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...a sweatshop of moxie

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Piano Man is No Anna Anderson

I was going to wrap-up Papa Ratzi coverage on my blog today, by posting my blog-review of the Pope's memoirs, but a story too delicious has popped up, necessitating commentary.

For four months, when he seemingly washed on shore in West Kent, the man the world knew as Piano Man suddenly said Friday:

I think I'll speak today

With these prosaic, anti-climatic words, the mystery of this unknown man who had been mute in his psychiatric hospital room until that moment, was slowly unravelled.

  • He's German.
  • From the Pope's home State of Bavaria, actually.
  • He's gay.
  • He's a would-be suicide.
  • Oh, and apparently the Mirror claims he can't "play a note of music".
So much for the musical acumen of psychiatrists.

Man, how upsetting.

Before this revelation, the mystery of the Piano Man's identity ranked as a cross between Greystoke's Tarzan, the Hartlepool Monkey, and Anna Anderson.

Allow me to explain.

The Greystoke/Tarzan bit is easily decipherable. It is the ultimate man-beast story, where civilised people encounter a human being in its most unsocialised incarnation.

Since the advent of globalised travel, meeting such creatures of nature has been near miraculous, although they've actually happened -- but it's a telling dream of the Victorian mind that Edgar Rice Burroughs would imagine such an impossible tale.

The Hartlepool Monkey bit refers to the famous, and possibly apocryphal story (dommage!) of a monkey washing on shore, shipwrecked, in the coastal port town of Hartlepool, in the NE of England.

Said monkey, cutesily dressed in a sailor's uniform, was obviously unintelligible to the good people of Hartlepool, and being during the Napoleonic Wars and all, they took his goobledigook for being a French spy! And obviously, when encountering a spy in the midst of war, you must hang them, (hear that Sean Penn?)...

...so they did!

-- Not to worry though. With the presence of mind of all Brits in times of colossal cultural mistakes, like imperialism and all that, Hartlepool and its local football club actually made the monkey their mascot, and recently there was even a man in a monkey suit who called himself the Hartlepool Monkey who ran and WON as Hartlepool Mayor. What a wonderful life this is. --

Quite obviously, that part of the story reminds me of the washing up on shore one day, and no one comprehending the Piano Man.

Lastly, the Anna Anderson reference deals with the woman later called that by detractors.

She claimed was the Grand Duchess Anastasia, miraculously saved from the bloodshed which befell all members of the Russian Imperial Family, save, of course, her good self. TOTALLY believable.

She was found half-dead, after attempting to commit suicide in a Berlin canal, and her story slowly came out in her psychiatric ward room.

You can immediately see the connexion between her and the Piano Man's story, can't you?

In fact, I never thought we'd have another pretender-mystery like this again because of the finger-pointing evidence of DNA testing -- which ultimately unmasked her after she had died, as just being a Polish peasant in need of a lot of attention.

Pretenders, mystery men, washed-up monkeys are in fact, as old a story as any in world history.

It was everyone's secret delight that it seemed we had an unsolvable mystery on our hands, but no.

He's just a rather sad young man, not particularly musical or indeed, mysterious, just a little lost.


A lot lost, but not everyone can keep it together in life, so charity, charity, my friends.

After all, who amongst us has not wanted to be gussied up as a French spy, when you're really just a monkey?

UPDATE: Piano Man has been sent home to Germany, after presenting his passport and having everything verified by authorities. His name was not revealed, but I bet you it's Dirk or Detlev. Mark me.

THURSDAY UPDATE: Boo! I lost. His name is Andreas, and his Bavarian friends and family from his village never recognised him. What a cosy family.


  • Well, I thougfht that Piano Man was some kind of a gay "performance artist", doing some kind os an antiwar, anti-Bush piece of "protest art".And, now, I am bummed out that it is not some jackass's attempt at "art". Though, I hope Mr PianoMan, who cant play the piano gets some good psychiatric help, and a prescription for Prozac or Zoloft.

    By Blogger ronin1516, at Tue Aug 23, 07:36:00 am GMT-4  

  • The penny has just dropped. Now I know where I've seen that look on his face before : remove the stubble and It's Lady Di, looking all vulnerable like. Nawwww.

    By Blogger Tommo, at Tue Aug 23, 09:42:00 am GMT-4  

  • Well, I thougfht that Piano Man was some kind of a gay

    That I thought he was gay, in the way women have of instantly sizing up a person by their gaydar readings, is without doubt.

    It's not about effimancy, so much as a certain look in his eyes...

    "performance artist", doing some kind os an antiwar, anti-Bush piece of "protest art". [...]


    I would suggest that if this is the case, Piano Man take his performance art to say, Oregon, or erm, Hartlepool actually.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Aug 23, 02:38:00 pm GMT-4  

  • The penny has just dropped. Now I know where I've seen that look on his face before : remove the stubble and It's Lady Di, looking all vulnerable like. Nawwww.


    By Jove, I think he's got it!

    The moment I read that, Tommo, I saw the similarity instantly. Especially the "vulnerable" bit.

    Think Di at Taj Mahal, looking bereft at being all alone, so pretty in her tasteful Armani, and yet so unhappy because her old man was busy elsewhere bonking a rottweiler.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Aug 23, 02:41:00 pm GMT-4  

  • It's sad when mystery is sucked out of life, but it is sadder still how life can batter people so, setting minds and spirits adrift.

    By Blogger Finn Kristiansen, at Wed Aug 24, 12:50:00 am GMT-4  

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