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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #181
David Gunn

It's Bingen Binge Weekend here in northcentral Vermont, with performers of varied proficiencies crawling out of the musical woodwork to celebrate the gala birthday bash of 900-year old visionary, composer and chiropractor, Hilde-avant-gard. While Hildy's many escapades in the worlds of music and channeling have been widely documented, her work in the marginally theoretical field of chiropractics has long been suppressed. What Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil were to the 1940's gossip column, von Bingen was to the 12th century spinal column. Coincidentally, Antheil revisited Hildegard's liturgical chant on chiropractice in his 1945 novel, Le Flambeau Oriange. Here now are two excerpts from that book.

"Dr. X, a chiropractitioner, receives a call from Mr. Y, a patient, who complains of a cramp in his leg. Dr. X knows that the leg is really a prosthetic device and therefore deduces that the ailment is hereditary. He advises bed rest and induced glossolalia. A day later, he calls to check on Mr. Y. A recording informs him that he has begun walking to Zimbabwe, via Bingen, Germany. With the chiropractor's gift for long and complex sentences, Dr. X hypnotizes the answering machine, simultaneously drifting off to sleep himself. He collapses on top of a patient who had suffered severe tongue distention during the production of a stamp licking film for the US Postal Service. The doctor eventually awakens to find his office infested with sheep and his vest licked clean by the patient. Dr. X cancels the rest of his week's appointments, buys a sturdy pair of shears, and abruptly changes occupations."

   "And it came to pass in a distant land that Abigail didst lower back discomfit encounter. And lo didst the lord then appear as a swirling cloud of unusual particulate matter not unlike sequins and say unto her "Get ye to thy hand physician, that may thy body's wining ceaseth."

   But didst Abigail then protesteth unto Him, saying, "Hear me, o lord, for vile hands hath he who toucheth my body in unnatural ways." And was the lord holy annoyed; yet before He could smite down upon all the mortals and randy fishes on the Earth plague and pestilence, didst Abigail thus repenteth, saying, "but verily shall I do as Thee suggesteth."

   And lo didst Abigail then seeketh out the hand physician, who was called Doc; in turn commandeth he her to lie down, saying, "Lie ye down upon the folding cot, woman, that I may cure ye of all discomfit."

   "Yea, I cannot," sayeth she back, "for thy mattress which resteth upon thy cot ist most egregious in its endowment of week-old fetidness." Indeed was it so, for dust bunnies in plenitude hadst there gathered, perhaps for months; and Doc was sorely repentant, but only briefly so, saying, "Then taketh thy bones and descend willfully to the floor!"

   As she was bade didst Abigail thus lie; even stretcheth out she in poses of great mystery.

   And it came to pass that Doc didst her back cracketh with hands that were indeed vile, but only marginally so, and she was glad. And didst Doc then commandeth her to come back on the morrow, saying "Get thee here noontime tomorrow, woman, and be not late, for others wouldst for your appointment clamor greatly." And was Abigail then less glad, for chargeth he an arm and a leg for her back.

   And there lived in the same land Rupert, who was called Tim, who knew not the ways mysterious of hand physicians; yet didst he still practice magic upon the bones of strangers through the use of herbs, analgesics and certain controlled substances of wonderment; and indeed couldst he maketh the strangers equally glad, or at least briefly benumbed. And lo seemed his rates even reasonable. And Abigail didst of Tim learn, and at once seeketh him out. Searcheth for him day and night didst she, but for naught; for he who was called Rupert was but a figment of the imagination of Abrahim, a shaman from Zimbabwe. And was she thus sore confused; and calleth out she out to the lord, saying, "Why doth Thee confound me? Doth my lumbago seem but a foil for Thy holy jokes?"

   But the lord respondeth not, for had He no comment. Selah."

We, however, have plenty of comment, for this, not surprisingly, is the 181st episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, and here ready to dispute all musical topology from suits to notes, is Kalvos.