years. He had his scars from this endless battle that waged Anglophobes against Englishophobes – both tenacious, both firmly rooted – creating a caldron of differences that would carry on into the distant future. He felt so many sources of turmoil – so many hands constantly pushing and pulling. The whitening at his temples was a reminder that he was getting old, frail and Stagi. Life droned on.


An elbow in his ribs startled him from his stupor. As he turned, he saw next to him a man dressed in simple working clothes, smiling, with two pints of Guinness serving as dual exclamation points at the bottom of his cascading white hair and beard. A right jolly old elf. “How about a tune?” he asked as he pulled an old fiddle from his case. “It’s getting nigh Christmas, and there is nothing like the jigs from Clare to warm a man’s heart”.


The fiddler slid over one of the pints, a Christmas offering of friendship, mirth and music. A sweet Gm jig then brightened the room, coaxing people to turn, listen, and engage. There was much laughter and sharing. The empty hexagonal case stood in the corner for many many hours that night, and the concertinaholic thought that perhaps his affliction wasn’t all that bad.


Seasons greetings to my concertina friends!

Edited by Craig Wagner
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That tale, sir, deserved not only its own Topic, but its own Forum. No agin-ums on this one!


"And there sat The Lord, above them all, suppin' on his Guiness -- 'cause he only drank holy water.


"And he said, 'Peace on Earth, good will toward men -- and, well, of course, women, too, -- even those who argue on concertina.net.'


"And the little porcelain angel with the concertina said, 'Amen!' "


:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) ;)

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  • 2 months later...

Hmm, nobody seems to have suggested that we call our instrument "Box Populi".


Well, maybe because it isn't. I guess that name belongs to the television.


But if a fellow and his girl go out in a rowboat and she rows while he plays concertina, does that make him the "Boxswain"? <_<


And if your concertina sits too long in a damp environment, does it develop a "boxious" odor? :(


I think it's a sad comment on our society that there seems to be no movement to ban the cruel sport of "Box Hunting". (All those tired little instruments chased across eBay and then sold into slavery! :angry: )

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