For your amusement
Dear all on RBT,
It's great to see Andre Jute ensuring that you bunch of jumped up little
bicycle mechanics will be willing and anxious to answer any technical
questions he may have in the future. He has a penchant for making friends
wherever he goes. Just look at the truck driver who jumped at the chance to
drop everything and indulge Andre in his ridiculous fantasy and the hard
working Irish peasant proprieter who abandoned the filling out of his EU
agricultural subsidy forms to round up the farm dogs and block off the local
road. Yep, 'Dre sure has a way with folks. Appended below is a little
something I wrote some time ago for the amusement of the fellows on
rec.audio.tubes. Andre read every word and got a good laugh out of it. Much
of the incident is drawn from the known facts of Andre's amazing life story
and the rest is extrapolated.
For the record, the Zulu phrase Umthondo Omfushane means "tiny penis", not
"leopard who hunts by day". 'Dre would have got it immediately as he is
fluent in quite a few African and European languages and understands many
others. He'd have taken it in good humour because somehow he always gets
around to the the subject of his correspondents private parts and sexual
This isn't too off topic beacuse it DOES have some bicycle content.
Now, on with the show (long)
Jute faded silently into the woodland shadows when he heard unwary feet
disturb fallen leaves. Crouching amid the trunks of young birches he would
escape the notice of even a trained infantry scout. His eyes, so warm and
attractive when he was with a friend or a lover, were icy grey now as he
rapidly scoped and assessed the threat through slitted lids.
Two of them, he thought, observing the bigger one in the uniform fifty yards
off and moving away. The one he couldn't see was the worry. The one with the
pistol. With infinite care, Jute withdrew further into the birches. He
slipped a hand into the pocket of his Barbour jacket and touched the coil of
stranded copper wire.
No. I want at least one of them alive.
He began his flanking move, leaving the sheltering birch grove and taking
advantage of a line of ancient elms to flit like a spectre from trunk to
trunk. The fieldcraft wanted no conscious volition. It was an instinctive
gift, honed and polished from his African boyhood and as natural as
breathing. Had not the Zulu mentors of his youth named him Umthondo
Omfushane....Leopard Who Hunts by Day?
Jute made his final move. Checkmate! Just like the time he'd played the
exhibition series against Kasparov. There in front of him was pistol man,
out in the open, back turned and radiating puzzlement as the questing muzzle
of the IMI Desert Eagle sniffed vainly for the elusive quarry.
With one stride, Jute was on him, wrenching the pistol away and knocking him
to the ground. As the enemy agent rolled and came to his feet, Jute had him
covered, feet planted in combat stance and sight picture centred in the
middle of the incredulous face. One wrong move away from death and his man
"You'll talk now, my friend. Tell me who sent you and I may permit you to
Just as the agent found his voice, a universe of exploding stars lit up
behind Jute's eyeballs. Bushwhacked! How? He staggered on legs turned to
jelly. Turning to face the new threat, he could barely make out the young
matron squaring off for another swing with her handbag. Simultaneously, the
enemy agent burst into tears, his nine-year-old face crumpling like a paper
bag as he drew breath for another howl of fright.
"You *******! Give that kid his toy at once."
Jute hastily thrust the water pistol at the woman's son as the man in the
uniform came up.
"Everything right here ma'am?" enquired the park keeper.
"It shouldn't be allowed. Grown men taking a kids toy!"
The keeper turned his gaze upon the elderly miscreant.
"Run along now Mr Jute, there's a good gentleman. Any more complaints and
I'll have to speak to the Garda."
Clutching the tattered remnants of his dignity around him, Jute made a rapid
retreat from outraged motherhood and reproving officialdom.
Leaving the municipal gardens, he scurried back across the road to his
waiting patiently outside the hardware store with the groceries in the front
basket. At least I remembered to buy the wire, he thought as he unlocked the
Gazelle Toulouse and swung a leg across the sit-up-and-beg frame. Easing
away from the curb he set a course for home and afternoon tea. At the
villages one set of traffic lights, he pulled up beside a DAF long-distance
lorry, probably headed for the ferry terminal at Waterford.
