Blogging Up The Works

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Becoming John Malkovitch André Verchuren

"Not André Verchuren!" I hear you cry. Or not, as the case may be.

Anyway, André is the mot famous of all French accordionists. He has sold over 70 million albums. That's more than one and a half times as many as Eminem. Ha. take that Slim Shady. You've been beaten by a French hair-dyed nonagenarian. Who knows though, by the time he is in his 90's he might also have sold that many.

Still, enough about them, it's me I'm you're interested in. And you'll be pleased to know, even though I only have 30 years to go, I am taking André on. From a standing start. And to that end, just prior to Christmas, I purchased a piano accordion. Not just any accordion but the one in this photo.

The Magnificent M and I had half jokingly, half seriously thought it would be nice to have an accordion now we lived in France. I mean, how much more can you integrate than that! So I started looking how much one would cost. Do you have any idea how much they cost new? Well, do you? I didn't. It's £6,000.00-£10,000.00. No wonder it's a dying art! Firing up ebay I immediately checked out second hand ones and they are still £1500-£2500. So that idea died a death. Then one day I was perusing Facebook when one of those annoying personalised adverts popped up in the right hand margin. For an auctioneers. So, for no reason other than idle curiosity, I clicked on the link to see what they sold, hoping it might have art deco ceramics or jewellery. But it was musical instruments. And in general, stringed instruments. And tucked away, a few items from the end was the piano accordion. A £200-£300 guide price at least made it look a damn sight cheaper than most, and it was a well known make and professional model. So, I put on a very cheeky offer only to be told I hadn't reached the reserve price so I put in the maximum I was willing to pay, still less than the guide price and, rather like on e-bay, it took enough money to reach what was obviously the reserve price but not my total bid. So with 5 days to go I was lead bidder. And that was it. Nobody else bid. Bargain!

Luckily we were going to be in London the week after so we could pick it up in person. And we did. Neither of us ever having touched one before. And so now it resides in it's box in our living room.

M has yet to touch it and I have tried it once. By God it takes some effort. It's heavy, the bellows take some pushing and pulling, (the trick is you have the shoulder straps at different lengths so gravity helps extend the bellows so you only have to push them back). The good thing compared to the violin is that when you press a key at least the correct sound comes out, no scraping, no screeching. Our cat however, decided I had bought a large box with a filling of cats that were being pummelled and squashed within. She went from lying on the couch to going through the cat flap like a bullet within about two seconds. She did come back and then screeched. I'd like to think she was singing along but it may have been cries of pain.

So at the moment André is unlikely to be spending much time worrying about me, particularly as he is presently sitting on a cloud learning the harp, but I shall not give up. I pledge to you now that by the end of this year I will post a video on this very site of me playing it. Unless you pay me not to. You have been warned!


  • Pay you not to? On the contrary, I would willingly pay to see such art.
    I might even go over to Kickstarter to see if we can't get you some crowdfunding!

    By Blogger Masher, At 8:14 PM  

  • My eldest son has got one of those, and what's more he can play it!!

    By Blogger Frances, At 10:03 PM  

  • Oh yes, what Masher said!

    By Blogger Toffeeapple, At 10:06 PM  

  • Masher - Art may be somewhat overselling my possible achievement.

    Frances - I promise I will make you even more appreciative of your son's talent than you are at the moment.

    Toffeeapple - Don't encourage him!

    By Blogger kennamatic, At 9:04 AM  

  • I too would slip a few roubles in to your busking pot, to hear your art. I have heard a brilliant proponent of squeeze-boxery play many works by JS Bach. Perhaps I shall blog about that one day. However, my imagination has to take issue with you.

    Panna cotta?

    As if the stereotype of an accordian-playing Frenchman wasn't enough, you try to blow my mind even further with talk of an accordian built by two desserts? OMG!

    By Blogger Brennig, At 3:49 PM  

  • Brennig - Surely pancetta is a sort of dried ham. Or are you alluding to pancetta being to a pudding what my accordion playing is to art?

    By Blogger kennamatic, At 10:18 PM  

  • He played waltzes by Strauss and Die Fledermaus,
    And Tales From the Vienna Wood,
    Then Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto,
    But he didn't play that quite so good.
    (Benny Hill)

    By Blogger Fern, At 7:44 PM  

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