You're a Fisherman's Bassoon

Pete Stollery

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Whilst shopping in Tesco, Westhill, with my wife in early 2016, we caught site of a friend of ours, John Aldersey-Williams. He approached us and my wife greeted him with the phrase, “Hi John, you're a fisherman's bassoon!". At least, that's what he thought she’d said. In fact, she’d said, "Eurovision must be soon!". I thought, there and then, that this would be a great title for a piece about half-hearing and misunderstanding.
During the summer of 2017, I became uncomfortably fond of winning songs from the Eurovision Song Contest from 1956 to the present day, having spent a great deal of time listening to them in depth. They became my earworms throughout most of that summer and it was usually the ones I hated - Brotherhood of Man’s Save Your Kisses for Me (1976), Johnny Logan’s What’s Another Year (1980), Dana’s All Kinds of Everything (1970) - that would wake me up in the middle of the night, but I began to wallow in the mock-Baroque
chord sequence of the refrain from Lulu’s Boom Bang-a-Bang (1969) and the intense harmonic passages in Conchita Wurst’s Rise Like a Phoenix (2014), both of which feature strongly in the piece. In fact, no less than 34 quotations from past winners appear; some of them might be instantly recognisable, but many will be half-heard, at most. The piece also examines techniques of group dynamics, union and fragmentation (at global and molecular level) and may indeed be connected with concerns about Brexit.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017


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