Mr E Man and I visited his mother on BC’s Sunshine Coast at the weekend. As usual, the days were filled with good food, wine, reading, crosswords, Scrabble, and the occasional short hike (the weather was not living up to the promise of the region’s name).
It seems that we’re getting to know more and more people who live up there, including my brother-in-law’s hilarious new girlfriend (HNG) and her friend, who also used to work with Mr E Man and his father. (It’s that kind of place). On Saturday we were invited to their regular music night. We drove a short distance, clambered up a very dark and hilly driveway, and found ourselves in a semi-finished one room shack filled with a smoky blue haze and rockin’ blues music.
As I’ve mentioned before, my BIL is a roofer by day and a rock star by night. He’d brought his guitar and was giving it his all as usual*. There were 3 other guitars (no bass though, which was the only thing missing), a harmonica, the host at the drum kit, various others (including us – no passive spectators allowed!) on assorted percussion instruments, and BIL’s HNG on flute. The host’s wife, an award winning professional singer, was persuaded to belt out a few songs, with various other vocalists taking their turn. There was the occasional break for drinks, smokes, and a stumble in the dark to the scary steaming outhouse, but apart from that the music was continuous until we left at around midnight. It was just fantastic.
I was so jealous. I play the classical guitar, but unlike others (such as Wayfarer!) who start to play with the aim of being able to play around the campfire, I was taught very classically from an early age and while I can read music, I’ve never learned to improvise. I tried to jam with BIL once, with disastrous results – I don’t know the songs that people expect me to play, and I can’t just “transfer it to E minor, it’ll sound better”. I’ve got the wrong kind of brain or something, which is a shame because I just love playing music in a group.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time and energy recently trying to persuade some friends who play various instruments (flute / clarinet / trumpet, violin, and another classical guitar) to get together for a music-reading, classical version of the evening described above. I painted a picture of a small group of women who hadn’t played in a long time getting together once a month or so in a low stress, no guilt, wine infused setting to play music. I even offered to host, and Mr E Man had (not very reluctantly at all) agreed that he would go to the bar with his BFF on those nights. Naturally, everyone thought it was a great idea, but no-one actually wanted to do it just yet as they were “just so out of practice”. My assertion that we’re all in the same boat fell on deaf ears and I ended up telling people to practice for a month and I’d get back to them.
BIL’s HNG is really keen to join us, so I think it’s time to resurrect my idea. Maybe people will be more likely to come if I tell them that the two of us are doing it anyway, here’s the date and time, come if you want to.
*I’m proud to say that I beat him at Guitar Hero at Christmas!
Appearing now at a Nature Network blog near you:
The effect of a peripatetic scientific lifestyle on friendships
April Fools pranks for your lab