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The Rambler :: blog

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Some sad news 

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Nottingham's xylophone man has died, aged 73.

While this is not likely to be an obituary that will trouble me professionally, Xylophone Man, aka Frank Robinson was a famous musician in his own right. Almost anyone who has been to Nottingham city centre will have come across Xylophone Man. I lived there for three years (1995-8), and he was as permanent as the Trent. He used to sit in the pedestrian precinct outside the Broadmarsh centre with his toy xylophone (strictly speaking a glockenspiel) and 'play'. He had a unique style of hitting notes randomly, dropping in the occasional glissando for variation. Along with the penny whistle guy who sits outside the Oxford Street Debenhams doing a non-stop impression of a police siren, he may have been the least gifted busker I have ever seen. Now it's just possible that he was playing extracts from Stockhausen's series of Klavierstücke - and from memory this would be no mean feat - but I think it unlikely.

But he was always remembered with tremendous affection, and he even acquired some genuine local fame - the link above is to an interview published on BBC Nottingham, which originally came from LeftLion.co.uk, where there is a growing list of tributes to the great man (and a forum). And apparently the Evening Post (pronounced Eeeeeee Perrrrrrrrrrr!!! to those in the know) ran an obituary too. There's a growing campaign to get one of Nottingham's new trams named after him, and he is technically ahead of Robin Hood and Brian Clough according to Nottingham City Council's own criteria (dead historical figures) since he is both non-fictional, and sadly dead.

Rest in Peace feller.


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