Wednesday, May 18, 2005

International (Con) Man of Mystery

That’s my vote anyway.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about…well it’s because I’m being intentionally vague. It’s for dramatic effect. I know it’s annoying, but sometimes you have to something completely trite and bothersome just to grab a little attention.

Like wash up on the British shore wearing a soaking-wet suit with no tags, say absolutely nothing and play the piano like a dream.

That’s just what happened a short time ago. A starkly blonde man was found wandering a beach near the city of Kent, England wearing a sea-dampened dark suit with the labels cut out and looking a little scared. When he was questioned about his identity, he offered no response. He hasn’t spoken a word since.

But perhaps the greatest mystery is his incredible talent. Sure, the dude can’t talk, but who needs to talk or even be remotely sane when you play piano like David Helfgott? It worked for David anyway.

The Brits are baffled. The mystery man has been dubbed “The Piano Man,” presumably because “Blonde Weirdo in a Dark Suit with no Labels who can Really Tinkle those Ivories” was a bit of a mouthful. Plus it doesn’t get Billy Joel songs stuck in your head.

Some suspect that “TPM” might be a foreign national seeking asylum, others believe that he might be suffering from a mental condition such as amnesia. I’m sure that even others, more inclined to soap-operatic speculation, believe that he was tossed into the English Channel by his evil identical twin who has hated him ever since he learned that they had different fathers. But everyone seems to be concerned. The outpouring of support has been pretty overwhelming.

And that’s always the first sign that this isn’t going to end well.

My hypothesis? The Piano Man is suffering from a severe case of “hey, pay attention to me…and don’t forget to pick up my latest album in the foyer after the show!”

I think he’s faking it. But that may just be the cynic in me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m somewhat of a romantic. I would love nothing more than for this guy to be on the level. A man who has suffered some kind of trauma so severe that he’s become disoriented and deluded, still retaining his god given gift of virtuosity so that, in his weakened condition, he can become the latest freak to hit the big-time, singing for handouts of human sympathy and being exploited by the masses, satiating their desperate need to pity something.

That would be sweet. Like something out of a fairy tale.

But I doubt that it’s true.

The British authorities have put out an APB for any information on his real identity. They have scoured the concert halls of the world trying to see if anyone’s missing a pianist.

Yes, hello, this is Scotland Yard calling. We were just wondering if you, by any chance, if you happened to be missing a…well…a pianist.

Hold on, Officer, let me check…Umm…Oh my…Oh hey, wait a minute, we are missing a pianist. I just set him down here a minute ago! [muffled] Hey Janice, have you seen our pianist?! He was just here on my desk!...What?...[into phone] Okay, we found him. Yeah, he’s here. Sorry to get everybody all excited. Have a nice day, officer and good luck. [muffled] Damnit Janice! I told you not to clean off my desk! I have everything just where I…*click*

So far they haven’t gotten too many leads. But some of the more promising ones have been from people who claim that he's actually a French street musician.

That’s my bet. He’s a highly talented street musician tired of playing on the damned street.

And it makes sense why he’s not telling people who he really is. It could be embarssing.

He’s French.

Fun Fact: K-Jazz has been playing a lot of Gypsy music this morning. There is nothing better than Gypsy music if you ask me. It’s really great. I’m being serious. Django Reinhardt was one of the greatest musicians to ever live. So I’ve been very pleased to be serenaded with Gypsy music for the last few minutes.

But I seem to be missing some silverware.

Oh, I kid the Gypsies. Why shouldn’t I? Everyone else has for the last 400 years.

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