This Sunday, we will welcome our pals Simon Henneman and Dave Webb for a double guitar Racer Session. They’ve been dabbling together for many moons, and for this session will combine forces in a project called Bimble Awry. Simon compiled a series of emails, images and articles for you to peruse before the session, so read on for those. After that, make sure to find your way to Cafe Racer for the coalescing session on Sunday at 8pm, jam session to follow!
Bimble Awry, or guitar noodling of the highest order
“My friend Dave Webb and I were talking about our mutual tendency to aimlessly noodle anytime we had a guitar in our hands. Dave said, "My sister always called it Bimble Awry", as in," You never play any songs it's just all BIMBLE AWRY!"
I always think of it as a version of automatic writing, something just happening that you'd be paying attention to, while at the same time not really paying attention to.
Here's our email conversation about it and some of the info Dave found about the yiddish word Bimble that seems apt to our context:
Sep 11, 2018, 12:41 PM
Is that the right word? Want to do that duo thing at Racer session?
Sep 11, 2018, 12:57 PM
It’s never been written, only said aloud in my lifetime and my Yiddish speaking grandmother has been dead since 1995. I think it's Bimble-Awry. (like, to go awry or twisted). Phonetically it would be Bim Bil a Rye. I'd spell it Bimblearye, haha.
Sep 11, 2018, 1:02 PM
The word as used in the following excerpt doesn't involve wandering in a leisurely way, but there is something quite unexpected in this instance of bimbling from Sam Lonschein, My 83 Years: The Memoirs of a Veteran Zionist (1967) [combined snippets]:
The only bulletin notice in front of the building had his name written up by hand. The few friends whom I had sold about six tickets looked at me with suspicion. We sat down. Soon the artist appeared. Bowed graciously and sat down at the old piano in the middle of the stage. He threw his head backward and began to play something, but none of us understood what it was. After ten minutes of bimbling and moving his fingers over the instrument he stopped with a bang and stood up. There was little hand clapping from the first row. (All his relatives were in that row). He went backstage, then came out again and this time he played a Rumanian popular piece. It was a complete fiasco. The few people (strangers) walked out in disgust.
A few weeks later when I saw my printer friend he told me that Conrad Bercovici was not a pianist at all. The concert was arranged by his family to get together a few dollars as he had come over penniless from France to try his luck as a novelist in the English language. He also informed me that the "Tageblatt" had bought a story from him for $10.00 which they were now translating into Yiddish to be printed in some future number of the paper.
This is the story of the well known gypsy story novelist, Conrad Bercivici, who became famous in later years as a fiction story writer.
In this instance, bimbling may be a typo for bumbling, or it may be a neologism of the author's to describe a kind of aimless but exaggerated attempt to play an instrument without really playing it at all. In any case it seems highly unlikely to have had any influence on the emergence of bimble in the Falkland Islands 15 years later.
Sep 11, 2018, 4:52 PM
This is fantastic, such a good commentary on a guitar or free improv convention we are trying to highlight. I always called it scribble scrabble.
But, " it may be a neologism of the author's to describe a kind of aimless but exaggerated attempt to play an instrument without really playing it at all" is far better way of looking at it.
I'll tell Haley we're on.
Dave and I organized a couple of graphic scores for two guitars to present this phenomenon.”