Glenn Gould: Canuck cut-up

Yeah, he played the piano some. And did some of the coolest avant-garde radio work ever. And he wrote perceptively, even prophetically about technology and culture.

But in assessing Gould’s talents and contributions, it’s rare to hear much consideration of him as a comedian. But surely his antic achievements are more significant than allegedly amusing Canadians such as Rich Little, Howie Mandel, Leslie Nielsen or Red Green (names cited in all apparent seriousness as evidence of innate northerly comic sensibility).

Consider The Scene, a 1972 radio show (46 min, 64MB MP3) in which Gould pretends to be discussing sports, but actually ruminates on the very nature of human competition, on technology, and all manner of digressions along the way. The first time I heard this, I had no idea it was Gould doing the voices of his ‘guests’ (sorry if that’s a spoiler) — and was amazed when I realised his skills as a mimic. Shades of Peter Sellers. Hilarious and provocative stuff.

A shorter hit — a two minute YouTube video of Glenn Gould on animals and the prospect of inter-species communication via music. The look on Gould’s face the final few seconds of this clip warms me up every time I see it.

Two down, and thirty more short posts about Glenn Gould to go…

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