funny stories

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Dueling violins

Jascha HeifetzIn 1917, the sixteen-year-old violin prodigy Jascha Heifetz made his American debut at Carnegie Hall. Among the luminaries in attendance were fellow violinist Mischa Elman and the pianist Leopold Godowsky.

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Cello scr*tum? It’s a load of . . . nonsense, admits Baroness Murphy

Until this week cellists worldwide had reason to fear a terrible malady. Worse than fiddler’s neck, flautist’s chin or even the dreaded guitarist’s n*pple was the condition known as “cello scr*tum”.

Never mind that this dermatalogical ailment seemed unlikely, given the posture of the average male cellist, the condition was named in the British Medical Journal, and thereafter in an array of reviews of musician’s aches and pains.

Nearly all such reviews referred to a letter to the journal in 1974 from John Murphy, husband of Dr Elaine Murphy, who noted that he had once come across a case of cello scr*tum. But Dr Elaine Murphy, now Baroness Murphy, has now admitted that the letter she drafted with her husband was a hoax, a practical joke that the couple have been “dining out on” ever since.

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Time to Tie a String Around That Strad

They talk about these bundles of wood and string as if they’re an extra limb, a repository of their DNA, a conduit to the very depths of their soul.
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