friday i played linda lee’s open mike at the gypsy trader café with hobbit, and while i was there, i met another open mike musician named marshall who had already finished off one 40-ouncer and was well into his second (he had finished the second and was well into his third by the time it was his turn at the mike) when we came in. he immediately fixed his bleary gaze on me and my tuba, came over, introduced himself, and proceded to gush over my tuba, and how he had a “miniature tuba” that was exactly like mine, which had belonged to his grandfather, which he had determined that i should want to buy, because it was exactly like my tuba, but little. i payed little attention to him, becuase he was drunk and because i always get people raving about my tuba at open mikes anyway, but i gave him my business card and thought no more about it.
it was really nice to play music with hobbit, and it made me realise even more acutely the fact that snake suspenderz has been on far too long a “break” and i’ve got to get back into playing tuba for some band, because i really miss it… and tuba isn’t much of a solo instrument unless you’re The Tuba Man…
last night i (#32) went to a fez-up with hobbit (#8) and fez-monger (#13) at the elephant and castle, an upscale “british” pub (although despite the “british” ambience and decor, there wasn’t a single brit in the entire joint) on 5th avenue that has been there for at least 20 years, but i have never been in it before last night. once again, it was great to be out with hobbit and another fez-wearer in public, and the fact that it was the fez-monger himself added honour and prestige to the whole evening, even if i was the only one who noticed it.
i’ve been playing email tag with fez-monger for a week now, and i still can’t figure out where the link to order an “order of the fez” fez is. jason assured me that it was on the order of the fez web site, and he said that he emailed me with the information, but i haven’t received email from him, and the only mention of it that i can find on the order of the fez web site says that you should contact jason at fez-o-rama, and i can’t find anywhere on the fez-o-rama web site that even mentions the “order of the fez” fez. perseverance (or, possibly, perseveration) is key when approaching things like this.
yesterday, before the fez-up, i got a call from marshall, who was still obsessed with the idea that i wanted to buy his miniature tuba. he gave me enough details about it that i was able to determine that the instrument he had was probably very simlar to this one. he said that it had “engraving” on the bell (which i later determined was actually stamped there, rather than engraved, but i can’t expect him to know the difference) that said “J.W.Pepper, Importer, Philadelphia and Chicago” and that it had a serial number #24320. i determined that it was most likely manufactured around 1910 by John Distin for J.W.Pepper – a company that is still in business. i called him back and asked him if he could send me pictures, but apparently he is not technologically savvy enough to do such a thing, so i made arrangements to meet him today, to take pictures of the horn so that i could do some more research on it.
at 2:00 this afternoon, i met with him on dearborn avenue in seattle, and what he showed me was almost exactly the same as the horn that i picked out on the web, and it looked like it was in pretty good shape, for a 100-year-old silver plated instrument. it had some problems, but none that were not almost immediately overcome-able by a person with a bit of intuition and the correct tools, so i offered him $75 for it, and came away with a pepper tenor horn that is currently in the workshop with penatrating oil soaking through 100 years of corrosion on the tuning slides.
once i get the horn playing (which shouldn’t take too long, because all it really needs is a good cleaning and lubrication, and to have the lead-pipe soldered down where it’s come loose), it’s very likely going to join my menagerie.