Strings on Screen

Posted By on June 9, 2010

I was once involved in a television advertisement for some kind of beer. I had to handle a genuine Stradivari and a fake – the advertising strapline was “For those that can tell the difference.” I didn’t have to say anything at all. I just had to swirl the violins around in a safe-but-yet-with-bravado sort of way. Other specialists in ceramics and so on had to do similar things. Thankfully the beer brand disappeared without trace, and I didn’t care as I was very well paid and well fed for my morning’s work. However, I was impressed at the money involved – these advertising people lived, by my standards, very lavishly indeed. And they paid heavily to hire a genuine Strad, too. So much attention to detail.

But sometimes adverts, for all the money showered on them, demonstrate a carelessness that is simply astonishing. A few years ago there was a successful billboard campaign showing a thoughtful yet negligently-dressed woman playing the cello, with the spike still within the instrument and her hands in the wrong places. Surely, I thought, someone among the advertising production team would know how to hold a cello?

Why mention it now? Because, last night, a stylish film based on Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan was shown on television. It was set vaguely before the war, with period costume and a beautiful biplane and so on. And a little dance band, entirely spoilt by having an unplugged electric guitar – with a solid body – in it. Surely, someone would know that’s wrong?

Attention, all advertisers and film producers! I am available to act as your consultant in such matters. I’m very cheap.

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