Wandering the streets of Cambridge in my lunch break, I walked past two men dressed as animals (the exact breed was unclear), playing panpipes and, in between tracks, eulogising about how we needed to get closer to nature.
I can think of no worse advocate for getting closer to nature than a man who plays the panpipes. Sorry, but if that’s getting closer to nature then give me a decent, unnatural violin any day, or a Fender Strat, or even a harmonica, dammit!
I’d rather be surrounded by synthetic, human-built artificiality than endure even a few minutes of what must be the most boring, insipid musical sound in the whole world.
Oh how ironic, though, that Messrs Fox and Badger were, as is customary for practitioners of the pipes of pan, accompanying their instrumental grotesquery with a pre-recorded backing track of soft-rock drums and Lloyd-Webber inspired synthesisers. And surely those animal costumes were also synthetic? (Unless they were completely unethical and had sewn together a whole load of real animals to create their bizarre, indistinguishable costumes. I suppose that would be one way of getting closer to nature.)
In my opinion, people who do such things are actually about as far from nature as we can possibly get; if God had meant us to play panpipes he wouldn’t have made them sound so bloody awful.
And at the end of the day there’s surely no more natural sound than scraping some horse hairs against cat-gut?