At Outro school they teach how to fade, how to add strings or turn a chorus into an anthem. The least popular course is taught by an old New York lady named Agnes Zipursky called New Questions & The Song to End All Songs. She is from the esoteric school that believes in inner songs as well as outer ones. In her class students are assigned tuning into the melodies looping inside them. About losing weight or not getting a raise or missing their dead mother or hating their upstairs neighbour – all the things that she refers to as – whad’eva d’fucks on ay rotashn. “A great oud’ro” she says, “shood change the naadif and puduce new questins or satemints”.
The first part of her course simply positions the students towards recognizing that there is a personal song playing inside themselves unceasingly and practice noticing how it shows itself or hides in that area of the inner song which former Coffee Time customer-of-the-month Bob Snider refers to as the “dark corners”. In the 2cnd part they scrutinize patterns of surprise endings from politics, literature and cinema and are assigned protracted reflection papers which can also be rendered musically if they desire. Some notable examples from previous years were Nelson Mandela and the establishment of a truth and reconciliation committee or the final chapter of The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood or the last scene in Philippe de Broca’s 1966 study of clowns and war, the incandescent The King of Hearts.
No further discussion of outros transpire until the 1rst two assignments are completed. By that time usually 65% of the class has dropped out and those who remain are challenged with the song to end all songs. They must write and sustain an outro that questions the song they have lived with most of their lives. Ms. Zipursky believes that those who drop out and those who stay accurately reflects the ratio of songwriters who are ok with the same old song vs. those who feel compelled to at least try changing their tune.