Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The analysis of The Musicians of Bremen or 'any gig in a storm'

The Analysis of
'any gig in a storm'


History, so they say, is written by the winners. In this case the winners are, quite literally, the underdogs
[1] and as these stories [2] so often tell us the only time that the underdogs can ever win is when the chips are stacked against them and things are at their worst.

There was once an old donkey who was ill treated by his master. This isn't particularly surprising, donkeys in these types of stories seldom have any sort of easy life [3]. Now most of them grin and bare it with a maddening kind of zen but this story is about one who didn't.
It was after a very trying day when his owner had been harsher than usual with the whip and the load was twice as heavy that the donkey finally made his decision. What nobody else knew was that the town of Bremen had been hunting for people to sing in the towns band and with his powerful voice and long hair then he could pass for some sort of new age musician.

As he went along the road the donkey met a dog who was covered in sores and while I'm not certain what that has to do with the story the end result is that the dog ended up being drafted into the band on the understanding that if the duo met up with Simon Cowel then the dog would get to bite him. A little while later a cat joined the band. It did this without asking because cats are cool enough to get away with this. (4)
The trio wandered along quite happily until they came to a farmyard where a rooster was standing on a fencepost and crowing loudly.
“That's a good voice you've got there” observed the donkey
“It won't save me” the rooster replied miserably “I'm due for the cooking pot tomorrow”
“So why crow so loudly?”
“The farmer gets migranes easily. Especially when he's been on the bottle” his voice raised to a shout “DON'T YOU?”
The band ducked to avoid a pair of boots and a stream of curses directed at the rooster (5)
“We're going to Bremen to be singers. Wanna come along?”
“Sounds like fun” the rooster, my name is Crowel, Simon Crowel by the way”
“So close” said the dog with genuine regret
“It's a long way to go for a terrible joke like that” the rest of the band agreed and went on their way in a futile attempt to leave the author of such bad jokes behind them.

By the time night fell the band was all alone in forest which was the special kind of spooky you only get in movies that have body parts in the titles (6) and, just like in every slasher film ever made, they followed a light through the woods until they found a little cottage.

Now I'll break from the narrative to note that we KNOW that this is a mistake. Spooky forest plus lonely shack in the woods does not a good time equal.

Leaving the grammatical nature of that aside aside (7) it should be pointed out that there was nothing outwardly wrong with the house itself. It wasn't home to any cross dressing wolves and the only witch to ever show an interest in the place had long since been done in by a couple of young tearaways (8). The major problem was that this house was the home and base of operations to a group of bandits who, as you'll find out later, weren't the sharpest triangles in the orchestra pit.

The band climbed on each others backs in order to look through the window and what they saw, rather predictably, was the inside of the house but the important thing is that in this inside were a group of highway robbers who were dancing, singing and generally cavorting about as they celebrated their latest robbery. But the significance of this paled into nothingness when the band saw the table groaning under the weight of all the food and in the middle of it all was the chief robbers birthday cake

Unable to contain himself the donkey stuck his head through the window and accidentally knocked over the only lantern which plunged the place into darkness and startled the band so that they began barking, screeching, braying and crowing while the terrified bandits fled screaming
“The devil! The devil!
The band of course took advantage of this and not only got a roof over their heads but also got to eat all the food.

Later that night (
10) one of the braver bandits crept back to the now quiet house in order to find out exactly what had happened. In the darkness he mistook the cats eyes for a pair of burning coals, because being brave doesn't automatically translate into being clever, and the cat reacted as anyone would in the same situation.

I tell you after that it was all over bar the shouting. While the cat was clawing the dog was biting and the rooster was scratching until finally the donkey took careful aim and sent the worlds unluckiest bandit flying out the door.

“My brothers” he reported back after the rest of the gang had given him some strong drink in order to calm his nerves “we can't go back to that house. There's a horrible witch who scratches, a demon who bites and a monster who beats you with a stick! I tell you I'm giving up this bandit lark”
But this last bit he said to himself because the rest of the group suddenly decided that the life of a jolly jack tar was infinitely preferable to dealing with demons. At least at sea all you had to worry about were sea monsters and you knew where you were with sea monsters.

Thus is was that the one band took over the house from the other band. With the booty left behind by the bandits they always had food on the table and lived happily and contented for many years.

If this donkey is clever enough to decide on a career change why is it that he never thinks about ringing the authorities to inform them about treatment?
He doesn't have to do it at home of course, that would be silly. But once he'd left there was nothing stopping him putting a call through to certain people.

Did anyone think to make shadow puppets before they did the lantern bit?
I ask this because whenever a certain type of person sees a silhouette they immediately think “Batman!” (11)

It would appear that this is one time when the good guys won and the bad guys lost with no repercussions on anyone who didn't deserve it. I mean the donkeys master will most likely get another animal although with any luck he'll have learned his lesson and treat the new one a bit more nicer.
After their brush with the devil the (ex)bandits have settled down to a variety of careers that keep them out of spooky forests and firmly on the path of the straight and narrow.

The only actual fly in the actual ointment is that the animals never actually got to Bremen. Which, strictly speaking, means that the title of this story should be something like
“The musicians of that little house where the bandits used to live”
I realize that it doesn't exactly trip off the tongue but that’s hardly the worst of it.

By their actions we can deduce that they were only ever in it for the money since as soon as they got a house and the bandits loot they seem to have settled down (12) which means that the actual title of the story should be
“The sellouts of that little house where the bandits used to live”

Now I'd like to be able to stop there but I've one more point to make. Given that they are involved in the music scene but not actually doing anything as bourgeois as actually playing I'm afraid that the final title of this otherwise delightful story is going to be
“The sellout hipsters of that little house where the bandits used to live”

  1. although strictly speaking they are also underdonkeys/roosters/cats.
  2. And Disney.
  3. On top of all this they're known as asses. Asses! All I can say is that there had better be one hell of a karmic reward after all his is over.
  4. Any cat who joins a band should wear sunglasses and play bass but you can't have everything.
  5. not the duck though. He left before they got famous.
  6. and Scooby Doo
  7. I ask myself is this funny? And I answer my own rhetorical question with “It's three in the morning and I haven't slept for two days. Right now everything’s funny”
  8. Kids these days. Amiright?
  9. But there was no cake. The cake, unfortunately, is a lie.
  10. Probably around midnight, these things have a habit of working themselves out around midnight.
  11. Actually there are two very different types of people who think of Batman in these circumstances. At least one of these groups should be avoided unless you really, really, want to meet the caped crusader.
  12. I base this on the fact that there are no “Donkey and the Donkettes Greatest hits” albums around

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