I’m learning the guitar

I started this blog with the intention of writing about a range of topics. I guess I always knew advertising and marketing would dominate, but I also envisaged lengthy discursions on clothes and music. But these have rather fallen by the wayside. I’d like to remedy this, and beg your indulgence.

Because I’m hopelessly over-excited.  I have my first guitar lesson on Saturday.

I’ve always admired the ability to play an instrument above all else.  I regret enormously that I didn’t learn to play when I was young.  My Mother taught singing and piano and so, in the way that children sometimes do, I actively avoided anything to do with music. But then I grew up and, in the way that adults always do, lamented that avoidance.

And then about the time I turned 18 I discovered John Prine, listened to ‘Sam Stone’ on his first live album and realised that the most perfect sound in the world comes from an acoustic guitar.

It feels quite daunting to learn to play.  Partly this is because I’m an oldish man, and I’m painfully aware that learning new things at my age gets more difficult.  Partly it’s because I know that I’m going to really love it and that I’ll have to accept that I’ve lived 20 wasted years in which I should have been playing guitar, More than that, I fear that I’m going to realise that I’ve been doing the wrong thing all along.

My son is musical, just like my Mother. He sings when he should talk and dances when he should walk.  I love that the link to someone he never met is so obvious and that something that was such an important part of my family feels like it might be reprised.

So I’m guilty, like every parent, of projecting on my children’s behalf.  I do imagine the interview in Word Magazine, 20 years from now, when he talks of how he grew up in a household listening to Steve Earle, Danny George Wilson, Teddy Thompson and Emmylou Harris and that he started playing guitar early, then started writing, that it was a short step from there to the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and that the song he enjoys playing the most is the one that his father wrote for him about the grandparents he never got to meet.

So he and I are learning to play the guitar together, starting Saturday. The nice people at the music school pointed out that in about a year he’ll be much better than I will, because where his fingers are nimble, mine are arthritic. But that’s OK, because I just want to be a part of the experience.

Because I’m betting that the most perfect sound in the world comes from an acoustic guitar played by my son.

I’m learning the guitar

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