the guitar I played

If that title doesn’t move me up the Google rankings for retirement blog then I just don’t know. Of course it’s a slight exaggeration, as you would expect, but in my retired mind there is an element of ‘truth’ about it. Let me explain, but first I need to set the scene, keep you in suspense a little longer. I wrote at the end of the last jazz performance blog about the weirdness around the mysterious postcard from my father who died in 1953 to my mother. I also said in a PS I would write about another event that happened, which is the basis for this blog. I admit that I like supernatural writings hence the 12 short stories in my book, That which lies beneath, available on Amazon very cheap and also the majority of them on this very blog for no money at all. So perhaps it’s true that I see the supernatural (my choice of words) in events that others would simply put down to coincidence. You can be the judge.

Again let me set the scene. I mentioned in my last blog that I had been given the position of honorary roadie possibly by virtue of the fact that I am the only band member with a white van. The colour is not strictly relevant but the size of the van is. It’s a left over from our deleted gardening business, it’s a bit battered but did the job of transporting the drum set and the keyboard over to the location of the gig. The fact that the keyboard was included is significant.

Having volunteered to make myself and van available I was slightly worried that I would have to hang around for the whole evening, we being on first, to transport said instruments back to their home. This would have been a pain for me. But as it turned out I didn’t need to loiter because the instruments – drum set and keyboard – were going to be left in the same place on account of there being another gig, not involving us, on the following Tuesday. So job done I left for home with never a thought of the consequences of leaving the instruments where they were.

By now I’m either building tension or pissing off my readers by not getting to the supernatural part. Hope it’s the former because there is more. The following Monday was one of our pre-arranged meetings / rehearsals / jams call it what you will and there was some debate about whether we should meet having done the Monday before (which I missed on account of this bloody chest infection / cough) and of course the Saturday night performance. Was it possible we might be seeing too much of each other?

Seems not because everybody, even me, replied to our band leader’s email in the affirmative. Love to meet but could we do some different tunes to the ones we’d been bloody well rehearsing for the last however many weeks. One of our members went as far as to suggest a new tune – Broadway, I’d never heard of it. As is the norm in this technological age she sent the music for all instruments and an audio file of the tune. And this is where it gets ‘interesting’.

The music looked alright not beyond my pay grade but buggered if I could get the audio file to download and play despite repeated efforts. These repeated efforts took me to parts of my laptop which haven’t seen the light of day for many a long time. These were audio files that I had downloaded in the past – there was a Beatles album which I have no idea how it got there. Alongside it were three short video clips recorded at a weekend maybe two years ago at Leeds College of Music. I’m sure I’ve written about this weekend somewhere on this blog. Anyway I thought, oh, I wonder what I used to sound like playing jazz guitar.

So I played the three clips and despite Mrs Summerhouse’s attempt to spoil my fun by talking over the clips – is that you? Yes. I can’t see your hands, why didn’t you sit at the front? It doesn’t matter that you can’t see, just listen. Is that the tutor we met in the pub? No it isn’t, now bloody well shut up. She left in a huff leaving me to my class reunion and the thoughts that I hadn’t been half bad as a guitarist. The ones of you with decent memories and little else to do other than read these blogs might remember that I didn’t give up playing guitar voluntarily but rather felt obliged to because the arthritis in my fingers was getting so much worse and I couldn’t form the chords with my left hand where as I could play the left hand on the piano. It’s still a problem but don’t like to talk about it.

Anyway, I thought it odd that I had stumbled across these clips completely unlooked for but gave up with the downloaded audio file and went back to my other life. That is until about 5 minutes before I was due to set off for the Monday session when I thought, duh, the keyboard isn’t there, it’s with the drum set. What will I play and then the light bulb moment – me playing the guitar on the clips – I could easily take one of my many guitars and play that. I’m sure our resident guitarist wouldn’t mind just for this week. The point is, in case you’d missed it, or drifted off reading all this by-way-of- introduction stuff, that this option would never have occurred to me if I hadn’t, completely without any intention, found the clips of me playing – yes, a guitar.

So I packed up one of my guitars and even an amp if needed (it wasn’t) and set off for Otley. And I played the guitar and I enjoyed it, and I was quite good though I say it as shouldn’t, well nobody else was going to say it, and my fingers worked perfectly at least until I realised that they were working perfectly but even then, when they stiffened up a bit, overall I had more fun playing guitar then I’ve had playing piano these last few weeks.

So what the heck is that all about? The mysterious discovery of long lost video clips, the absence of the keyboard, the remembering at the last minute, the decent playing even though I haven’t played jazz guitar for probably eighteen months, fingers healed as if by a miracle? All very, what? Fortuitous, the perfect storm of the coincidental, lucky, supernatural. I have no idea but you have to admit, it’s a little bit weird (or am I getting weirder in my retirement?) but it has facilitated another jazz retirement blog for you to read and admire. Hasn’t it?

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