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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001420.txt from 1998/03

From: Stephen Cranefield <>
Subj: Playing to penguins
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 1998 22:07:17 -0500

Dan Leesons musings over how wonderful it would be to be the "finest
southernmost basset horn player" in the world prompted a friend to
tell me about the New Zealand novel "Forbush and the Penguin" by
Graham Billing (1965). In this book Forbush, an Antarctic scientist,
takes his clarinet with him on a field trip to Shackleton's hut at
Cape Royds in the Antarctic. After a quick trip to the library I can
now offer the following quote:

... After kicking its legs and waving its flippers as if it believed
them to be wings the penguin marched resolutely for the shore.
Here Forbush now stood feeling slightly embarrassed as if some
ceremony of considerable import was about to take place. He wondered
if he should play his clarinet in greeting, and blew a high sweet
note. The penguin stopped, legs wide apart and flippers outstretched.
It lifted its beak into the air and rapidly swung its head from side
to side.
"Damn it, the thing's conducting me," Forbush said.

This would have to be the world's southernmost outdoor clarinet
concert (in literature at least).

- Stephen

Stephen Cranefield Phone: +64 3 479 8083
Department of Information Science Fax: 479 8311
University of Otago
Dunedin, New Zealand E-mail:

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