Is That A Bird in Your Mouth, or Are You Just That Good?
Now that Peter, Bjorn and John are bringing whistling back, I've started to notice other young folks brushing up on their whistling. I was in Pinkberry yesterday wondering if I could disprove my friend's assault that the stuff tastes like foot cream (I can see where he's coming from, but it really doesn't; after years of Tasti D-Lite, you're immune), and some of my fellow berry-hoppers were busting out the tweets. They weren't very good, but it was pretty endearing. I've never been great, myself, but I can supplement clapping with a decent cat-call, and I can usually get a dog to come over and see what I want. But what I can't do is whistle national anthems, "Amazing Grace" or "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"--these are feats I delegate to professional whistlers, the most adorable of which has to be Cal Fenwick. This Ontario college boy has no trouble launching his warble up and down chromatic scales and he's a soloist for Canadian orchestras. Of course, even Cal admits he's not exactly the daddy of whistling, yet--that would have to go to Chris Ullman, the four-time national and international champion who has entertained Bush in the Oval Office with his renditions of "A-Train" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic." But please: if you buy tickets to see Mr. Ullman, refrain from kissing him. He'll have none of it, as he makes sure to note on his site:
Q. Does kissing affect your ability to whistle?
A. Yes. Kissing makes my lips mushy, which is bad for sustaining a pucker. I refrain from kissing 24 hours before a performance and 48 hours before a competition. Yes, I'm serious.
We'll take a hint. But you can probably kiss birds without ruining their set, right? Professional whistler Robert Stemmons offers "serious training for capable birds!" In his five volume instructional set, you can choose your weapon: "Oklahoma!", "Flight of the Bumblebee" or my personal favorite--"Bridge Over the River Kwai."