As they waited for the lights to change, the dark faced driver
glanced casually across. Jute essayed a complimentary remark about Africa in
execrable kitchen Swahili. The Eindhoven-born Dutchman of Surinamese
looked at him uncomprehendingly, then put the lorry in gear and pulled away
cloud of diesel fumes.
Some time later, Jute could hear the tea and biscuits calling him as he
negotiated the quiet country lane close to home. On the last gentle hill
that led past his front gate he let the Gazelle go. The soothing
pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa of the hub gears and the alternating light
and shade of the sun through the trees were oddly hypnotic....
..... Jute cranked the graphite framed Jute Populaire Speciale hard through
the hairpin. Sheer athleticism and riding skill kept him from spilling as he
exited into the next dizzying downhill straightaway. Steady, Jute. You only
have to win this time-trial and you've got the whole Tour sewn up. Hard
right again, and again he felt the stiffness of the vacuum-formed frame
tubes tracking straight and true. Not many men had mounted to the pinnacle
of being not only team sponsor but also star rider and designer of the team
bikes. He could hang up his racing cleats for good after this, his eighth
consecutive win. He'd wear the maillot jaune one last time across the finish
line on the Champs Elysee and that would be it, nothing more to be proved.
On this crucial points-bearing time trial he'd left the Team Saleshack
bullybus of gangbangers gasping in his wake as he forged up the
lung-wrenching mountain stage. Even his Communication Jute teammates in
their distinctive house maroon jerseys were far behind now, unable to match
the Old Man's diamond-hard courage and skill on the ghastly descent.
One more sweeping left-hander and the course spilled out onto flatter
countryside and a twelve-kilometre sprint to the stage finish. The French
Tour fans lining the verges were going crazy. "Jute,Jute,Jute,Jute!" they
chanted as they recognised the deep maroon bicycle and their yellow jerseyed
god riding it. Suddenly, horribly, pocketa-queep-pocketa-queep, and a
disagreeable squirming and shimmy from the back end. Can't be the wheel.
Jute Carbon Cycle wheels don't break. Blast! It must be a puncture. Jute
made a mental note to invent and licence a truly flat-proof racing tyre as
wrestled the weaving machine to a standstill from 80 kph.
Concerned Frenchmen converged as he dismounted and scanned the road he'd
just travelled through his Jute Optica sports glasses. Damn. No sign of the
Communication Jute service car with the spares. The maroon Bentley custom
estate was probably still stuck behind the peleton as they laboured over the
mountain. Hold on, there's a maroon jersey on a maroon bike. Young Byrns,
brave lad, just a minute behind his team captain and now braking to a halt.
"Bike" said Jute curtly, snapping his fingers.
"Yassuh baas" said Byrns obsequiously, giving up his machine and jumping
backwards into the gutter.
Jute mounted the racer and pedalled off, the revolutionary Jute-o-matic
infinitely variable gear set seamlessly accelerating him away,
ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa. Too much time lost. The bullybus
was suddenly with him, boxing him in. Gangbangers all, on silicon slime
green Team Saleshack machines. Carlson, Pasternack, Rochlin, LeFevre and
Yaeger, sneering at him through thin simian lips.
"Planning on winning that jersey thirteen days in a row?" snarled their
ringleader. "I think not." A sharp elbow crashed painfully into his ribs as
the wretched shill tried to crowd him into the gutter.
"You unspeakable swine" snapped Jute as he lightly clipped a pile-driving
right hand into the prognathous jaw of the sub-human waste.
The green machine and its rider wobbled sharply, then crashed messily,
taking two more of the criminal trash with it. One of the survivors kicked
savagely at Jute's front wheel. And Jute was flying.........
........flying steeply down into the sere Beka'a valley from the battlements
of the ruined Crusader fortress. As the trike ultralight gained airspeed,
Jute thumbed the decompression lever on the control bar.
Queep-queep-queep-queep. The Jute Aero variable prop groaned and windmilled.
Jute dropped the lever and ta-ta-ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa; the Rotax two
stroke radial crackled into raucous life behind him. The hooded and bound
passenger in the front seat howled in terror. "SHUT UP" he bawled as he
leaned forward and lightly clipped the kidnapped guerilla leader around the
Only motor I'd trust to air-start like that, he thought as he pressured the
control bar and brought the trike level scant feet above the rocky valley
floor. No reason not to trust it of course. Jute had licensed the cylinder
and head design to Rotax after working it up himself during a slow week. And
all because he wondered whether his ancient Fortran gas flow simulator would
run on the old Apple IIE, serial #000003 that had come to him many years ago
with a personal note from Steve Jobs. The simulator worked a treat,
he'd last used it as a teenage design genius licensing hemi heads to
It was simple to dodge the small arms fire as he piloted the racing
ultralight towards the border, taking advantage of every dip and hillock of
the bare landscape. The responsiveness of the Jute Aero high aspect speed
wing made all the difference. Those boys are late, he thought, scanning the
sky across the border for his air support. Ah, there they are! His
extraordinary vision picked up the tiny delta shapes long before a normal
man could have. He thumbed the ptt button.
"Little Brother to Big Bird leader, do you copy?"
"Roger that Little Brother," came the reply over the secure UHF link. "Your
IFF squawk on radar. Standing by for orders."
"Marking exit point in seconds two zero. Commence ordnance run now."
At the brief acknowledgement, Jute lifted the nose of his flying machine and
flipped down the HUD visor of the target designator attached to his helmet.
The familiar luminous green graticules and digital readouts crawled before
his eyes, just as Jute Military Systems Inc had designed it for Raytheon.
The hybrid heat and electronic signatures of the border Triple A defences
were like an open book as he centred the cross-hairs on a shoulder launched
SAM site. He thumbed the fire button and a pair of mini WP marker rockets
whooshed away from the under-wing hardpoints. Shifting his aim again and
again he released further pairs of markers and by then the lead pair of
ground attack jets were unloading on the first plumes of white phosphorous
smoke. The following pairs pressed home their attacks as Big Bird leader and
his wingman banked steeply away.
"Beautiful job, Big Bird flight. Hold, hold, hold now. I'm going through."
"The Old Man will get through," remarked the Big Bird RIO to his pilot over
the intercom. "The Old Man ain't afraid of hell."
The ultralight twisted and bucked as Jute drove it through the wall of
turbulent dust and smoke that billowed over the ruined weapons sites.
Then he was in clear air, the stink of high explosive gone, racing over the
border wire, Big Bird and his squadron criss-crossing overhead as they
escorted him towards the border settlement landing ground. Jute brought his
ship home, flaring beautifully over the threshold of the dirt strip and
rolling to a stop just where the Defence Minister and the Army Chief of
Staff waited with their retinues. Jute cut the motor, pulled his helmet off
and tilted his sweaty head back on the padded headrest as half a dozen
Internal Security spooks hustled forward and took charge of his passenger. A
knife flashed as they cut the hood away. Part of Jutes mind recognised the
unmistakeable titanium bolsters and frosted hand-forged carbon steel blade
of a Jute Autograph 15cm folder by Gerber. It was a very limited edition
commissioned by popular demand and featuring microscopically laser-etched
scenes from Jutes adventurous life on the blade. Jute guessed that the owner
of the knife had attended the Western Intelligence Symposium at Georgetown
University near Washington several summers ago. As chairman of the
Jute arranged presentation Jute Autographs in the goody bags handed to every
participant. They all agreed that it was the best present ever.
One spook held the head steady by the hair while others compared the
staring, near-catatonic face with a sheaf of 8x10 photos they carried.
