Following on from Michael’s comments in yesterday’s post, I replied this morning that he was one up on me in the nappy changing stakes, but I could rustle something up in the kitchen or get a tune out of a piano.
That last part dragged a memory from the deepest vaults of my mind of pianos in various states of play (excuse very deliberate pun. I’ll understand if you stop reading now) and the one time I completely failed.
Piano playing (aka plonking) has been a part of my life since I was about 3 years old. Dad started me off with silly little duets including Z cars, and if you’ve ever seen Tom Hanks in BIG, just think about that huge electronic keyboard on the floor, and you’ll get an idea of what we used to play together.
I don’t know what’s happened/happening about Mum’s piano as in her Will she requested that if my sister didn’t want it, it was to be sold and the proceeds split between the two of us. It was second hand when given to Mum when she was about 11, and used to have the candle holders on it, but I can never remember ever seeing them, just the empty space where they used to be. It was in a walnut casing, and the keys were ivory, so none of the plastics you get today.
It would have been the late 70s as I was visiting rather than living at home and I asked if I could play it. Dad was smirking as he said ‘Sure’.
I lifted the lid and settled my ample backside on the stool ready to begin.
NOTHING! apart from Dad’s hysterical laughter from the kitchen as he was making the tea. Mum was laughing too as all I could get out of it was tapped ‘silence’.
Apparently the innards had been taken away to be re-strung, so although the keys and hammers were in place, there was nothing for them to strike.
Sis would have been in seventh heaven as it was possibly the biggest bone of contention between us growing up as she struggled to learn whereas I only had to hear something a couple of times and could play a pretty decent recognisable version, even if it was in the wrong key.
I joined in the hilarity.
Saying that though, over the years I have played some rather sad instruments where notes stick, don’t play at all, are totally missing, or even have their own mini snare drum in attendance as a coil has sprung somewhere within. But, I have always managed to get a tune out of it regardless. It might not be as it was written, but it is a tune nonetheless, and if I don’t know how it was really meant to go, I made it up!
Memories of 1970 immediately spring forth and my maternal Grandfather taking us to every pub he knew that had a piano so that I could play Danny Boy for his pals.