JS Bach's Prelude XXI ... with - of course - solid 18ct gold Parker pencil for the fingering

Pissed-off Toff plays the ‘bugger-bugger’ prelude by Bach

in Pissed-off Toff Performs

And this time the video works …

Some time in the distant pre-Covid era, I tried putting this video onto my website, but it was too heavy to work. A techno-savvy friend told me that I had to create a YouTube channel, and then do all sorts of other terrifyingly complicated things; so a two-year delay ensued. But here, finally, is a working video of self playing Bach’s Prelude XXI in B flat major … aka the ‘bugger bugger prelude’, for reasons which I will explain shortly.

The brief recording that follows was made at the Caledonian Club late one night, at the end of what had already been a long and liquid day. Conventional musical wisdom has it that you can’t perform when you’re tanked up, so in theory this rendition should have been a mess. But alcohol does funny things, and on this particular evening it pretended to be on my side.

I love this prelude. When I was a boy, my mother used to play it on her Steinway, one of the most beautiful instruments of its kind, made around 1895 and now in the Provost’s Hall at Eton. As she practised this piece at a slow rhythm in the music room in our house in Gloucestershire with its deep red William Morris wallpaper, she used to sing “bugger-bugger-bugger-bugger” in time with the demi-semi-quavers. The habit was infectious, and visitors were surprised to see me running round the house gleefully shouting out a string of obscenities. 

Anyhow, here is Bach’s Prelude XXI in B flat major, performed, after a fashion, late at night over two years ago:


Click here to print this article (text only).