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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000247.txt from 2004/12

From: "Lelia Loban" <>
Subj: [kl] strange doubling? - Shadow Cat
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 11:30:55 -0500

Susan asked,
>>So, how is Shadow Cat doing these days? We haven't heard much from her

I' deliberately discouraged non-human critters from posting, until things
slowed down before Christmas, because the critter messages seriously annoy
several people on this list. I always get some angry e-mail about them and
it never fails that someone using a fake e-address tries to send me the
klez virus. Oh well.

Don Hatfield wrote,
>I knew there was more than one reason I
>love Shadow Cat...anyone who likes "Dorian
>Gray" is at the head of my list. Just because it
>features another Hatfield has nothing to do
>with it,'s a great film.

One of my favorite movies! (I co-authored a three-part feature article
about the many movies of Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" with
the editor of "Scarlet Street," Richard Valley. The first part was the
cover story for issue #41, Spring 2001, p. 36. Part II came out in issue
#42, Fall 2001, p. 52; and Part III in issue #43, Fall, 2001, p. 48. We're
probably going to compile the articles with more material into a book, some
day when we both have time at the same time.) Are you any relation to Hurd
Hatfield? He's my favorite Dorian Gray. He looks convincing at the piano
in that movie, too. A professional pianist coached him and played on the
movie's soundtrack, but apparently Hurd Hatfield went to the trouble of
learning the music, especially the Chopin D minor (Dorian!) Prelude that's
the character's leitmotif, so that he'd look real instead of distracting
the audience with fakey-looking playing.

>Does Shadow Cat like movies like "White Zombie"
>and "Curse of the Demon" as well? I had a cat once
>that loved to curl up on the back of my couch when I
>watched the old Universal films. And I think playing
>for Shadow Cat could be considered a gig of sorts...

She's not super-picky, as long as the soundtrack isn't too full of drums
'n' thunder bombast. She watches Universal; she watches Hammer; she
doesn't much care whether the movie is an art film or a creature feature.
Yesterday, she contentedly watched a Gramercy B, "The Monster that
Challenged the World" (1957). Her main concern is to make sure she's the
only laptop. When I watch a movie to write about it, I watch it at least
twice. The first time, I avoid distractions and don't take notes, and the
only laptop is Shadow. She likes that. She wants to go for the world's
lap-sleeping record. (She likes baseball even better, especially when the
games run to extra innings.) The second time, I'm using that other laptop,
the non-furry one that leaves no room in my lap for a cat, and I start and
stop the movie, take notes, rewind, take notes, rewind again -- she hates
that. She does the Land Shark routine, circling the sofa every now and
then and yowling, "Are you *done* yet? Aren't you done *yet*? *Are* you
done yet?" (It's dangerous to let a cat watch "Taxi Driver.")

Btw, the reason I'm uneasy about her strong dislike for my clarinet playing
is that she's got a really good ear, and I've got half a suspicion she
understands my playing better than I do. She recognizes end credits music.
I've tested her carefully, making sure I don't move or otherwise react to
the fact that a movie is ending. I've even blacked the video down before
the credits crawl, to avoid giving her the visual clue. Nope, doesn't
matter if she's never seen the movie before, she still knows it's end
credits music, and she stands up, stretches, yawns and jumps down from my
lap. She recognizes endings, in general, live or on CD. The only composer
who consistently fooled her was Bruckner. I forget which symphony I
listened to (I don't like him much), but after the first four or five big
surges to false climaxes, she started flattening her ears and making
peevish little "Oh, pfttt to you, can't fool me again" noises every time he
humped himself up to another one, and then let out a dismissive "Mrk!" when
he finally did get done.

She also recognizes music she's heard before, if it made a strong
impression on her. She recognizes the first two notes of Michael Murray's
performance of Franck's "Final" and runs out of the room. She loves the
bass sounds of an organ, normally, but "Final" is a roaring fusillade of
Romantic Era solo pipe organ bombast. Murray uses all the cannons on the
Ruffati in Davies Hall in San Francisco, during the week the organ was
dedicated in 1984, and his Telarc CD-80097 has an unusually spacious,
vivid, wall-rattling sound. I love that piece, but it's everything a cat
hates. Since it's the last track on that recording, usually Messiaen and
Widor have already chased her out, but sometimes I play Franck's "Final"
first so I can hear it twice. Poor kitty.

If I ask her, "Do you want to hear some clarinet?" she leaves -- but only
if we're in my office where I keep the clarinets. If I say the magic words
anywhere else in the house, she knows I'm only teasing her, because there's
no clarinet there, and she just ignores me! She's clearly offering me an
editorial comment, because she'll sometimes sit through professional
clarinetists' CDs now (especially in cold weather--the warm lap trumps the

Lelia Loban
Q: What's the difference between a violin and a dog?
A: The dog knows when to stop scratching.

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