Harmonica! Run for your lives!

Last updated 12:02 26/04/2012

Hello and welcome to Thursday, or as I'm calling it, "Second Monday". Having a day off in the middle of the week is a lovely thing but I did have to keep reminding myself yesterday that it wasn't actually the weekend and found myself repeating like a  mantra, "don't get used to this; you're back to work tomorrow". As glorious as a Wednesday public holiday is, is there anything worse than a week with two Mondays in it?

In a word...yes and that thing is a harmonica.

Allow me to explain.

On recent trips to the supermarket* there has been a busker outside. I can't honestly tell you much about the busker other than that they are a seated humanoid. The reason for this is that I generally spend as little time in close proximity to said street musician as possible and am repelled by them to the degree that I won't even look at them.  And it's because they're playing a harmonica. The last time we were there, upon leaving the building and entering hearing range of the busker, I actually ran to the car so as to get away from the noise as soon as possible.

So apparently I can add "harmonica" to the "list of things that will induce Moata-running". The only other things on that list up until now have been "zombies" and "George Clooney"**.

I'm not sure when this strong aversion to the harmonica started. I remember having a very cheap toy one as a child and I had no problem with them then but somewhere along the way the sound of a harmonica became the sound of someone squeezing four different-sized emphysemic cats, at least to my ears. That's the only way I can explain how I perceive the multi-layered discordant evil of a harmonica being played.

The Silver Fox has periodically expressed an interest in learning harmonica. Conversation of this type has generally led to us both agreeing that he should have a "man-shed" for this purpose. Mind you, finding a suitable "person-house" for us to live in is rather higher on the list of priorities at this point.

And I'm not being stubborn about this. I genuinely wish I didn't react this way to harmonicas. Every now and again I'll try and be in the presence of some, just to see if I've outgrown this aversion but it hasn't happened yet. Even though I find a recording of harmonicas slightly less jarring than the in-person kind, I still can't enjoy this kind of "music". It's a bit like me and blue cheese. Even the really mild stuff makes me want to scrape my tongue to remove the taint of it.

So I was just wondering if anyone else had particular instruments or sounds that make their fillings rattle in their heads? The Silver Fox can't abide a saxophone solo (thereby denying himself the festive joy of Wham's Last Christmas. WHY?) and I have a borderline tolerance for bagpipes (okay at a distance, rather too overpowering up close). As regards fingernails down a blackboard, I discovered in high school that the sound of anyone else doing it was hideous but if mine were the fingernails in question, I suffered not at all.

* As of this week we have enough stamps for a second sticker knife (just in case you were wanting an update on that).

** In the event of my being in the vicinity of a George Clooney-zombie, opinion is split over whether I would a) run away from it, b) run towards it, or c) find the opposing influences cancel each other out and I remain frozen to the spot unable to move. Let's hope that if there is ever a George Clooney-zombie on the loose, he is a harmonica-playing George Clooney-zombie, thereby allowing me to run for my life...fingers crossed, eh?

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53 comments
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Justin   #1   12:13 pm Apr 26 2012

On the "fingernails scratching a blackboard" I find the sound doesn't bother me, its remembering the dusty vibration feeling running through fingernails when I did it that makes me shudder. It's just icky.

On Harmonica, it's alright in small doses accompanying other instruments. But solo, run for the hils!

viffer   #2   12:26 pm Apr 26 2012

Blue cheese is awesome. Harmonica? Depends - it's OK in a blues band or whatever, but on it's own? Debatable. That probably puts it in the same class as the piano accordion: OK(ish) at a bavarian beer cafe (or festival), deserving of being run over by a steamroller elsewhere.

Davo   #3   12:26 pm Apr 26 2012

I can't stand bagpipes. They are the most annoying noise out there. I am not a fan of harmonicas either, but can hadle Sevie Wonder playing one, he is magic with it. Q: What is the difference between bagpipes and an onion? A: No one cries when you cut up the bagpipes.

Davo   #4   12:28 pm Apr 26 2012

Although I have just remembered I used to go out with a girl was a piper in a band. I am not sure if that is what has put me off them or not. I can tell you one thing though, they are very good at breathing through their noses....

Ami   #5   12:29 pm Apr 26 2012

Heh, nice post thanks for the laugh! Bagpipes! I cannot abide them, and I wish I could.

Panpipes   #6   12:31 pm Apr 26 2012

Panpipes. I have been known to give money to truly awful buskers purely because they weren't playing the panpipes.

viffer   #7   12:31 pm Apr 26 2012

Oops - forgot to comment on the "two Mondays". Yeppers - despite the bonus of a mid-week break, it was somewhat ruined by today being reminiscent of Monday, Part II: The Return of "Blah! Monday Again". It also completely screwed with my internal clock - I had to keep reminding myself yesterday, "Tomorrow is NOT Sunday!" I'm worried too that it might overshadow the almost-joy of Friday, tainting it with Tuesdayness...

Noodle   #8   12:31 pm Apr 26 2012

@ Justin - I was going to same thing about the "fingernails scratching a blackboard" thing. That and bare feet scraping on carpet or wooden floors. Horrible.

@ Moata - Is it just my imagination or has George started to go a little downhill lately? In his latest advert I actually found myself thinking "Oooh, I don't actually fancy that much".

Niri Tacen   #9   12:32 pm Apr 26 2012

For it's Cicadas. Their horrible, never-ending noise, especially when they start tapping the wood to add in clicks. It's bad during the day, and worse at night when some lusty sod has attached himself to the wall and is squeaking away (I'm still talking about Cicadas here, and not my dodgy neighbour, though I wouldn't put it past him...)

For some reason my right ear is very sensitive, especially to high-pitched sounds. When a Cicada starts up, my ear actually throbs in resonance. I would be a vanquisher of Cicadas, but the beloved has banned me from purchasing a flame-thrower for the purge. :-(

em   #10   12:34 pm Apr 26 2012

Wiht you on the harmonica. I can't stand bagpipes, but apparently I used to love them as a toddler (I have no recollection of this), now there sound sends me running, the only time I have tolerated them was in Edinburgh, because the setting was appropriate.


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