Some ideas are so good they have an existence that is independent of their execution. For example, someone thought it would be a good idea to screen an iconic silent horror movie in a spooky chapel, and get some bloke to play the organ as the soundtrack.
Simple. In fact, do you really need to be there? Now I've told you what was involved, you can probably imagine the whole thing. And, in this case, you would be dead right.
Actually, when I first saw the notice for David Bednall accompanying the screening of the 1922 German horror classic Nosferatu in Keble College Chapel, a nameless dread crept over me. It was every bit as chilling as Max Schreck's famous evocation of the archetypal vampire.
For the notice contained the dread word: improvisation.
Now don't get me wrong. I love improvisation. I'm a Grateful Dead fan, a jazz lover and a Derek Bailey disciple. I've also absorbed enough about the traditions of the King of Instruments to know that Bach was a great improviser.
The trouble is, improvisation very often means weird. The dread that gripped my soul was that I would go in search of Gothic majesty and be presented with a crash of atonal art music that ruined the movie and dishonoured the setting.
Still, I went. And I should have had more faith.
David Bednall, currently the organist at Bristol University, and a noted composer and improviser, began by exhorting us to watch the film rather than take particular notice of his playing, and we all did as we were told.
As a result, we were treated to a captivating cinematic experience, with musician and director bonding across 90 years to bring us 100 minutes of glorious audio-visual expression.
David Bednall wrung every last drop of Gothicness (Gothicity?) from the film, with highlights that included bits of Wagner, a witty quotation of 'Morning' from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite as the dawn broke in Transylvania, and a 'Jaws'-like sequence when the carnivorous plants were gobbling up hapless insects.
But the truly unforgettable moment was the one we'd all hoped to see, from the instant the idea of Nosferatu in a grand chapel, with a grand organ, came our way.
What you want is a massive, doom-laden, stops-to-the-max chord with teeth-juddering bass, that goes on for ages until you start to wonder how good the chapel's architects were, and might you meet a historic end, buried by a surfeit of Gothic romance?
And that's exactly what we got. It was deliciously clichéd, perfectly timed, and utterly terrifying. I'll have to sleep with the light on for a few more days yet.
If only F.W. Murnau, the director, could have been there. He would have embraced David Bednall as a fellow visionary, and they would have revelled together in the eternal connection of a magnificent idea.