From moping to moist music

Posted on May 28th, 2009 2 great comments. Room for one more!

It’s been a soggy couple of days in the city. When it wasn’t outright raining, a maritime mist kept everything slick, and the fog that followed ensured it stayed that way. I was starting to feel a bit under the clouds as I sat on the Dundas West streetcar, wondering what the heck I was going to write about today. See how much I care about you?

I was flipping around the idea of mentioning some of the outrageously asinine conversations I’ve been overhearing lately on the same route, but that was quickly dismissed when I spotted this thing:

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A giant demi-sperm stuck to a wall; brilliant! At first I thought it might be an installation that spilled across the street from the AGO, but a mere two photos later, a goggle-headed face appeared from behind the glare in the window beckoning me in.

This actually happened some time back in March. I kept putting off writing about it until I completely forgot. Until today, that is.

I was schlepping groceries from Chinatown on my way home when I spotted the worm (called Nessie). Steve Mann’s get-up initially startled me, mostly because he looked like an extra from a Mad Max movie. But those dreamy eyes…

Without a second thought, I lept up those steps with bags, camera ‘n all, and parked myself in the middle of the space.

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That’s Steve at the back there.

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As you can see, the stuff inside is even more interesting than the halved spermatozoa stuck to the outside. The bathtub is actually being fitted to become a musical instrument called a Hydraulophone. Instead of blowing air through the pipes as you would with a standard instrument, this one uses water which vibrates various pipes, each of which is tuned to a produce a different frequency. In this case, the instrumentalist sits inside the tub, which is often done up for public appearances to look like a real bathing scene. Except here the lady sings and plays the tub. I know, I’m blushing too.

It’s an exact science and Professor Mann’s the man in the field. He does the Hydraulophone thing professionally, between stints as a teacher and a cyborg, I guess. I can barely hold down a job and a blog, so I have to respect the guy. He’s also got a permanent Hydraulphone exhibit in front of the Science Centre. I accidentally dropped one of Oliver’s  poops while disposing of them behind the building; it’s probably still there. Just doesn’t really compare somehow.

At least I managed to go the whole post without making any off-colour references about music being made by inserting fingers into wet holes. See how much I care about you?

2 Comments on “ From moping to moist music ”

  • MegaMan
    May 29th, 2009 1:50 pm

    Very cool instrument! What a way to make a living inserting your fingers into wet holes. How do I get one..


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  • Patrick
    May 30th, 2009 6:47 am

    Well, it's not so much a job as it is a vocation. You start off with four years of University/College, then start at the bottom rung of the ladder. You have to join a local chapter of the Wet Hole Pluggers union and seniority is strictly experience-based. It's pretty complicated, actually.


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