The ride to pick Kang Gun Woo the orchestra killer from the airport proves to be a difficult one. This man is a fastidious pain in the neck. He doesn’t want to live in a hotel because hotels don’t permit dogs. He doesn’t want to live in a normal houses because he can’t concentrate there. He wants a nice little maison with a park to walk his dog, two bathrooms, one for him one for his dog. No plastic bins to wash the dog, because it’s allergic to plastic… Etc, etc, etc. Du Ru Mi made a face, yet his domineering, almost formidable presence makes it impossible for her to yell at him to suck it up(, which she should have done).
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture Op.49
Where is Du Ru Mi going to find such a place? Oh right, Kang Guo Woo the cop’s place. She drops the orchestra killer in front of the place, for now, and tries to call Kang Guo Woo the cop, who had sent her a text message, refusing to play first trumpet in the orchestra if their conductor is Kang Guo Woo. The cop is jogging, there is no faster way of reaching him. When Du Ru Mi comes back, Kang Guo Woo the conductor is already at the door, looking at the little password pad. “Open it”, he orders, his voice full of authority. She tries to open it for him, but the old password doesn’t work. Kang Guo Woo the cop must’ve changed it. The conductor asks, “Is he a very complicated person?” “Eh.. no, pretty simple.” Without wasting another word, the conductor presses “1” four times then hits “E”nter. The door cracks open. (lol Kang Guo Woo the cop just doesn’t get his privacy, does he?)
Kang Guo Woo walks in and looks around, makes a few remarks about the clutter and starts to envision a new set of interior design of his own spiffy new place, right here. Du Ru Mi watches him, wide-eyed.
Kang Guo Woo the cop comes back after his morning exercise and notices a piece of paper taped on the door. It tells salesmen not to bother the resident, neighbours to keep quiet, and warns people of dog. Kang Guo Woo the cop looks up at the house number to make sure it’s the one he’s staying before tearing the paper off the door. Then he heads to the little box to insert the security password. It doesn’t open. (Wow the conductor not only takes over someone else’s house, he changes the password to prevent the original owner or house-sitter from entering as well.) Slightly disoriented, Kang Guo Woo scratches his head and hears the barking of a dog. He jumps away from the door, hides on the other side and waits for the “intruder with the dog” to come out. The man walks out, Kang Guo Woo the trumpet player jumps on him and forces the man’s arm behind his back.
After a brief interrogation of the typical “who are you?” and “who are you?”, Kang Guo Woo the trumpet player recognizes Kang Guo Woo the orchestra killer from 10 years ago. He grudging reminds the self-important man of their unpleasant philosophical meeting 10 years earlier, of which Kang Guo Woo, a kid at the time, asked the arrogant conductor what is music. The conductor circumvented the question and answered that if music is a square then it certainly isn’t a circle. Animosity intensified between the two.
Du Ru Mi happens to be getting down her car when she sees the two men engaging in a stubborn stare down contest. She jumps between them to placate. No man budges. Finally, the conductor ordered the preposterous, “make him move out.”
Eventually, Du Ru Mi made it all work out. Sort of. Kang Guo Woo the orchestra killer lives down stairs; Kang Guo Woo the trumpet player lives on the second floor. (They are binded by Fate, aren’t they?)
The young cop throws a bit of a tantrum, the old conductor hits the ceiling with a vacuum to make him quiet down. Du Ru Mi leads Kang Guo Woo the trumpet player to a sign on the door and points to it: Keep Quiet. The cop suppresses his anger and dials the police department’s number. Du Ru Mi hangs it up and apologizes for creating SO MUCH trouble for him, promising that she will try to make the cranky old guy downstairs move out as soon as possible. (Even though that will be harder than moving a mountain.) Kang Guo Woo the cop softens at her plea and lets out a low grunt.
“Eh, when I was moving a box up there, I heard the sound of something breaking…” Du Ru Mi confesses. “You better not scratch my trumpet.” Kang Guo Woo mutters and walks out to the balcony to check the box. Seizing the opportunity, Du Ru Mi closes the sliding glass door and locks it. Realizing he’s been fooled, Kang Guo Woo bangs on the glass window for her to open. She begs, coerces, curses, and alternates the three, doing everything she can to make Kang Guo Woo promise to let the groggy man downstairs live there without causing trouble AND stay in the orchestra. Giving in, Kang Guo Woo the nice guy agrees to endure everything for three days. She must find a new place for the conductor and a different trumpet player in three days.
