Otto Büchstein

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Apocryphal Austrian playwright. m. Birgit von Sachsen-Rampton. Headstrong daughter called Antagonista Contrariana. Wrote a widely ignored philosophical tract, Discourse on Intercourse, which posited that the most fundamental essence of human nature was to form a committee. Convenimus ergo es — literally, “We are meeting, therefore you exist”.

Known to operate sub nom Jolly Contrarian, on whom he based his first opera. It is understood that his character Don Iolio Contrario from Form and Substance is also loosely autobiographical.

Wrote the justifiably under-appreciated operettas der Glücklich Widersprüchlichmensch (“The Jolly Contrarian”), Die Warteschleifenmusikopfer (“The hold-music victim”) and Die Eroberung der Form durch Substanz (“The victory of form over substance”) (more usually known, and performed, in Italian as La Vittoria della Forma sulla Sostanza). There is a theory that the harrowing final scene of that opera, involving a crisp packet blowing across St Mark’s square, was formative on the young William Shakespeare.

A rumoured final opera, the unfinished Die Schweizer Heulsuse (the “Swiss Milquetoast”), supposedly commissioned by a mysterious patron as Büchstein lay dying in a hospital bed in Mandalay, afflicted with dengue fever[1], is believed now to be lost forever. The identity of the mysterious patron has never been uncovered — Büchstein’s facility for prevarication is well known, and he may well have just made it up — but one popular theory is that it was Sir Jerrold Baxter-Morley, Q.C.. If you know anything about it, please get in touch!

See also


  1. Or possibly malaria.