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on 15 September 2013
This is a really funny book. Not many books make me properly laugh out loud but this one did, and a laugh does you good, so read it for the good of your health. It might even get you a nice bit of elbow room on the Tube. I was reading it on an Underground journey where one section in particular made me snort loudly with laughter. A proper snort, like a hog. Apparently this is Not Done in London. But hey, I earned a Tube carriage to myself! So, absolutely worth a read, full of recognisable truths to musicians with any orchestral experience. And you may gain a pleasant commute.
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on 5 November 2013
Laugh-out-loud funny (yes, on the Tube too. I know.) It's impossible to pick a favourite moment as there are so many brilliant bits, but I must give a special mention to the picturesque explanation of beating patterns, the inspired rules governing whether an orchestra will successfully start playing, and the chapter on conducting gestures which had me in tears of laughter. And I had a quiet, knowing giggle with some friends when we spotted a "Wild Man of Borneo" conductor type at this year's Proms.

The book is also a real eye-opener, and after many years of orchestral playing, Lev and Barry have answered numerous questions I didn't even know I had about conductors and the waving business. Family members who are not musicians have frequently asked me "But what does he/she *do* on that podium, other than wave their arms around and/or dance in time to the music?"... So that's a few Christmas presents sorted then - I can't imagine a better or more entertaining way of answering them.

Oh, and speaking as a choral singer, possibly my favourite chapter of all is the one regarding conducting of choirs. You'll have to read it to find out why!
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on 9 August 2013
Wonderful fun for anyone who has ever sat in an orchestra, been to a concert, or who has a sense of humour. Light-hearted but with warmth and depth, the chapters on Orwell's childhood alone make it an irresistible read. And it just gets better. Lovely stuff.
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on 3 November 2013
Those orchestral musicians among us who always believed that the conductor's major role was to keep the front desks entertained during rehearsals will be gratifyingly vindicated by this book. Not only is (at least) one of the authors a wit justly famed beyond his own podium, but (at least) one of them is also alleged to be the author of a very funny food blog. In consequence the text is larded with food-related metaphors of dazzling vividness - in one instance two egg-related ones on adjacent pages, sandwiching another concerning runaway horses and dental floss. A veritable feast for the brain and imagination, horribly indiscreet, enormously entertaining, and highly digestible. And on no account omit to read P207.
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on 4 December 2013
Whether or not you think the author is completely off his trolley, this is a great read and gives a unique insight into the world of conducting. It had me laughing out loud in public places and I would say that it is guaranteed to increase the flow of endorphins in the reader.
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on 15 April 2014
A brilliant book, should be read by all those would-be conductors out there, and also by those who think they can conduct. Many laugh out loud moments, got me some funny looks.
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on 1 May 2014
Read all other reviews: they are totally accurate. Brilliantly funny and definitely laugh out loud. Throughout, it's a joy to identify some current foibles on the podium...I'll be watching so much more closely in future!
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on 4 December 2013
Whether or not you are a musical type, (I, for instance, have the musicality of a tone-deaf stoat), if you like 'laugh out loud funny', you will love this book. Truly.
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on 15 August 2013
After reading Waving, Not Drowning by Barrington Orwell and Lev Parilian, I shall never watch a concert the same way ever again. In a good way. A very good way. Whilst I could see how anyone who's ever played in an orchestra could appreciate this part memoir/part instruction manual, it is always fascinating to get that behind the scenes insight as a complete stranger to the craft. I suppose this is the fascination of those endless 'reality' TV show but this book is a far more revealing and entertaining glimpse into the psyche of the daddy of all team managers, the conductor. I don't know if it was Barrington's telling or Lev's recording of the tales but the narrative sparkles with wit and colour. At one point Barrington asserts that he can't draw and will use words instead. Hurrah, he can indeed paint a picture and doesn't need a 1000 words to do it. The international conducting milleu is appears to be a fabulous vein of utter bonkersness (although apparently also very precarious, if the number of early deaths are anything to go by!) Whether recounting the wisdom of uber-maestro Etwas Ruhiger or highlighting the many unique conducting pitfalls (The 'Bugger It's Too Fast' Over-compensation (BITFOC)), I was either howling with delight or chuckling in sympathy. The jacket cover promises a mercifully short read but my only gripe is that there isn't more - particularly of Barry's own conducting experiences. Maybe this already planned for part 2. I hope so. Thoroughly recommended to anyone who ever wondered what really goes on in the mind of someone who tries to get a bunch of other people to do what that one person wants when the bunch all have other ideas (hint: mainly panic!). Actually just thoroughly recommended to anyone who wants an entertaining read, end of. (Reality TV eat your heart out)
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on 16 December 2015
A charming, witty and hilarious book which really captures the essence of life in the music world. You'll have many moments of "Ah that's EXACTLY what happens in real life," preceded and or followed by tummy-aching laughter. Lev Parikian is a brilliant writer, conductor and all round fantastic chap. Couldn't recommend this more highly, whether you're a professional musician, keen amateur or simply enjoy listening to music. I look forward to the next instalment.
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