I seem to be being drawn towards musical participations of various sorts, some more likely than others. I’m not the musician I once was, due to lack of practice, in turn due to a combination of physical difficulty (my right arm doesn’t strum very well any more, and certainly can’t fingerpick), distraction (so much else going on in my life), and indolence. I have five guitars – I had a picture of them all, but can’t find it and certainly lack the energy to recreate it – only two of which (the acoustic and, inevitably, my beloved Telecaster) I ever pick up nowadays. Shame, really.
So I’ve gathered together all the other musical instruments I possess (with one exception, a mouth organ which I suspect is lurking inside one of the guitar cases). Here they are.
Half of them, as you’ll see, are percussion. The others are my old school recorder (which I can still tootle a bit); a mandolin that belonged to Viv, who never played it (it needs restoration, really – the lack of tuning pegs, which doesn’t really show in the picture, makes it, erm, untunable); a duck, given to me as a birthday present by my brother: it took me ages to realise that you had to put your fingers on some holes and blow into its backside, whereupon it would emit up to, ooh, at least a pentatonic scale; and some little bells, which fall on the boundary but which I’ll count as not percussion, because you can do things with them other than shake and bang. (I realise I’m on, ah, shaky ground here, categorically.)
I love percussion. I have a great sense of rhythm, which sometimes even makes its way down the ever-lengthening neural pathways to my hands and feet. I could have been a drummer, if I’d had the energy.
My best ever percussion instrument was a Fiat 850 van we used to hire when Bessie, our Transit, was on one of her frequent rest cures. But that’s another story.