Changing of the Guard.

I shipped a huge amount of stuff over here when I came to Edinburgh. In retrospect – which always comes back to bite you in the ass – I probably would have taken a lot less. Of course, I went with an incredibly expensive shipping service, thinking all my belongings would be safe. All but one of them arrived intact.

The casualty: my very favorite doumbek, crafted lovingly out of ceramic, glazed with a gorgeous mottled verdant hue, and stretched with the skin of manta ray, all to produce the most incredible, resonant sound I’ve ever heard from an instrument in this class. The ‘doum’ was so deep and touching, and it was truly a pleasure to play.

DHL killed it, and though I received a refund of the price for which it was insured, nothing has stood out as an exemplary replacement thusfar. Plus I’d just have to schlep it back to the States with me when I return. No, glue and rubber bands does not equal a quick recovery for such a precision instrument. But I still keep it close and tap on the cracked husk from time to time, remembering days of old and sweeter sounds that came with it.


The guys at the drum store on Newington Road were kind enough to have a ceramic Tunisian doumbek shipped over from Glasgow (obviously not using DHL, as evidenced by its safe arrival) and into my waiting, flapping hands, thumbs thwapping empty air in anticipation. It was extremely inexpensive, yet powerful and effective in its own right – a suitable replacement until I can get home and connect with the company that furnished my original.


It’s not as gorgeous or stately as the Ol’ Gal, but has a proud demeanour that begs to be tested…and challenged. It’s also wrapped with fish skin (you can see the eye holes and all), which I very much prefer for its richness and delicacy. It doesn’t rattle the windows with its resonant bass tones, but I am happy to have another lovely drum to fiddle with, which also is a fine keepsake from Scotland, by way of North Africa.

14 Responses to “Changing of the Guard.”

  1. purplerabbits Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 1:22 am

    Damn, I SO need to learn to drum 🙁

  2. seolta Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 2:04 am

    🙂 What lovely looking instruments… I too would like to be a drummer, i love the sound and the feeling you get from a good session and i adore to dance but sadly i do not think i have the rhythm or concentration to be a percussionist myself 🙁

  3. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 3:04 am

    I heartily recommend it.
    And it's *reeeeealy* easy – just put it in front of you and HIT!

  4. dichroicynosure Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 1:40 am

    Sorry about your drum.
    Hey, I was just thinking, do you know Craig from the SF Gamescape? Strangely, today I was listening to a compilation he made for an occasional/seasonal club he used to do with a woman named Margo, and there are several tracks of indian music which really made me want to learn an instrument (ok, so seeing your replacement African drum and knowing your connection to gs led me to post this)–Craig is swell.

  5. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 1:55 am

    Thanks for the condolences.
    Of course I know Craig! And, come to think of it, Margo – though not well.
    Haven't seen him for some time, after a botched attempt at making the GS website. Ach, weel. If you talk to him anytime soon, do send along my regards!

  6. pisica Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 2:09 am

    wrapped with fish skin … its resonant bass tones
    *groan* 🙂
    Could be worse…if it were, say, a violin, you could play scales on it….

  7. seolta Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 3:01 am

    *double groan* 😀

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 3:08 am

    I swear that I didn't intend to pun anything there…
    Why do you notice these things in my own writing when *I* have no idea that I even write them?
    Is my humour so bad that it's now being transposed to other elements of my being – unwittingly?

  9. dangerine Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 2:10 am

    air drum
    into my waiting, flapping hands, thumbs thwapping empty air in anticipation
    this is a hilarious visual

  10. agntprovocateur Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 2:59 am

    Re: air drum
    hahahaha. no kidding.
    sorry to hear about the messup.
    off topic to mr. <lj user="funkyplaid">- you were in my dream last night! the lil one and i were boarding a boat and we i ran into you. you were coming back from Scotland unnanounced. we ended up following you to your new place for a small gathering of friends. this is where it gets convoluted, the lil one goes off to play and is having a crazy time with some other kids. everyone breaks off into amazing conversations. i can't remember anything about what was discussed except it was pretty enlightening.

  11. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 3:14 am

    Re: air drum
    That is indeed an odd dream. I'm only pleased that whateverthehell we talked about left you with a positive memory!

  12. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 3:12 am

    Re: air drum
    You should have seen them flagellating like some primordial daphnia!

  13. inkbot Says:
    May 21st, 2004 at 4:34 am

    yay for the new drum!
    on my first trip to the uk, i brought a ridiculous amount of suitcases, like 5 or something. just thinking about it makes me laugh. i must've looked like the typical, stupid american. i actually had brought over a suitcase full of…books. because, you know, they don't have those in england, home to so many beloved…authors. um, yeah. stumbling up the tube steps, i could hardly carry it all. i think you're allowed extra slack when you are *moving* to another country, though.
    happy drum'n'!

  14. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 23rd, 2004 at 8:50 pm

    Yeah, I still have yet to see a book over here. Makes one wonder how any dissertations get written at all, eh?

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