‘…So Then I Turned A Badger Into A Theremin’

The theremin isn’t a very cool instrument. It doesn’t make particularly pretty music, it’s not very graceful to watch and, well, frankly, it’s just a bit strange. Most of the tracks typically thought to feature a theremin – such as ‘Good Vibrations’, Portishead’s ‘Mysterons’ – actually use something else.

The heroic unhipness of the theremin could probably explain why uber-nerd Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory is such a fan.

Well, for a guy named David Cranmer, the instrument just wasn’t weird enough… so he decided to take a badger, strip the animal’s neck and backside, and implant antennae into it. Check out the Badgermin in action below:

Now, being a vegetarian, I find this all kinds of wrong. But I can’t deny – it’s certainly, erm, inventive. I had a chat with the Badgermin’s inventor David Cramner to find out just how (and why) he decided to create such a strange instrument.

Is that actually a real badger? If so, where did you get it and how did you…remove its insides?
Yes, it is a real badger – a second-hand fairly antique taxidermy piece, originally stuffed with straw and wire. I didn’t purposely assassinate and disembowel a badger just for this project – I just wouldn’t have the guts.

Where did you get the idea from?
There is a great tradition of people building theremins into various objects – the Bonzo Dog Band had a theremin built into a leg from a tailor’s dummy, Hawkwind I think had an axe, and there have been lots of plastic skulls and other objects. The badger just seemed to be a nice progression from what had gone before.

What songs do you play on it?
I’m not all that great at playing the Badgermin, but my friend in the YouTube video made a fine attempt at playing ‘The Swan’, having never played the instrument before.

Any plans to do this with any other animals?
I was thinking of a taxidermy owl drum machine. Please email me if you can think of a good name for it.

Did your friends think it was a bit weird? Or did they like the idea of the Badgermin?
They liked it, and I’m always delighted to see anyone have a go on the instrument.

There you have it, then: the Badgermin. Sort of makes you wonder what other outlandish instruments might be out there. A cello fashioned out of squirrels? Some kind of duck/banjo hybrid? The possibilities are endless.

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