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:


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.


That’s Steve at the back there.


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..

    Read more from MegaMan at:
  • 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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