She lets her in and helps him carry boxes when Mr. trouble downstairs calls her to hang curtains for him. She makes haste going down, before leaving, she does the Korean version of “jiayou” to Gongja Kang Guo Woo the cop. (:D)
To live in the cramped little space up there, Kang Guo Woo the cop gotta move things around and unpack. He tries ex-tre-me-ly careful to be quiet, yet the grumpy man downstairs is intolerant of anything other than absolute silence. Every couple seconds or so, Kang Guo Woo the trumpet player would hear the oh-so-annoying sound of the conductor hitting the ceiling with the vacuum. Finally, Kang Guo Woo the cop is fed it. He cranks up the volume of his rock music and starts to pack the normal way. Hah.
The orchestra anticipates their first formal practice with their devil of a conductor in silence. (OMG they do have two French horns now! Yay now it’s a full orchestra.) Tuning starts. Kang Guo Woo Arrogant the First sits back in a sofa and listens. To the cacophony. Finally had enough, he stands up and approaches Du Ru Mi’s landlord first. “Ajumma, how long ago was the last time you touched your instrument?” turning to the I-drink-milk-before-I-blow-through-my-oboe man, (aka Kim Gab Yong) he asks sternly, “Do you keep exercising after you retired?” “Yes. I run…” “You should spend the time on practice fingerings (yeah definitely, especially when it looks so fake.) and just listen to how out of breath you are.” Turning again to the flutist, Ha Yi Deu, “How old are you?” “Old enough.” she answers. “You are not even at a college level.” Facing the violin players now, “Why do you strike the cords so hard? It’s not an electric violin.” Finally to the quirky trumpet player Bae Yong Gi, “Which night club do you used to play at?” The poor man answers, then realizing what he’s slipped, he clasps his mouth in horror. The conductor returns to his office, puts down the score, grabs his briefcase, and walks out of the door.
Du Ru Mi chases out to get the conductor back to the orchestra. Kang Guo Woo the Difficult puts on a nice face and prompts Du Ru Mi to explain the situation to him. She does, against Kang Guo Woo the trumpet player’s advice. Once hearing that none of the musicians are qualified, he tells Du Ru Mi to order him plane ticket the next day and walks away.
Now they are conductor-less. Du Ru Mi fears that she will have to tell the Mayor the truth and somehow sell her valuables, including her baby – the violin – to repay the funding that was embezzled.
Kang Guo Woo the nice guy watches Du Ru Mi as she talks to her violin, lamenting that they’ve never performed in public. He drags her to the mall and they play in public.
(So JGS does know the fingering and the music, he just doesn’t blow into that pretty horn of his.)
They return home happily, only to hear Kang Guo Woo the conductor’s shriek. The conductor has trouble sleeping, so before going to bed, he swallows a sleeping pill. Today, he accidentally dropped the bottle while putting it by his bed. It falls and scatters on the carpet everywhere. His precious dog ate all of the pills for him and is now spitting white foam. The conductor tried to call the police but the policeman thought him joking and disregarded his plea. (I hope not all policemen think like that.)
Luckily, Du Ru Mi and Kang Guo Woo heard the noise and checked the old conductor to find the dog in the horrible state. Kang Guo Woo the cop muses, “It’s a suicide. Having a owner like that, of course he wants to die.” Kang Guo Woo the conductor seems not to hear and helps Du Ru Mi carry the dog to the car. Du Ru Mi drives the dog to the vet while Kang Guo Woo the cop threatened Mr. I-hate-everyone-except-for-my-dog to conduct the orchestra with the dog’s life. So the conductor stays after all. Begrudgingly. But, he asserts, he needs someone to drive him, do the laundry, cleaning, and wash, feed, walk the dog. Those work of course falls on Du Ru Mi’s Kang Guo Woo the cop’s shoulder. (Because Kang Guo Woo the trumpet player volunteered to help Du Ru Mi.)
Kang Guo Woo the moody conductor walks out of the door and sees Du Ru Mi there, understanding that she’s been helping Kang Goo Woo the trumpet player washing clothes, the conductor pushes all the washed clothes on the ground to make the other Kang Guo Woo re-wash everything. “You gotta do everything by yourself. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.” and heads off to walk his dog. (What an arsehole.)
