Friday, 27 September 2019

Musical Me

(That's me trying to play the guitar)
I’ve always wanted to be able to play a musical instrument.

I started with something simple – the harmonica. All you have to do is suck and blow and suck and blow as you move the instrument left and right in your mouth. It was fun and easy. Sadly, it made the cat climb up the curtains and the dog howl whilst the rest of the family screamed at me all at once.

So I tried taking lessons at playing the guitar. We started with tuning exercises. I had to hold the strings tightly against the neck of the guitar with the left hand and pick at the strings with the right hand!

The problem was that my left hand did its job all right. But the right hand kept moving up and down frantically a few millimetres away from the strings. When the instructor suggested I move my hand a little closer somehow my fingers got all tangled up in the strings with a horrendous sound.

I just could not co-ordinate both hands to do what they were supposed to. Sometimes my left hand moved up and down on the guitar neck, whilst the other hand pushed the fingers into that hole you have in the main body of the instrument.

My patient instructor suggested I use a plectrum or pick. That’s a small triangular piece of plastic which you hold between your fingers to pick at the guitar strings.

As I tried to hit the strings with the plastic bit it flew out of my hand and hit the instructor straight in the eye. Would you believe it? It could have gone anywhere … but NOOOOO !!! In my case it went straight in his eye.
(I drew the cartoon. Honest truth!)

He was taken to hospital and the rest of the class blamed me for a ruined guitar lesson. I mean … why not blame the stupid plastic triangle?

I gave up the guitar and decided to self-teach myself the violin instead. No plectrums or picks … just a long stick which you move up and down over the strings and sound comes out.

I bought myself an expensive violin and decided to learn at home using a book and a CD I got from the library.

It made some good sounds I tell you. The cat still climbed at the top of the curtain and the dog hid in his kennel. The rest of the family chose to go out shopping instead!

It was then that I noticed that whilst playing the violin I had a tendency to walk up and down the room instead of standing still. At first I did not know why I was doing this; then I realized that the music I was playing had been written for the bagpipes.

So I sold my old Stradivarius at a garage sale and used the proceeds to buy a set of bagpipes and drums.
I practised for hours in our garden sometimes marching up and down with the bagpipes, and at other times using the big drum whilst playing back a recording of my bagpipes practice sessions.
I became really good at the pipes and drums and could soon play Chopin’s piano concertos as well as a number of other famous tunes written by all the well known composers. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Michelangelo … I could play them all.

However I noticed that our neighbours had become a little unfriendly and somewhat uncharitable.

One suggested that I play far away but I could not find the sheet music to that tune.

I tried practising indoors but there was not enough room to march up and down. So I walked on the treadmill whilst playing the bagpipes and watching TV at the same time. As an extra incentive I put a glass of whisky at the front of the treadmill to keep me walking towards it whilst playing the pipes.

I sometimes practiced in the garden at night so as not to wake up the rest of the family.

A jovial neighbour always opened his window and shouted “Stop banging that **** drum at three in the morning!” What a laugh that was!

I could even play “Silent Night” on the big drum, you know. For some strange reason our priest refused to let me play it on the drum at the Christmas Carol Concert.

I eventually gave up on the bagpipes due to several letters received from various solicitors. They were all written in the same threatening tone of voice … including the one sent on behalf of my wife.

The thing is … I love music. Putting a piece of paper over a comb and humming quietly doesn’t sound quite the same. Does it?


  1. The simultaneous climbing, howling & screaming - your first clue, Victor.
    Still, I hear your local symphony orchestra will be holding auditions soon.
    Maybe you could get an "official" opinion... And I love your cartoon:)
    As always, thanks for the smile!

    1. I did try and persevere, Chris. But all my efforts were not appreciated by family, friends, neighbours or the solicitors who kept threatening me with their letters. I admire people who have talent, like you, and make it look so easy. Most of the time it isn't easy.

      God bless you always.

  2. My friend Frog plays the bagpipes...he has no varmints or bugs within 100 yards of his house.

    1. In my case, even the bagpipes packed their bags and left.

      God bless you, JoeH.

  3. You could play the radio and enjoy music played by others. :)

    1. That's a great idea, Bill. But why do other people play music better than me? Is it talent or practice?

      God bless.

  4. Bill's idea is the best one. You could also hum.

  5. Now THAT'S funny stuff! I still have nightmares, remembering the piano and violin lessons my parents insisted I take.
    PS - Yours looks like a neat ring.

    1. I was never good at playing the piano as a child. It was too heavy to carry and walk up and down like they do with bagpipes.

      The ring I am wearing is very symbolic. It was bought for me by my wife when we were young before we married.

      The symbol in the middle is the sign of the sun. Also the design is the star sign of Leo - my astrology sign. Also, I am told, the two circles in the middle represent man and wife united.

      So, as I said, very symbolic. It was also the cheapest ring at the jewellers so my wife bought it for me.

      Keep smiling, Mevely. God bless you.

  6. Keep trying, maybe you just haven't hit on the right instrument yet! :)

    I actually had bagpipes when we lived in Scotland and took lessons from an old seasoned piper. I never was any good at it but sure enjoyed the lessons. He would tell me stories from when he was a young lad and his wife would make tea for me.

    1. The bagpipes sound so great don't they? Especially when we're in Scotland. You often find a piper on Princes Street in Edinburgh.

      God bless, Happyone.



God bless you.