Ok. I live in New York City. This means that I am accustomed to noise, a good amount of it. It is routine for me to hear:
Police and Ambulance Sirens
Banda and Reggaeton with deep bass
The loudspeaker Azan a block away
Big cargo trucks which for some reason are allowed to drive down my Avenue
A Italian tenor with a vibrato so wide you could drive one of those cargo trucks through
The people upstairs who mysteriously begin moving furniture every evening at midnight
An air raid siren that inexplicably will go off in the distance, leaving me casually wondering if I am about to be vaporized by a hydrogen bomb
The car alarms of seemingly abandoned gypsy cabs.
Unabandoned gypsy cabs that will honk their horns to pick up a rider no matter the time of day (or night)
A crazy lady outside my window who literally shrieks at the top of her lungs to her children in Arabic
But the newest, and most inexplicable, is the new Cowbell Virtuoso.
This is a human, I think, who will bang on a cowbell at more or less a steady tempo for hours at a time. I’ve thought that maybe it was a child or baby, but the tempo is too steady. It sounds somewhat disciplined (not that it is in any way impressive), and completely in earnest. It is always absent any apparent accompaniment or instrument and never seams to be reactive. It also sounds as if it is being played by a proper drum stick, which only supports my theory that the player is taking it very seriously.
I can’t really get angry. I mean, I play the french-fucking-horn and am often screaming at the top of my lungs, in falsetto, one sentence that repeats throughout a melody. So I am trying to live with my new friend, the Cowbell Virtuoso.
Perhaps at a gig in the near future I’ll hear a familiar “plonk” behind me and turn to see the dutiful artist feasting on the sonic fruits emanating from his/her/its hollow metal Stradivari. Then I’ll walk over, extend my hand and say:
“Give me that! No more for you! Bad Cowbell Virtuoso Bad! Keeping me awake with your ‘plonks’ all the damn day. Bad Cowbell Virtuoso!!”