Cole Porter and the Nook from Unhappy Koree

5 02 2009

What can I write about this? It’s a funny old world after all.

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JC: Is that thing recordin’?

DR: Yes it is, it’s recording when that green light is on.

JC: Okay. Should I start talkin’ now?

DR: Sure, at any time, there’s no rush, Mr. Caminsky.

JC: Ain’t right sure where I should start.

KC: What about that one with the music guy in it, John? The pianna guy.

JC: Oh, you mean the one with the nook?

KC: That’s the one, dear.

JC: Ok, well – this is recordin’ right? – this one is called “Cole Porter and the Nook from Unhappy Koree”. The way I heard tell there was this ol’ music man from Peru who went by the name of Cole Porter. Now Mr. Porter was a smooth operator, and he had charmed the heart of many a girl up and down the length of the Eastern American Conglomerate and had even gone over the pond in a big ol’ airship to meet the famous impresarios of North and South Britain. Wherever he went he brought with him a musical instrument called a pianna, and when he used that instrument people’s minds would just float clear away in pleasure and they would forget their troubles and cares and be free and joyful. I guess that’s how he got the girls to do their thing for him. (laughs)

KC: John Caminsky! That’s no way to talk in front of our guest!

JC: Anyways, whenever he came across any trouble or strife he would whip out his pianna, blow a few notes on it and improvise a lyric. The people who had been arguin’, or fightin’, or bein’ curmudgeonly would straightaway stop, listen and then start smilin’.

Ol’ Mr Porter could make the bitterest of foes cry and embrace and could fix the worst marriage quarrel or business feud. They didn’t have the Noble Peace Prize back then, I guess, otherwise he woulda been a shoo-in.

So where was I? Yeah, he was travellin’ around, makin’ people like each other and makin’ the gals love him and generally havin’ a good time and impressin’ people. Now, at that time there was a country called Unhappy Koree and they were the unhappiest country on God’s earth. This country was way over on the other side of the world, and it was full of people and the people were hungry. The only way a man could get food was to join the army, so all the men did that, just so as they could get a potato and some vegetable stew at the end of the day. But of course that’s a problem right there, because someone’s gotta pay for all that, and of course the army was huge, and when you get an army you gotta start lookin’ for someone to fight. So the Unhappy Koree people went out and built these big ol’ factories for makin’ these terrible nookular devices and they were fixin’ to blow up everyone that they didn’t like, or those that had more food than them.

It woulda been bad times for the world, but luckily enough, a good friend of Mr Porter’s, a South Britain guy name of Brave Noel, got wind of this when he was travellin’ the world with his troupe of performin’ mandrills. That’s another story, but you see Brave Noel was actually in the pay of the South Britain secret service and he was really just scoutin’ around lookin’ to see what was goin’ on in the world. So, he gets word to Mr Porter, and Mr. Porter gets to thinkin’ that maybe he and his pianna could do somethin’ about that situation. If he could just get to deliver a few lyrics to the Unhappy Koree army, then things could be right as rain. So off he went to visit his buddy in that far away country.

Lissen, uh, I gotta take a little comfort break here. Hope you don’t mind.

DR: No problem, Mr. Carminsky, go ahead.

KC: Mr. Redman, I got to apologize for John’s talkin’ about the girls like that, I’ll have a word with him later, you can be sure.

DR: That’s ok, Mrs Carminsky, I think I’ve heard of this Cole Porter guy in some other story, wasn’t he gay?

KC: He sure was! He made so many other people happy I’m sure lots of that happiness rubbed off on hisself. Here’s John now.

JC: Ok, let’s get back on track. When Mr. Porter got to Unhappy Koree he met up with his good buddy and he showed him the army and the sick and hungry people and Cole got right cut up and upset when he saw the skinny little kids and the despairin’ mothers and he said to Brave Noel, I gotta do somethin’ here. So, Noel was a-preparin’ to do a show that night with his performin’ mandrills, and he says to Mr. Porter that he could perform on the stage in front of the whole army and try to cheer them all up. Sure enough, later that night, he got up there in front of the huge army, whipped out his pianna and blew the best music he ever blew. He sang out the most heart-rendin’ and sad lyrics tellin’ the story of a unhappy nation that had no food or joy. Then he turned it into an upliftin’ song about how the nation fixed its ways and became bright and cheerful and happy again. Brave Noel, who was watchin’ from the wings of the stage, couldn’t believe his eyes and ears. The whole of the Unhappy Koree army was a-wailin’ and a-weepin’ and the ground was gettin’ muddy with tears. All except for one guy. At the front of the crowd there was this little guy with a nasty face and screwed-up eyes and filthy hands and he just spat on the ground and took off for the nookular factory nearby.

About ten minutes later when the crowd are all a-snifflin’ and slappin’ each other on the back, and perpetratin’ manly hugs, the little guy turns up in a truck with a big cylinder on the back with numbers on it and the numbers are countin’ down from a hundred. He shouts at Cole Porter, this here, he shouts, is a high yield tactical nookular device, and it’s gonna melt you and your pianna cos you messed with my country. Then he runs off howlin’ like a coyote.

Now Cole’s in the doo-doo big time, how can he stop a tactical nookular device with just him and his pianna? So he shouts over to his buddy Brave Noel and gets him to come over. Take my pianna, he says, and make a tune, I gotta concentrate on singin’ the sweetest lyrics to this here nookular assailant. So Noel strikes up a tune, and Cole starts to sing out in that velvet voice of his, starts singin’ out a story of love and loss and hate and hope and jealousy and joy. He’s doing nuthin’ else but singin’ the entire tradition of the human race. He sings till there’s blood comin’ out of his ears, and then he just keeps on singin’. All the people around have passed out, their own minds not being able to cope with the strength and truth of his noble lyrics. Brave Noel is curled up into a ball like an armadiller, and the pianna is bent, black and twisted and still Mr. Porter sings on. The numbers on the bomb count down and down and just as they hit zero, he stops his singin’.

Was the whole lot of them vaporized in an all-consumin’ nookular fireball? They was not, they escaped the fate of Wichita. Cole Porter’s song had persuaded the hot plutonium heart of that bomb to straight turn to lead. You see, the bomb itself can’t be reckoned an evil thing, because it has no soul, but it’s the hand of the man who makes it wherein the evil is perpetrated. Cole Porter just needed to reach out to the bomb and persuade it to change, and when he did that he showed the world how a man can act for the good of his fellow men.

So that’s the story of Cole Porter and the Nook of Unhappy Koree. It was my grampa told me that tale when I was no more’n about six years old, when we was movin’ out here to get away from the Third Dustbowl in the mid-west.

DR: Thanks, Mr. Carminsky, I really appreciate your contribution to
our Oral History Recollection Program.





One response

6 02 2009

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