Archive for February, 2011

Funerary Violin

February 27, 2011

Every so often I encounter a whole universe of devotion that I had never known before, and I’m (usually) invigorated by the fact that I basically know nothing of the world.  Case in point: I found a CD in my new office entitled “The Art of Funerary Violin: A selection of archive recordings by members of the Guild of Funerary Violinists.”

(  They have a website.)

Here’s the bio of the violinist:

Long regarded as England’s foremost authority on the history and practice of Funerary Violin, Rohan Kriwaczek graduated first from the University of Sussex in 1972, and then from the Royal Academy of Music in 1974 with an Advanced Diploma in violin performance.  Following a number of successful tours of Britain and Europe as a violinist, he became involved with the Guild of Funerary Violinists in 1975, and after much active scholarship researching their archives, was elected Acting Secretary in 1982, and then Acting President in 2000.  Over the last 30 years, he has dedicated his academic life entirely to the fervent study and recreation of the lost history of Funerary Violin, presenting lectures and workshops all around Europe, and writing a number of books on the subject, recognized today as the standard works for all students of Funerary Violin.

As a Funerary Violinist himself, he was instrumental in establishing concert series in cemeteries in a number of major European cities and has been given many honours, including the ifetime Achievement Award from the International Federation of Funeral Directors (2004.)

He has, over the years, held many posts at Universities and Colleges, but, since 1999, has dedicated himself exclusively in the promotion, study and performance of Funerary Violin, and his official duties as Acting President of the Guild of Funerary Violinists.

And the bass drummer:
Tobias James was born in 1975 and holds a first class degree from Oxford University in Funerary Musicology.  He joined the Guild of Funerary Violinists in 2001 and is currently serving an apprenticeship under fellow mentioned above.

BTW, the President, the picture of him: he’s wearing a bowler hat, standing in cemetery, and in his mouth is a pipe so long that the bowl and chambers lie outside the borders of the picture.

Horrendous Found Poetry

February 24, 2011

Found nailed to the bathroom door in one of my favorite bars in the whole wide world: possibly the worst poem ever written.


Vast instep

of manifest destiny

as a vamp is played

moves forward

across the country

increasing readership

of an existential light.


vellum thrills

like a grasp of grapes,


by the totemic.

Come by tonight

before the harbinger

gets to us in an emprise,

then and there there is

no turning back

from the armistice.


The writer signed it but I’ll spare her the embarrassment here…