Hi everybody.

Today, I’m in Marlborough to pick up a pianola, also known as a self-playing piano. It is a wonderful bit of turn-of-the-century engineering and in keeping with the rest of my collection of Victorian and later optical toys – it’s great fun being an artist. My collection so far includes, illusions, phenakistoscopes, zoetropes and praxinoscopes. The Victorians were good at giving names to their technology, and these were all precursors to films, leading to the invention of cinema at the end of the 19th century. I use it all for inspiration for my pottery and artwork. However, back to the pianola.

As everyone knows, pianos are heavy, but self-playing pianos are even heavier! That’s why I had purchased a piano moving dolly off Amazon, which is basically a board with four strong wheels on it. I just hoped it would take the weight, which in fairness it did. We got it to the van and somehow slid it into the back with a millimetre to spare by the roof.

However, if we thought getting the pianola into the van was difficult, getting it out proved nearly impossible! In the end it took 4 of us, including a stranger, whom we had to practically drag off the street. One of my helpers suggested I could end up looking like some cartoon character, squashed underneath it, with just the arms and legs sticking out and made a joke of saying I would B-flat –  yes, I got it. For the moment the pianola is safely tucked away in one of my storage units, awaiting a re- tune and service. Next time I’ll hire professional piano movers! 

Barry Akins

Infinity Clay