Orchestra’s second practice with the conductor. Technically the first since the man stormed off before practice even started. The practice commences. The conductor completely ignores the orchestra, he either walks around with his dog, reads newspaper, or ponders on his personal couch. One day, he even fell asleep. The orchestra stopped playing, some members started to leave, others wanted everybody together to practice a bit more. A loud quarrel erupted, waking the conductor up with the fall of a drum. He sarcastically remarks that the orchestra should change the sheet music, perhaps something having to do with the war may suite them better. Du Ru Mi runs out to stop him, Kang Guo Woo the trumpet player stops Du Ru Mi from begging the stubborn conductor, sharply pointing out that, “A conductor just stands up there and waves the baton; they can practice on their own and just have him up there during the performance.” The words strike a cord with the conductor, his face turns a shade redder and starts to scold the daring trumpet player. Kang Guo Woo the cop cuts him off and tells Du Ru Mi back to go back to the practice room. The conductor’s face turns scarlet.
Kang Guo Woo the traffic director returns to the room and directs traffic – he stands in the conductor’s stand to put the sound into order. That’s when he notices that some of the musicians are playing out of tune.
Du Ru Mi is outside talking to the stubborn conductor. He scorns that the so-called musicians inside can’t distinguish the slightest differences in sounds (well they aren’t classically trained, which is why he should put the effort into training ’em.) and reasons that Classical music is for the nobles. It’s elegant, not suitable for the barbaric peasants. That is why they should all give up and stop butchering quality of Music. Du Ru Mi’s phone has been ringing, she picks it up once the haughty conductor has finished his lecture and yells into the phone: You bastard! Who needs you to teach us what’s music? Didactically pretending to give advice, SHUT UP! What era do you think it is? Classical music has transcended time, do you think the quality will change now? Right, I admit, we are a bunch of poor, unfortunate, busy people. But because of that, do we deserve to die outside the door of music? Can’t peasants devote their time and energy into arts? Does the law forbid that?! Mozart is no noble! If you are a conductor then, you would’ve missed so many geniuses… … … (I love her passive-aggressive ways.) The conductor looks up at her in shock. Clearly aware that she is yelling at him. 😀
The conductor walks back, into Kang Guo Woo the trumpet player’s directing. The director ignores everyone, complains his way to the stand and starts the tuning process over again. Then it occurs to him, every instrument is in tune now. “How do you do it?” he demands. “Turn up the AC. It’s too hot in the room so the (wind) instruments get a little sharp.” Kang Guo Woo the trumpet player answers. “But turning up the AC by how much? How do you compare?” the conductor demands again. (yup, when it gets too cold, it gets flat, so the musician should either blow air into it to keep it warm or in this case, play with the AC again.) “About an eight of a degree.” Kang Guo Woo the cop answers. The director is stunned.
The surprise takes him back to his childhood, blurred by fiery ambition and bitter jealousy. “An eight of a degree”, his childhood friend, fellow Korean-born conductor had said, like it was something so easy, so obvious. He had practiced and practiced; his friend simply enjoyed music and never treated it as Holy as he had done (in his mind) – yet they both received the first place in the piano contest they participated in Vienna. Life is not fair. He was supposed to direct the orchestra on his graduation, but the same friend took it from him. By one point. No amount of arguing with his German principle is going to change anything. (eh, for clarity purposes, end of flashback.)
He storms upstairs to find Kang Guo Woo the trumpet player sound asleep. “Where is the water?” the conductor demands. “Ah, it’s in the fridge. I bought them and put ’em in the fridge.” With a dirty look, the conductor throws a “Don’t you get cocky” and left.
The next day, the arrogant conductor visits the mayor at the governor’s bid. The governor wanted to turn the city into a music city and the performance is his chance. To promote it, he had invited the world renowned conductor – Kang Guo Woo’s friend and rival – to attend the performance. Kang Guo Woo is pumped with the ambition to prove himself.
What that brings is insult, distress, the sense of worthlessness to the musicians.
Du Ru Mi confronts him, arguing that lead them into playing music at heart’s content may be the better way. The conductor objects, unleashing his anger onto Du Ru Mi.
Am trying to fit the pictures within the blog area, that’s why they are all cramped up. You can click on them to enlarge.
The plot’s been predictable, but otherwise entertaining.