The state of being in some degree deranged. The term, it is said, had its origin from the circumstance of a considerable number of the principal families in the county of Fife having at least a bee in their bonnet[s].--John Jamieson's Etymological Scottish Dictionary, 1808
Birthday of Erik Satie (1866-1925), eccentric French composer born of a musical French-Scottish family. He wrote numerous works that influenced Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, who in return championed some of Satie's pieces, including Gymopédies and Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear. Originality could be found throughout his idiosynchratic scores, some of which were written without musical bars and contained such quizzical instructions as "with astonishment," "light as an egg," and even "work it out yourself." Satie worked as a café composer in fin-de-siècle Paris, creating innovative pieces, such as the waltz "Je te veux," that he called "furniture music." He intended these to be heard only in the background and would become curiously distraught when patrons left off their conversations to marvel at his performances.
I keep thinking of Bill Murray's line in Tootsie ... "I want people to come up to me and say, 'I saw your play man ... what happened?'"
Actually, I remember hearing one of Satie's pieces in High School, at least I think it was Satie. The piece was called "The Banshee," and it was an extremely discordant bit of creepy piano abuse; dilletante and I had to do an improv sketch to it, as I recall. (Or maybe it was Greg Ligon? It could have been either.)
(That reminds me, I wonder what ol' Greg is up to these days.)
(Wow, I've got a lot of parenthetical comments, here!)
Edit: Turns out it wasn't Satie. Nevermind!