Music During Your Reading...?
The herringbone-patterned wooden floor offered the scent of the
disinfectant that the Janitor applied the previous evening and I
could also pick up the vague fragrance that the eight year-old girl
beside me had begged from her Mother.
It was what grown-ups wear when they're about to play music for an
Pulling my skinny legs under me, I prepared to play the crap out of the
three glockenspiel bars that Mrs. Brown had labelled 'A, B & C'
My Mother said she would try to get to the concert, she had explained
that it was 'Bingo Night' on a Friday and she would have to pop-in and
see Vera at No.18 she's been laid-up with a bad chest again.
A tight schedule for sure.
It was dark November Friday evening in school and 1967.
The whole of Great Britain was just the small town that I lived in and
that strange creature the black & white television called 'the big world
outside' would have to wait for thirty minutes.
That other peculiar brute called 'Teenager Years' was an animal that
waited further down the track. Ready to wreak havoc with my body and
soul, it waited with long claws and filthy thoughts.
But I'm a kid... a kid who had a job to do.
Anyway, back to 'A, B & C'
In the year I would come to terms with having no sense of beat, I would be
told that a woman would sing at the Eurovision Song Contest and not wear
any shoes. Can you believe that?!
Jeez, Sandie Shaw, a real swinger.
The BBC would launch their colour (or is it color now?)... channel and
to the kid who only wanted to race through the dark evenings and spend
all day getting my neck red from the sun, it was something for the rich folks
to have... maybe the 'grown-ups' that wear that smelly perfume.
Some here may recall those days, I do hope so and I know that everyone
at sometime, travels down memory lane like this and swims in it's sweet
-tasting warm waters.
So just like that 'big world' give me a minute, huh?
A small child in crumpled grey socks, black short-trousers that were losing
stitching just below the pockets and a off-white shirt that smelled the way
that only children can make them smell.
Of hope and wild runnings... that was me.
And now I was a musician.
'A-A-A, B-B and... C' a glance at Mrs. Brown and then back to the three chunks
of smooth wood. Stay with it.
'A-A-A, B-B...' Oh no, I'm gonna over-shoot with the rubber-balled sticks
(they're mallets yer' idiot!) and Phew!! the 'C' saves the day.
Another glance at Mrs. Brown and then a quick scan for my Mother in the
beaming crowd before the next attempt at my elegy.
There's a woman, a woman that I will only fully-appreciate when she has gone
from my life, a middle-aged woman with a big grin of dentures and a satin-like
scarf that holds plastic curlers against her head.
In the second row, next to the woman with blonde-hair that must have
It's my Mother and she seems proud of me.
The stumbling piece of music moves along and the conviction on the
young faces around me are compatible to a jury pondering the death sentence.
It's that serious.
The staggering instrumental that clunks and whistles along the unsteady rail
tracks that these scruffy, knee-scraped, nose-picking and absolutely virtuous
children have provided, slowly grinds to the point where my magical spell of
'A-A-A...' will be required and like a sorcerer's apprentice, a pair of wands are
raised away from my warm armpits.
(They're STILL called mallets, yer' fool)
Then I freeze.
In 1967, Elvis and Priscilla got married. The Beatles had gone 'full-hippie' and
were bringing out their 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' album.
And there was something about a war, a war in a place called Vietnam.
But in that same year that the 'Big World' we had spoken of earlier -was turning
and watching it's residents love, kill and use each other, I had become still.
Frozen is the right word.
Then she nodded her head. She nodded once and I hit the 'A'
With tear-filled eyes and a bottom-lip that told me that enough-was-enough.
My son was just as good as the rest. My son would count the beat.
Mother moved those freakin' rollers and head-scarf and I dropped that mallet
on it's correct note.
Again, the woman who wore a elbow-scuffed coat and struggled to feed-and-
dress five of her own, she moved that head that had kissed me when I'd been
hurt and fumed at me when I brought trouble to the house.
And I nailed that B-note like Ringo Starr at Carnegie Hall.
Come on note-C... take it like a, well like my Mother takes it.
Like a man.
Later, Mrs. Brown was very pleased with us. As a treat she had brought out
small packets of candy that she passed around like the wafers I've seen them
use in Catholic churches. Something about eating Jesus.
I got some liquorice and three gob-stoppers.
So half a century, later I sometimes catch myself thinking back to that evening.
When the Winter nights come down and the cold wind throws the clouds
eastwards and reveals the bright stars that may have died out centuries ago.
I think about the woman who nodded her head and with tears in my eyes,
my still-skinny leg feels me tap 'A-A-A, B' and that 'C'
edit on pm b201313 089 pm by A boy in a dress because: Left Curlers In Edit