Off-key? Pianos fall off the scale as far as Harrods are concerned
It’s not quite the day the music died, but it is the week that Harrods killed off its piano department after 118 years. And while the Knightsbridge emporium wouldn’t be the first port of call for every would-be pianist in the market for a new instrument (“would madam care for an elephant with that Bechstein?”), the fact that it is closing its piano store’s doors is indicative of a wider trend.
We’ve turned our backs on the piano. They’re costly, cumbersome and can’t compete on either front with electronic keyboards, so it’s no wonder that the number of Joannas Brits buy has gone from 14,000 in the 1960s to barely 4,000 today.
As for making our own music, we might give Garage Band a bash on an iPad, or get even get out a guitar for the occasional social strum, but a sing song round the piano? I don’t know about your neighbours, but mine would go nuts. Nothing new there, though: when sales of pianos were booming in Victorian England, one Henry Lunn, editor of the Musical Times and a professor of harmony advised, in the strongest possible terms, that musicians should live in detached villas. Or create music ghettos where they could tinkle the ivories without getting a first in the face.
The only faint note of cheer I’ve heard when it comes to pianos in recent months has been at my local pub, very near what used to be London’s piano-making hub of Camden Town (there were 100 or more factories making them there once). On Sunday nights there’s a singalong around the upright in the corner, once a sight, and sound, that would have been available to almost every drinker. I can’t play one, I can’t afford one, and I haven’t got room for one, but a part-time piano is still a pleasure.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant