Hands Off The Word, Hands Off The Desktop

Posted: 9/13/2007 7:30:21 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

This month's issue of The Word magazine (October 2007) features a full page article about Hands Off 2007.

The title, strap line and first paragraph...


[b]Original Synth[/b]

[i]Wand-worriers the world over gathered in Watford for a massed-ranks celebration of the first electronic instrument. It's a "theremin symposium"![/i]

[i]All together now: Whoooo![/i] And all hail the theremin, the stupendously spacey star of Hands Off 2007 - the first international "theremin symposium" for worldwide operatives of the first electronic instrument. Held in the unspooky setting of The Purcell Music School in Watford, the weekend was a whirlwind of avant-garde hi-jinks, classical repertory and, yes, versions of the [i]Doctor Who[/i] theme tune. And the whole thing climaxed in a disquieting mass jam that set off fire alarms. "Forty three people all playing at once", promoter Anthony Draper sighed. "Weird but wonderful."


Half of the page is occupied by an excellent group shot, and The Word have given us permission to share copies with the online theremin community.

So I have posted some to Flickr in a selection of popular sizes, just right for your desktop wallpaper.

----- Hands Off 2007 Desktop Wallpaper (http://www.flickr.com/photos/8666613@N04/sets/72157601983090502/detail/)

One of the other pictures in the article is a young woman playing an RCA theremin. The caption indicated it was shot for for NBC Radio in 1922. The thereminist is not identified in the caption. I don't [i]think[/i] she's the Rock-meister, but I've not seen a profile shot of her, as I recall, so I could be wrong.

Clearly one for our historians.

----- 1922 thereminist (http://www.flickr.com/photos/8666613@N04/1371789684/)

Posted: 9/13/2007 7:43:25 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

One more thing - if your local newsagent doesn't stock The Word, you can order it online here:


It's the October 2007 issue - the one with David Gilmour on the front cover.

They do ship overseas.
Posted: 9/13/2007 8:16:14 AM

From: Leicester, UK

Joined: 9/23/2005

thanks Gordon

I think the 1922 thereminist is Lucy Bigelow Rosen


Posted: 9/13/2007 8:21:37 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

And thanks Chris - the same shot is in her myspace photos.

I have added her name to the Flickr shot, and removed the word "unidentified".

(BTW, Chris - you look like you're just about to pull Lydia's wig off!)
Posted: 9/13/2007 8:25:51 AM

From: Leicester, UK

Joined: 9/23/2005

just a friendly slap on the backof her head :-)
Posted: 9/13/2007 3:46:48 PM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

Are you sure it's Lucy?
Posted: 9/13/2007 4:18:14 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

No, I never met the lady in person. But the same image appears on the myspace tribute site's photos, next to a couple of others that I have seen posted on several sites as being her, and it looks a lot like she's the same person as in the other two. Hardly in-depth historical research, but for me it indicates there is a fair chance it is her.

Some supporting evidence, like confirmation that she did perform for NBC radio in 1922 would help, I suppose.
Posted: 9/13/2007 7:14:32 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Update - if you want a 1680x1050 image, email me.

gordonc {at} theremin {dot} org {dot} uk

the email should have as it's subject:

[b]hands off the big one[/b]

and I'll send you one next time I use my email program.

(Apparently flickr resizes photos that size, and so, it seems, does photobucket - unless I give them some money, which would be a bad thing - after which discovery I uttered an expletive and settled on this means of distribution until I happen across a better one.)

Posted: 9/14/2007 8:49:16 AM

From: Rochdale, UK

Joined: 7/31/2007

I don't think the photo is Lucie.

I have, today, received "Theremin - Ether Music and Espionage", ISBN 0252072758.

That book has the same picture (actually slightly longer - you can see all of her feet, and slightly narrowed - you cannot see the "step" in the wall), with the attribution:

"Alexandra Stepanoff playing the RCA Theremin on a syndicated NBC radio broadcast, 1930. George H. Clark Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Division of Electricity and Modern Physics, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C."


Posted: 9/14/2007 9:29:20 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

[i]you can see all of her feet[/i]

How many does she have?!!!

Actually, that is probably a more reliable reference. I cropped the picture I took from the magazine - it has a bit of foot in it - she appears to be wearing a court shoe with a small heel. Also the microphone stand has a very distinctive, slightly clawed, low tripod base. And the date makes more sense than that given in The Word.

I've only been able to find one other picture attributed to Alexandra Stepanoff, here:


There's a larger version if you click on the image, but I've linked to the referring page as there is a picture of Lucie Bigalow Rosen just above it for comparison purposes. There is more than a passing similarity. So for the time being the photo is of Ms Stepanoff, until better info turns up.


Also, the big wallpaper is now downloadable from here:


Many thanks to Jon Bernhardt for that. :-)

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