Ragtime and Time Travel
by Mark Rossmore
Hurled forward in time, the Confabulation of Gentry stakes its claim on an all new century.ect lender payday loans<

Confabulation of Gentry
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It's not often one comes across an actual time traveler, much less an entire band full of them.

The fabulously wealthy Professor Milo Reginald Pinkerton and his consortium of compatriots, The Confabulation of Gentry, were a hardworking band in 1912, entertaining the people of New Orleans with their ragtime tunes. Never could they have forseen the bizarre turn of events that found them whisked a century ahead to the year 2012!

Two years down the line, Prof. Pinkerton and his group continue to settle into their newfangled surroundings. He filled me in on his band's unexpected journey, their vintage sound, their clockwork drummer, and his (very low) opinion of his grandson.


Professor Pinkerton, could you describe what happened on that fateful day, May 27th, 1912, when you and your band became accidental time travelers?

I'm quite certain that it was no accident; destiny herself clearly has my good fortune in her best interest.  As it happens, my compatriots and I had been unjustly accused by the local police force of attempting to swindle the good citizens of New Orleans, via electro-acoustical hypnosis, out of their hard-won earnings.  

My band were cooling our heels, as it were, in our Secret Drawing Room on Josephine Street, when suddenly, we were simultaneously startled by an insistent rapping upon the front door by those aforementioned coppers, and a bright flash of light and alarming crashing din coming from the parlor.  A shining door suddenly appeared, followed by a woman claiming to be my own granddaughter, and she bade me accompany her back through the wonderous 'Time Portal', as I have come to call it.  Several of us made it through the Time Portal before it closed; I imagine the rest of my cronies were apprehended by those idiotic policemen.  

I must say the entire experience was both unnerving and exhilarating... the New Orleans of 100 years hence was quite offensive to me at first, but at least it was still New Orleans at heart, and I had no trouble in restaffing my ensemble with enthusiastic musicians who, like me, sought to restore hypno-jass music to its proper place in popular culture!

I imagine that must have been quite the shock! What's been the most striking thing about being transported to this century? What do you miss most?

The most striking thing I found initially was the amazing lack of modesty and propriety among the populace... as if the Storyville district had grown to encompass the entire town!  But even the denizens of that infamous red-light district would not have been caught without a top hat when in public.  The modern mode of dress is quite distasteful, I daresay.

I was also quite taken aback by the lack of style in autocars and other modes of conveyance - not to mention offended by the failure of my prediction that the large front wheel would soon be making a reappearance upon bicycles everywhere; how sad that this development did not occur!

I spoke with your grandson the other day at Pensacon in Pensacola, a Doctor Milo Pinkerton III of the Consortium of Genius. I must say, he didn't speak very highly you of at all. Is there some bad blood there?


Dr. Pinkerton's grandson fronts the rambunctious mad scientist collective, Consortium of Genius. You must agree, the family resemblance is rather... uncanny.

Now my dear granddaughter Formelda, on the other hand, has proven herself to be quite the noble model of the ideals of the Pinkerton legacy!  Were she not a member of the fair gender, she would certainly be a worthy heir to my fortune... 

Nonetheless, I see you've wasted no time getting back on the road. Which modern-for-you, vintage-for-us tunes are you playing for the masses? Any personal favorites?

Ahhh!  My ensemble plays many delightful jass tunes, including 'Bill Bailey', 'The Sheik of Araby', the 'Tiger Rag', and even the 'Telephone Rag', otherwise known as 'Hello My Baby'.  The latter has proven quite popular among these 'modern' audiences, but for some reason is frequently spoken of as sounding 'frog-like'... a personal insult, as I have absolutely no wish to sound as if I had a frog in my throat when crooning.

The Confabulation performing "Telephone Rag".

Which old-timey--sorry, I meant, early 20th century--songwriters do you find most inspiring?

I am quite fond of syncopated music, including the great bandleaders the "Professor" Jelly Roll Morton and Buddy Bolden, not to mention the pianist Scott Joplin.  I also admire the power and organization of the great marching bands, such as the one led by John Philip Sousa.  

Given that your most recent gramophone recordings were captured a month after the RMS Titanic sank, are you planning on re-recording some of your productions for modern consumption and ears? 

Certainly!  I am in fact currently surveying the local recording studios now, hoping that one of them is technically able to record music to a cylinder - for I am quite convinced that cylinder-recording will soon supplant disc-recording (which is on the wane, as I understand it.)

New Orleans, your home port, was already an old city before your band jumped ahead a century. Has it changed much in that time?

While I was quite offended by some changes - for instance, I was shocked when I discovered that our illustrious baseball team, the Pelicans, had apparently moved from their mid-city stadium to an ugly block-shaped building downtown and taken up the sport of basketball instead.  

On a more positive note, the French Quarter district seems largely unchanged, replete with its beautiful steam-boats for stylish sightseeing along the mighty Mississippi river, and horse drawn carriages for conveyance on land.  While on Royal St., I often succeed in escaping the horrible din of these modern 'rap and roll' musicians; I can sip a cafe-au-lait at the French Market, close my eyes, and imagine that I'm happily back home in my own century... until I reopen my eyes and see the price of the coffee!  

How fortunate that I'm a millionaire; how the citizens do not revolt on being forced to pay an entire dollar for a cup of coffee is beyond me.

I see you've brought your own clockwork automaton with you, the Clockwork Robotic Automatic Percussionator. Were there any injuries during the testing phase? 

Hahaha!  I must say, our Clockwork Percussionator, which we have affectionately dubbed 'COGSworthy', would probably cause quite a severe injury to someone who was caught unaware and, say, forgot his hand in the path of the drumsticks; the resultant blow could cripple you as easily as the machinery in a mill will rend a small child into mincemeat!  However, with care in maintaining the mainspring, these types of accidents have been reduced in frequency; percussion calamities never happen but once every 3 or 4 outings.

Where can the public catch you performing?

We perform at the best of places and venues!  Saloon appearances in New Orleans and elsewhere are common, and you can look forward to appearances at Steampunk events and festivals too.  Monitor our schedule at www.SteamCOG.com

Thank you for taking the time, and good luck in your travels, Professor!

Thank you, kind sir - and make sure you keep your top hat clean, your legs limber for waltzing, and your ears attuned to the sweet strains of HYPNO JASS!!!

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Author Bio: Mark Rossmore
Mark Rossmore has released three atmospheric albums of steampunk-inspired music as Escape the Clouds. A multimedia artist who enjoys telling dramatic stories, he has self-produced three acclaimed music videos and is a published author of steampunk short fiction, aviation articles, and music-related non-fiction. Learn more about his music, videos, and writing at: http://www.EscapeTheClouds.com .

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