Off topic RE: Ballet Shoes (was RE: DWJ sans frontiers)

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at
Tue Jul 5 13:53:09 EDT 2005

Well, I suppose it does mean something that nobody else on this list really
understands the reference, either. At least I don't feel I'll be committing
a very obvious and embarassing mistake if I just make a stab at it.
First thing, even before writing this list to ask, I ran a google search on
the expression, and did independently find some links that suggested
"sweller" is a name for a part of an organ. However this doesn't shed any
new light and doesn't really make sense in the context (whereas car parts
would have made sense, because the characters in question share an interest
in taking apart cars, and are in fact on their way to a garage). It seems
either this is a dated or obscure joke, or it wasn't really all that funny
to begin with.
Thanks to all who responded, even if we haven't cracked it yet...

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dwj at [mailto:owner-dwj at]On Behalf Of
Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale)
Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 6:40 PM
To: dwj at
Subject: RE: Off topic RE: Ballet Shoes (was RE: DWJ sans frontiers)

> Someone mentioned organs - to say, I think,  that it wasn't related -
> but I feel it could be related to organ stops (isn't that what the
> little round press in buttons are called) and perhaps some were called
> Swellers informally if they had the effect of swelling the music.
> Pretty far out in terms of guessing I suppose....

That was why I mentioned organs in the first place.  A "Stop" is the
control to select a rank of pipes, often in the form of a little round
button as you suggest.

A "Swell" (I have never heard it called a sweller) is an arrangement
where organ pipes are enclosed in a box, and you vary the volume by
opening and closing louvres on the box, usually with a foot pedal.  (I
once played an organ where you had to operate the swell by moving your
knee.  I never got the hang of it.)

But why "front"?  And why "Sweller" instead of "Swell"?  And what does
it mean at the end of it?

I've never read the book, BTW, so I have no idea whether the singing in
question was to be accompanied on an organ.

Philip.  (Still not very helpful, I'm afraid)

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