"It's him all right," shouted the Security Chief to the Minister as the
spooks unstrapped their prize from the seat and bundled him into the back of
an unmarked car. With a brief word of thanks, the Security Chief leaped in
beside the driver and the car took off in a spurt of gravel.
The Army Chief of Staff stepped forward as Jute unfastened his own straps.
"Name your price, Jute. We need someone just like you to train our Special
Forces. Any salary, any budget you want and you shall have it!"
Jute smiled his trademark grin as he stood up in his seat.
"No thanks General. I'm retired now. Read my books. Most of my trade secrets
are in there."
With a careless wave Jute stepped down from the plane...
....and hit the ground hard just outside his front gate. Stunned for a
moment, he sat up wondering what happened. He looked around and saw his bike
stuck in the hedge, back wheel still spinning and groceries spilling from
"You silly old fool. I've told you over and over to take it easy on that
hill. You're not a young man anymore."
It was his wife, the concern in her eyes belying the reproving tone in her
voice. Jute stood up. He was all right.
"I'll write a letter to the Corporation about these potholes they leave
unmended. Waste of money, our taxes if you ask me."
"Oh, just look at your trousers. They're all ripped and I'm sure you've
grazed your knee. Go inside at once while I pick up the groceries."
" 'Tis but a scratch my dear."
Jute stalked off towards the front entrance...
....of the huge glass and stainless steel Communication Jute building.
"Oh Mr Jute, you're wounded." It was Melody, his executive assistant,
alerted by a radio message from the pilot of Jute's personal helicopter.
" 'Tis but a scratch my dear. Little job for an old friend." He strode
towards the basement audio labs. Much of the multi-disciplinary engineering
and design work carried out within these walls could be done by the
brilliant minds he'd gathered together but the audio division was his first
Melody handed him a single typed sheet. "Executive summary of what's
happened while you were gone." What a treasure she was. Ph.D in Business
Studies from Yale and another in Physics from Stanford and she looked
marvellous in the maroon vinyl hot-pants suit Jute had personally designed
female members of the Communication Jute Executive Service.
They entered the private elevator and Melody punched the code for the
"It's all there but the most urgent thing is to see Bill Might. Cary
Audio's been calling in a panic about their SET range for the Spring Show in
New York. And Bill's panicking because we haven't a thing to give them."
"God! I go away for a week and everything falls apart."
"I know Mr Jute. But nobody in the world knows ultra-fi the way you do."
The doors slid open and Jute stepped out into the vast laboratory.
Along one wall was a series of audition rooms, each one an exact replica of
the personal listening rooms of esteemed clients and leading designers. In
the middle were assembly benches manned by the Jute premium apprentices who
paid for the privilege of living and working here. At the far end was the
research lab where the art of audio was continuously redefined. Bill Might
rushed up, his thinning hair plastered to his scalp in a sweat of
frustration. The technicians and apprentices turned to look and a relieved
murmur ran around the room. "The Old Man's back. Thank God. He'll get us
"It's all gone wrong Mr Jute," said the Head of Design, wringing his hands.
"Doesn't matter what we do with the tubes you chose. It still sounds like
****. We're sunk if you ask me."
"I wasn't asking you," said Jute. "Pull yourself together man and show me
what you've got."
Bill led him towards a prototype, sitting upside down on a bench exposing
its innards to the work lighting.
Jute examined the wiring, pulled a scratch pad towards him and noted some
component values with his slim gold Waterman clutch pencil. Glancing at
tube curve charts on the wall above the bench, he twisted the slide rule
bezel of the prototype platinum Breitling Jute Replica navigators watch on
and noted the results in tiny neat figures on the pad.
He looked around the respectful circle of employees. "Who built 30 dB of
global negative feedback into this amp?" he enquired pleasantly.
"I did." admitted a young engineer. "But I can explain. The test
"Shut up!" grated Jute. "Collect your cards. You're fired."
A uniformed security guard took the crestfallen young man by the arm and led
him towards the elevator.
