Boy did I hit the hard drugs and booze, the buckets of KFC and the women of easy virtue when this box came into my life. It was bender-central. At the time I thought it was a coincidence. Overnight I went from being a hard working corporate flunkey to a dero on the streets, mooching for spare coins or cheap love. Fleas befriended me. Many a night I slept under the railroad bridge because I did not want to return home. The days were spent in the park humming contrapuntal motifs from the Two Part Inventions as played primly by Andras Schiff. I wanted to marry someone called Anna. Come Sunday, I would prowl the city looking for any church called St Thomas'. Much to my alarm, I was being magnetically drawn to organ lofts. One day I lurched past an Italian restaurant where someone was serenading the patrons with excerpts from La Boheme - it razzed me up. Worst of all, one morning I woke up to discover that I had grown a bushy beard down to my wanger.
That moment was a revelation; the Hound of the Baskervilles could not have been any clearer: I was being transformed into an SBL (Smug Bach Lover).
I sought assistance immediately. The local church was running an SBL Self-Help group. I became its most enthusiastic participant. "To get you back on the tracks," my counsellor intoned, "we need to understand the train-wreck." I told him about the Schiff. He wiped his forehead in relief. "Well at least it is not Glenn Ghoul, sorry, Gould - he's entombed more people than Colonel Sanders. But why on earth did you go near Schiff? He is just so mesmerizingly boring. There's Kempff in the Goldberg; Richter in the Well Tempered Clavier; Hewitt in the rest. We are the sum total of our choices. You knowingly allowed Schiff into your life. What are you going to do about it?"
Resolutely I shaved off my beard and went cold-turkey on the KFC. I showered. Bedecked in HAZMAT suits, a special opps team from the SBL Self Help group raided my house and dealt summarily with the Schiff box - from what I understand, it put up a good fight but it was no match for the flame-thrower. To this day its whereabouts is unknown to me. With effort, I returned to normal life. I now hold down a job. My wife is speaking to me. Writing this review is part of my ongoing therapy. May this minatory tale be instructive.