Saturday, June 03, 2006

One piano, one beach, lots of fire.

On the 26th March 06 we managed aquire a pretty decent piano for free via Freecycle. It sat majestically in the corner of our student house in Aberystwyth, and although not in fantastic condition or perfectly in tune we all had fun playing on it.

We are all 3rd year students and will be moving over the next few weeks. We had originally planned to leave the piano for future tenants to enjoy, however our landlord did not agree to this. Therefore we had to get rid of it. It would have been nice to have found a new home for it, and a number of people we knew expressed a casual interest in taking it. But would they really have? It's easy enough to say you'll take it but it takes a lot of effort to move a piano.

One drunken night the idea of burning it was put forward. It was clearly the most rock n' roll thing to do, and would be very memorable if we could pull it off. Years later we may return to Aber and people would come up and say "hey! you're those guys that burnt the piano on the beach back in 06!". Its the stuff of legends.

Around late May we started investigating into the construction of the piano. The panels, keys and hammers could all be removed easily. We were also hoping to be able to remove the heavy metal frame to make it easier to move, however it was so tightly built into the main body this was deemed impossible. Removing all the other parts did make it a bit easier to move.

The 1st of June saw summer properly arriving, conditions we perfect, it was on. At around 9pm we pushed the piano on its wheels down the road to the beach. Passers by looked on quizzically but we ignored their stares and kept pushing. Once at the beach it was just a matter of brute strength to carry it into position.

The pieces were reassembled with lighting gel was squirted all over the inside of the piano, and fire cakes placed between the keys.

The complete piano ready for burning. Some of the keys were removed and given as souvenirs.

A large wooden stick was lit and used to start the fire, while puns were made such as "I have an instrumental role in this" and "i'm a key player".

The flames came up from under the keys and round the back to engulf the piano.

The fire grows more intense.

A crowd of onlookers gather to watch, many giving us praise and congratulations for pulling it off.

The fire burns away the panels revealing the strings, which gradually snap free.

The majority of the wood has been burnt, revealing the skeletal metal frame.

The frame toppels over and is then used to toast marshmellows.

The next day we returned to the beach and spent about an hour picking up all the screws, strings and pieces of metal that had been left. Including the large metal frame which weighed an absolute ton. This is all that remains of the piano.

It was a fantastic night, a truely unforgettable event. Some people have been quick to criticise us, and were appauled that we even considered doing it. But we stand by our actions. This is art.