Fast Eddie's School of Music Criticism

The professor’s name was Fast Eddie. He was peculiar, to say the least. He wore a plaid fedora, in which there was an old betting stub (or so it seemed) stuck hastily in the collar. In his jacket pocket there was a tattered spiral notebook and several unsharpened pencils, lead end up. He walked with unusual speed, very deliberate, but nervous. And this is how he spoke, too.

His lesson, which was alarmingly curt, went something like this:

Eddie: Nice t’meechyas, class. I’ll make this quick. Then ya can get into the game, presto. Just like that, see? Now whatcha gotta do is give em a line. A headline. Somethin colorful. Maybe it has somthin t’do with the players, maybe not. Just go for the gusto. Maybe something like this: (waves hand like reading a headline)

Sober Bartok With a Swirling Finale

They like that. They’ll go nuts for it. But it’s gotta be vague, intriguing. See? You gotta keep em wanting more. Cause that’s how ya make the big moolah. Then ya give em somethin over their heads. It’ll be like, “I’m smart and ya gotta listen to me.” Maybe somethin like this:

Big ideas in music gravitate toward big sounds.

T’ them, the saps, the writin sounds big. Gotta be big. Then ya follow that up with another doozey. A real zinger. See? They’ll be hooked in no time. Guaranteed. They’ll be throwin their money atcha. It’s like call and answer. Like a phone call: “Hey, how’s it goin, Marty?”

“F.U. Where’s my money, Fast Eddie? I gave you two weeks.” See? Zing! Zip! Flashy and a bit ballsy. See? Maybe something like this:

Well used, a single instrument does even better.

See? It don’t have to make sense. They’ll fall over themselves. They’ll be crazy for ya. You got em where ya want em. They gotta read the whole thing now. They cant get enough of ya.

Now all ya have t’do is apply my, “Quick and Easy,” formula. There’s a couple a things ya gotta know first. One, you don’t have to make sense. Ya already got em reading, that’s the main thing. It don’t matter whatcha do after. Just keep writin. And two, whatever ya do write, it’s gotta be colorful. I mean, ya don’t want a cheesesteak without the peppers. Am I right? Bingo, bango. Just add some sugar to the coffee.

The formula is easy. See? You just kinda throw in some names and you “pepper” em up. Make em sound expensive. Like the saps need to want this bull. Make em want to spend some more money.

If ya got “Concerto for Orchestra,” ya do it up like this:

great ode to symphonic luxury.

Zing! I am right?

If it’s loud, make it louder.

...public declamation filled with color and exclamation points.

See? It’s an f’in sonata. Just a fancy way t’say loud. They’ll eat it up. And if ya have to, exaggerate a little. It never hurt anyone, nohow.

If a lovlier, more touching piece of linear writing exists in 20th-century music, I don’t know it.

Ya gotta show some humility, too. Ya don’t wanna insult the poor slobs. If they get their little feelins hurt, it ain’t gonna go good.

And if ya didn’t like the show, hide it a bit. Like thankin someone for givin ya socks on Christmas. Do it up like this:

Brahms was good at destroying music he did not want remembered, but the C minor Scherzo at the start of this impressive evening might have escaped by hiding itself inside a hybrid sonata.

Oh yeahs. And always two adjacent adjectives. The more the better. Am I right? Or am I right? Or sometimes, hows bout an adjective that modifies an adverb? Always a winner. Stick to my formula and you'll be writin good in no time. You can take that t' the bank; better than a two-to-one at the track.

Alright knuckleheads, class over. Ask the bartender for your corrected homework on the way out.


This transcription was provided to me by an anonymous source. This source also mentions a few names who attended this class. Those names will be made available at the appropriate time. Here, is one of them.


Murderface said...

So, was this an undergrad, graduate, or continuing professional education class?

Aaron said...

I look forward to more transcriptions of Fast Eddie's lessons. It sounds like he's on the trolley!

Sator Arepo said...

He is totally on the trolley! This post gets better everytime I reads it.