Paper Miniatures of Famous Musicians
For their series Star, People Too, Russian designers Alexei Lyapunov and Lena Ehrlich created miniature paper versions of famous musicians using tools like tweezers and knives and a combination of construction and specialty papers — and they come complete with tiny instruments and painfully detailed sets! The series includes mini versions of The Beatles, Bob Marley, Elton John, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson.
In honor of David Bowie’s new album, The Next Day, here is David at his best, singing Life on Mars? in 1971. If you have never heard this song, do yourself a favor and listen. Why post this? One, he is my favorite king of odd. Two, this generation needs to hear some real rock and roll from when it was still being made.
Vintage Musicians Having Fun with their Instruments
The Oldest Existing Cello; Andrea Amati - “The King”, circa 1538 AD
Quite Possibly the Strangest Vintage Photograph Ever
The Cat Piano - A True Musical Oddity
A cat organ or cat piano (Katzenklavier in German) is a conjectural musical instrument which consists of a line of cats fixed in place with their tails stretched out underneath a keyboard so that cats cry out in pain when a key is pressed. The cats would be arranged according to the natural tone of their voices.
There is no official record of a Cat Organ actually being built, but is rather described in literature as a bizarre concept. This instrument was described by the French writer Jean-Baptiste Weckerlin in his book “Musiciana, Extraits D’ouvrages Rare ou Bizarre” (Musiciana, descriptions of rare or bizarre inventions.
“When the King of Spain Felipe II was in Brussels in 1549 visiting his father the Emperor Charles V, each saw the other rejoicing at the sight of a completely singular procession…The most curious was on a chariot that carried the most singular music that can be imagined. It held a bear that played the organ; instead of pipes, there were sixteen cat heads each with its body confined; the tails were sticking out and were held to be played as the strings on a piano, if a key was pressed on the keyboard, the corresponding tail would be pulled hard, and it would produce each time a lamentable meow. It was noted that the cats were arranged properly to produce a succession of notes from the octave.”
More recently, the instrument was recreated using squeaky toys by Henry Dagg for a garden party held at Clarence House in 2010 by Prince Charles and Camilla to support his “Start” initiative for sustainable living, which can be seen here. The tune “Over the Rainbow” was played and caused great amusement. Prince Charles was laughing so hard, that his eyes start to water. Its quite funny to watch.
Curious History: “And of Course Henry the Horse Dances the Waltz!”
This is a reproduction of the poster that inspired John Lennon to write the song, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!, which appeared on The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It is printed in a limited edition of 1,967.
Lennon bought the poster in an antique shop and hung it in his music room. While writing for Sgt. Pepper one day, he drew inspiration from the quirky, old-fashioned language and set the words to music. The Henderson’s will dance and sing, as Mr. Kite flies through the ring, don’t be late!
Curious History: Hitchcock Presents; Music to be Murdered By, 1958
This antique book contains extensive medical and medicinal information adapted for “home and family use”, with interesting illustrations throughout. Two pages have layered illustrations, one of the head, the other of the internal organs.
Side Note: The music group, Pearl Jam, used this book’s title “Vitalogy” for one of their album titles. The album title also appears with the same calligraphy used on the books cover.