whistlestop caboose

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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Music: a little light metal

My clip, your trombone, and a little bit of Paris blues

Trombone band, in the spotlight!

Paper clips were something I took for granted until I moved to France in 1980 and discovered that they are called trumpets. Most people did not even use them. The French seemed to prefer lightweight metal corner benders, which I never mastered the art of attaching to paper.

And the band plays on ...

I liked the idea of trombones holding together documents; it made the mundane business of attaching things more interesting, even a bit musical.

Paris blues, smoky shadows

European trombones, aka paper clips, are different from American ones. They are usually more angular. It's harder to find them in the fashionable colors that Americans now use, which is a shame.

American and French trombone duet, bluesy

American solo, My Blue Heaven

Think of it as paper boogying, and just like dancing, they don't do it in Paris the same way they do it in downtown Chicago, but that's what makes travel interesting. We used to clip things together, physically, and now we attach them, electronically. The French, however, used to join them sheet to sheet (ci-joint) and these days they annex (en annexe) them, a digital step.

"And when those saints come marchin' home . . ."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hear it for Norway, home of Johan Vaaler, the inventor who created the paperclip in 1899! According to about.com:

People have been re-inventing the paperclip over and over again. The designs that have been the most successful are the "Gem" with it's double oval shape, the "Non-Skid" which held in place well, the "Ideal" used for thick wads of paper, and the "Owl" the paperclip that did not get tangled up with other paperclips.

note: During World War II, Norwegians were prohibited from wearing any buttons with the likeness or initials of their king on them. In protest they started wearing paperclips, because paperclips were a Norwegian invention whose original function was to bind together. This was a protest against the Nazi occupation and wearing a paperclip could have gotten you arrested.


Thanks, Ellen! I love reading your everyday insights!


4:44 PM  
Blogger whistlestop caboose said...

A paperclip protest - how wonderful! Thanks for the history.

5:39 PM  

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