link to listen to radio show on France Musique with Bruno Letort: Tapage Nocturne
from the introduction to “Everyman His Own Detective” by George Antheil
SUPPOSE that one fine morning in the spring of 1936 you had been sitting in your club reading all about the Titterton murder in Beekman Place, New York City.
And let us further suppose that after a quarter hour had passed you suddenly jumped up, and exclaimed:
“By Jove! The murderer is of medium height, has pop-eyes, thin hair which is probably slightly curly, and in addition, he has a slightly receding chin. Moreover he has previously been arrested for a major theft of some sort, probably an automobile.”*
Now wouldn’t that have been something! But don’t worry. You need not be envious of this past self of yours that might have been. Miraculous as the above diagnosis might seem, you can, with a little practice, become a glandular detective of really magnificent proportions.
* An almost exact description of the Titterton murderer!
Yet in many ways the Sophomore is a slight – notice I say slight – improvement over the green, oh, very, very green Freshmen. The Sophomore begins to part his hair – it si true that the part greatly resembles a snake fence – but it is a a part, nevertheless, and to be recognized, termed, and classed as such. The Sophomore girl no longer wears her hair in pigtails but heaves it up upon her head in bewildering designs specially calculated to impress the other sex – with a decided preference for Seniors. The Sophomore is already beginning to realize that the world is square and not round, and many other curious things which goes to prove that his brain is taking on creases. True – his conclusions are often painfully wrong – but he is thinking! You would scarcely believe it for a Sophomore but it is, nevertheless, true. The culture of the school is beginning to tell! To look at yonder lusty yeoman, whose mouth is a beautiful model of the entrance of the Hudson river tunnel at sunset and who gazes at you with innocent wonderment, you would hardly credit the fact that in two years’ time he will be a well-soaped and slicked individual who wears collars every day instead of just Sunday, who has a misty knowledge of mathematics and Latin, who talks familiarily about Chaucer, Shakespeare, Strauss, Beethoven, Rodin and Jess Williard, and who is known by that high and solemn title – “Senior!” Yet such will be the case!