The following is an edited recording found in the flat of Gregory Fawcett.
Decided to record my thoughts during this exciting opportunity. I’m four floors up and have three months’ worth of pot noodles and vitamin tablets. Not that I’m going to admit to it on the neighbourhood WhatsApp group. Finally, I can achieve my dream of learning to play my grandmother’s cello – it’s been next to the wardrobe for fifteen years. I can do this. If the kids in the flat upstairs can do flute and trumpet, and Mrs Kowalski over the road can start the piano, I too can be a musician!
Downloaded sheet music for Elgar’s cello concerto and it looks great. Familiarising myself by singing along to a record. Yesterday’s practice session went well. I think the new strings are roughly right. There are only four of them. This is going to be so much easier than the guitar. Mrs Kowalski has noticed what I’m doing. Maybe we can duet across the street soon? She’s getting on very well indeed. Sometimes I hear her when her window’s open: her piano is right next to it. Her face looks so lovely when she plays.
It’s early afternoon now, or ‘half past second pot noodle’, as I’m calling it! [laughter, sigh] Couldn’t concentrate earlier as Trumpet Kid upstairs was squirting out Silent Night, really badly. In April, duh! Anyway, I’m going to do some warm up studies like my online tutorial says. I’ll tackle the Elgar tomorrow. After all, Bill Murray in Groundhog Day took ages to get brilliant.
[whispered, close to microphone] It’s five am. I’ve realised the only way an artist can focus is in absolute silence. Going to read through some Bach before Trumpet Kid gets any ideas. No sign of Mrs Kowalski yet. Curtains closed. Not that it’s a race or anything.
After yesterday’s debacle, I’ve waited until eleven a.m. to begin today’s study. Honestly, you’d have thought I was trying to drill through their ceiling instead of bringing the joy of music into their lives, the way they were carrying on, with their frankly intrusive shouts of “shut up” and “our family is trying to sleep” and “you deranged lunatic”. Anyway, today I make up lost time. Apparently I must practise for ten thousand hours to be any good. I can fit in maybe eighteen a day. As long as I don’t start before mid-morning. Mrs Kowalski waved earlier. Her playing is coming on really well. I think we have a connection.
[External ambience, sounds of gulls] We must reflect on our journey towards musicianship. For what is more noble than striving for excellence? We must make sacrifices. Looking down at the street below, it brings home how lonely the life of a musician is. Not for me the waving of passers-by through the window, bringing precious human contact. Up here on the fourth floor, we know solitude. Me and Mrs Kowalski. United in art. [noise of something dropping in liquid] Oh god, no! You little b– [liquid spilling, clothes brushing microphone] Right in my tea, you bugger! Bloody hell. [shouts] And you can bog off, Mrs Kowalski! It’s not funny. [sound of door slamming]
Decided to take a day off, as God intended. My confidence has received a setback, I don’t mind admitting. Mrs Kowalski had her window open yesterday, playing something rather marvellous – Chopin, I think. I was drawn to my balcony, to enjoy her open air concert. Then she looked straight at me, put both her hands in the air and laughed. It’s a bloody Clavinova! All this time. I don’t know what truth is any more.
Trumpet Kid and Flute Kid are doing some kind of duet. It’s a bit difficult to hear the flute when the trumpet’s going, to be honest. Unless the flute goes really high. I think they’ve noticed that too, so Flute Kid has been playing really high since breakfast. My tinnitus has kicked in.
Built a drum kit out of empty pot noodles. Can’t get the full range, as they’re all the same size, so it’s a bit monotonous. Chap downstairs is joining in every now and then on his ceiling, which gives a lovely sense of community. I wonder if Mrs Kowalski wants to try an old-fashioned walkie talkie with two of them and a bit of string stretched over the street. [pause] Everything is starting to look like a noodle and my kettle is scared.
[whispering] I’ve found the frequency of the universe! Listen! [cello C string plucked] If I lie down with the cello here under the coffee table, the resonance is [plucks string again] amazing. Wow. [plucks string again]I’ve been doing this all night and, honestly, it just gets better.
Mrs Kowalski keeps calling to me from her window. I don’t want to answer. I don’t think her playing is ready to meld with my one-ness in the frequency universe. She didn’t catch any of the Noodle Walkie Talkies I threw yesterday. [plucks cello string] We don’t need her. We’re going solo.
[whispering] I think Mrs Kowalski can fly! I can hear her on the other side of my front door now. She’s brought some friends. I wonder if they can fly too? [sound of cracking wood, footsteps, questioning voices] Mrs Kowalski! Hello. You smell lovely up close. I’m playing my one-note Bach suites – wanna hear them? [plucks cello string] Put down my coffee table this instant! Wait – are we doing a flash mob? Brilliant!
And that was how The Fawcett Follies were born: Gregory found companionship and musical fulfilment during his hospital stay, going on to record multi-million selling work, giving us the first immersive, cross-medium, tastable concept album based around pot noodle timbres.
We hope you enjoyed your trip to Fawcett Follies World, curated in Gregory’s original flat. The coffee table and Gregory’s grandmother’s cello are on display in the sitting room. In the window opposite, you can see a life-size cut-out of Mrs Kowalski waving. The gift shop is on your right. Please return this audio guide in the deposit box provided. Have a great day, and keep noodling!