Jute thought for a moment and addressed the crowd. "That young fellow will
be fine. He'll find another job designing chill-sounding silicon slime for
sale in the High Street appliance shops to peasants who know no better. But
we are in the business of designing high-end tube equipment for gentlemen.
Only gentlemen have the culture and education and money to hear and
appreciate what we do. Now, stand back while I work."
He plucked a new Hammond case from the rack and Melody ran to fetch genuine
NOS Western Electric 300B's from the stock room. Time passed as Jute made
calculations, soldered components and sent Melody to find transformers,
chokes and filter caps. He kept up a running commentary to Melody who
assiduously made notes of her own. These notes would be written up by a
technical writer, signed off by Jute and become a chapter in the new Jute
sourcebook that had already earned a seven-figure advance from the
The premium apprentices left their work and stole closer to the creative
whirling around the Hammond case.
When they felt the Head of Design's eye fall on them, they looked guilty and
started back to their benches. Bill moved among them and whispered
reassuringly. "Just be quiet and watch. You'll learn more from an hour with
the Old Man than a year at technical college."
At length he stood back and straightened his weary back.
"That's it. I think I'll call it the Ultra-fi 300.," he announced. "Now,
some of you carry it to an audition room. Number Seven I think."
A couple of adoring apprentices loaded the amp onto a trolley and moved it
to the replica of a fifteenth century tithe barn. Another wheeled in a cast
alloy Lowther snail horn, the last one in stock since the rest of the
$135,000 per copy limited run had walked out the door.
As they connected it all up, Melody slipped a disc onto the $200,000
reference turntable. An original recording of blind leprous Ruthenian
Orthodox monks chanting verses from the Torah. They were Jutes personal
discovery, plucked from obscurity and introduced to the West under the name
of Seven Blind Boys from Bystrica Banska.
Jute closed his eyes as the first notes dropped like shining pearls into the
inky black silence. Marvellous. He could almost see the cowled figures
lining the dimly lit choir stalls. He could almost smell the wax votive
candles, burning before the priceless icons in the side chapel...
Burning? His eyes flew open. The Ultra-fi 300 was on fire! In a panic he
leaped forward and yanked the line cord from the single bakelite socket
above the washing machine. Seizing an old potato sack from the pile under
the washtubs, he beat at the little yellow flames licking up from the
assembly of jury-rigged parts. The sack caught fire too so he filled a
bucket at the laundry faucet and dashed water over the conflagration. Steam
and a horrid stink of scorched varnish rose from the well-used Hammond case
but at least the flames were out. Sadly, Jute inspected the damage. The
Discman source was okay and the firewood horn had probably survived but the
Ultra-fi 300 would never put out another puny watt again. The power tranny
was definitely gone and....oh no! ; the 300B had a crack, and white powder
inside the crown. His only one too! Maybe next time he'd use the right power
transformer instead of a lashup of ballast resistors.
Despite everything, Jute had either sunny optimism or a boundless capacity
for wilful self-deception. It all depended on the observer's point of view.
At any rate, he was always quick to bounce back. Moving to the old Apple on
a card table by the stairs, he booted up Word Perfect 1.2. Now mail-merge a
list of prominent tube audio suppliers. Lowther, Lundahl, Triode
Electronics, etc. That will do nicely for a start.
Now, bring up the McCoy letterhead template and start composing.
Congratulations! Your firm has been selected as a Gold Seal approved
supplier to Real McCoy Audio. My firm is a division of Communication Jute,
an industrial combine just outside Cork which employs hundreds of staff in
book-packaging, ergonomic consulting, automotive design and high-end audio
design and manufacture. In the last year alone, Real McCoy has sold over 300
pairs of monoblocs to discriminating audiophiles the world over. You will
never see reviews of these amps because each one is custom designed to order
for very rich and publicity shy owners.
Please peruse the following list and send free evaluation samples
immediately by expedited international airfreight...
No copyright claimed or implied. With thanks to the late James Thurber
without whose inspiration this parody would never have been written.
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