I’m learning how to play guitar, Mandy brought me one as a present for my birthday and I’m properly getting in to it. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do as it’s been my favourite sound for as long as I can remember.
I used to play the Saxophone, grade 8, although that means nothing really as I was never actually any good. It was enjoyable from a technical perspective, playing in a band and keeping the thing in tune and playing the notes in the right place. It’s just that I’m not a natural musician so was only going to go far. Also I was playing in an Army Band, and in that environment unless you’re exceptional at your chosen instrument you’re treated like something scraped off the shoe. Men can be very bitchy.
Who wants to play the Sax anyway? As an instrument it’s always going to be associated with greasy pony tails rather than Stan Getz and John Coltrane. Anything on the sax post 1970 will always sound smug.
A guitar on the other hand is the embodiment of Rock ‘n Roll music. It’s what it’s all about, from 1950s America to the Mersey and from Zappa to Sonic Youth. Stuff marching around in a red uniform, that was a waste of everybody’s time.
I used to play guitar when I was younger, at primary school. The head teacher, Mr Atkins, would spend the best part of Friday afternoon teaching chords and songs to anyone that came along with a guitar. I used to ask myself why anyone would want to sit in a classroom learning arithmetic when you could be sat in the sunshine learning E minor, G and D7. The shoving parents of today would have had none of it. My child, the targets, push to the front. Judging children by sneering at league tables in grubby Sunday newspapers. Nice.
Mr Atkins was notable for another reason, he had a strange infatuation with the Parachute Regiment. If any child dared break rules the resulting lecture would probably involve a comparison with one of the British Army’s finest fighting units. “Do you think that’s acceptable behaviour do you? Eh?! Wouldn’t get away with that in the Parachute Regiment would you? No!! So why in Gods name do you think it’s okay to forget your sports kit here then?!!” There’s nothing more comical than an unintentionally funny person.
Mr Atkins, guitar player, great bloke and comic genius.