About the Book

Matthew’s book, a cultural history of the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, is forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf (their logo is a dog! Moe approves). Is there anything at all more to be said about such an ubiquitous warhorse? Well, yeah, as it turns out—and a lot of what already has been said is long-lost fun, to say the least. A sample:

Press corps parrot abducted

NICOSIA, Cyprus—A British journalist offered a $100 reward Wednesday for the safe return of Coco, the whistling parrot of the foreign press corps who was abducted by gunmen from a west Beirut hotel in last week’s fighting.

The cash reward was made in messages sent by Coco’s owner to west Beirut newspapers.

Coco, who for 10 years has lived at the Commodore hotel frequented by foreign journalists, was locally famous for imitating the whistling of an incoming shell. It also whistled the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and the French national anthem.

—United Press International, February 25, 1987

As far as I can tell, Coco was never heard from again.

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