The Last Castrato
It's a CD of castrato music. No, not Cliff Richard, a real live eunuch, well a dead one anyway. If you scroll down to the bottom you can listen to samples.
Horrible, is it not? It has really creeped me out and all day I've been going round going, 'Ooh, ooh, ooh, thank God I have nuts' and checking myself for testicular lumps (at least that's what I told my Mum when she barged into my room.) I mean, from the film 'Farinelli the Castrato' I got the impression that being a eunuch wasn't so bad after all, I mean he was svelte and sexy and he pulled loads of women and even managed to pleasure them in a half-arsed, brewer's-droop kind of way. And his voice in the film was fantastic, a fake one obviously, they spliced together a soprano and a counter-tenor or something - but that one there, the real thing, that's just a really creepy screech.
Listen to the poor bastard. Listen to that piteous wail. I mean, I don't understand Latin, but it's fairly obvious to me he's just lamenting his lost balls. Those aren't hymns at all, he's just going, 'Jeeeeeeesus, Jeeeeeeesus, Jesus God I've had me bollocks cut off.' I think that's how the whole thing started, the whole castrati singing sacred music thing in olden times, I think there was a Bishop walking along one day and he met some rural labourer or something who'd just chopped his balls off in a freak scything accident, and he was screeching, 'Jeeeeeeesus Christ, God Almighty,' over and over and the Bishop thought, 'Hmm, I can work with that.' So he brought him before the Pope and said, Look what I found, this bloke who does nothing all day but sing to the Lord in a really piercing voice, let's put him in the choir.
And the Pope said, Ok, let's hear him, so they brought him out and:
God in Heaven
Holy Fucking Bastard Shitting Hell, my bollocks
'Hmm, well, it needs work...Replace the last line with a Dominus Deus maybe.'
And then it caught on, and castrati became all the rage, and unscrupulous managers would get hold of naive boy singers and, 'Hey, kid, you want to play the big rooms, right? Your act is great, you just need to...change a couple of things...' 'I'm not getting a haircut. I'm not getting one of those sissy pageboy bobs.' 'Not a haircut, no.' 'And I'm not singing no soppy love ballads. I'm not selling out to the squares, daddy-o, my music has balls.' 'That's what we need to talk about...'
'You want me to do whaaat?'
'Think of the chicks, kid, all the girls love a eunuch, look at Farinelli, he gets all the women.'
'Farinelli's a freak, he's got eight inches on the soft, I can't compete with that.'
In fact impoverished families, apparently, took to castrating their sons on the mere chance they might make it big as a singer. This site details the case of one Signor Melani who handed the Big Snip to five of his sons. Deliberate castration was officially forbidden, so parents trying to sell their kids to church choirmasters had to come up with some plausible explanation:
'Another one, Signor Melani? What happened this time, running with scissors again?'
'Ees big tragedy, ze goat have chewed his bollocks off and now my little boy is no longer a boy alas.'
That site also says that barbers shops used to have signs in their windows offering to perform castrations. I find this a nightmare prospect as I have never been able to prevent barbers doing whatever the hell they like with me.
'Shall I take a little off the scrotum, sir? It's very fashionable.'
'NO! Piss off!'
'Trust me, sir, bollocks are so last year...look, just a little snip, just to tidy up down there, you can tell me when to stop...'
'Get off! Let me out of here!'
The thing is everything gets recycled sooner or later and castrati music is long overdue a comeback. Everyone's so jaded and always looking for the next big shock...I mean a couple of those tracks, if you speeded them up a bit and stuck a drumbeat on...it could easily be the next big thing. Anyone who wanted to make it in the music business would have to have the operation. That bloke off Pop Idol would be bitching at wannabes, 'Who cut your balls, the council?' Even rap singers would have to do it, and their boasting would have to take a refreshing new turn:
I got less balls than anyone, there ain't no questioning
All the ladies love me because they know that I'm non-threatening
They know that when we cuddle there ain't gonna be no puddle
I come home at night my lady give me what I like
A big fucking sandwich, yeah, you know that's right
I eat more food than anyone in town
I get hold of a sandwich and I wolf that fucker down
One thing I would like to revive, actually, is the practice they had under the Persian Empire of all government clerks having to be eunuchs, mainly because it would make my dole officer much less of an ogre.
'Frankly, Mr. Kelly, your employment record is...Oh God, Jesus, Jeeeesus, me plums.'
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, excuse me while I go and check they still work again.
6th August 2003