The kiddies sure worked me out this morning. My first three classes were hell-an hour and a half of over-excited seven year olds yelling and screaming, not even giving me a chance to show them anything....it's not like I'm trying to drill meaningless musical concepts into them. I've actually got fun stuff that I've planned, but they won't have a bar of it! Two of them are almost on the way out (I can do that if I want), but I can't help wondering if it's partly my own fault, like I'm not disciplined enough with them, or I need to be more assertive or something. I feel like I'm turning into the sort of teacher I had on occasion when I was at school...nice guy, knows his stuff, but can't discipline the class. Thing is though, that was at high school - I never played up this bad in my primary school years.
And then of course, when I thought it couldn't get any worse, my last class were gems. I started off with the C major scale, and they all magically did what I said - in an Arvo Part-type moment*, I was suddenly blessed with the sounds of multiple ascending and descending C major scales and arpeggios....and then we moved onto the clapping and singing that I do, to lead them into the cool swingy bass riff I'm showing them, and they got it, and got it good! I couldn't believe it. Most importantly, the kid in my last class that I've been having trouble with, he had a go at C major scale two hands, and for that he was awarded a 'Flying Fingers' certificate - the quiet smile on his face was golden.
Proceeded to St John's Wood to pick up music and CDs from crazy Brazilian woman. In a long and tedious story, I was all set to join a Brazilian dance band (with a troupe of well fit dancing girls), but it didn't happen...and then it was going to happen, and then I thought it wasn't happening again, but turns out they want me that bad, so like the trooper I am I agreed to meet her at the tube just up from Abbey Road studios (apt?) to pick up the material.
It's a bit of a musical neighbourhood there...just down from the station is the aforementioned studios, where people hang out and take photos of the crosswalk which I indeed crossed on my way down to Maida Vale for some lunch while I waited. Passed a couple of those circular blue plates littered around London telling you what famous people previously lived there, and they were classical musicians. Got down to Maida Vale shops, ducked into a nice little cafe (appropriately named 'Intermezzo') and got a reasonable coffee and bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese...honestly, I wish I'd invented that stuff!
Crazy woman is 20 minutes late, which for her is quite early. She pulls up, I get in...she starts her disorganised ranting about how we weren't able to hook up the previous night....this woman is so STUPID and vague and I can literally hear the cogs in her head turning whenever she speaks, but there I am, staring out the windscreen, keeping my mouth shut, nervous of course at the potential of any conflict should I speak my mind and let her know what I'm really thinking....reminds me of one of my favourite songs...you may know it?:
'And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar and say, "Man, what are you doing here?"'
...that is, what am I doing in still subjecting myself to dealing with such airhead people who run these sorts of things? I sit there, put up with it, take the charts...it starts to hail as I open the door, and for an instant I somehow get my foot stuck in between the car and the gutter.
Diving back down into subterranean refuge, I quickly rig up the discman, and from Gonzalo Rubalcaba's remarkably understated introduction, the holes in my battered persona (the kiddies, this woman, the bloody hail!) are filled to overflowing....if anyone owns 'Nocturne' by Charlie Haden, that album is me, right here, right now....
So I've signed up to this band, mostly for the hot dancing girls and hanging with Brazilians, less so for any musical stimulation. The more I deal with people like this woman, the less inclined I am to put up with them and their crap. Let's just say, after a long time, this skin is thickening....
....but not thick enough of course to resist the acupuncture I received later on in the afternoon, on my second visit to a brilliant osteopath near Baker Street. A long-time nerve trouble has sprung up again, but this guy is really working it hard, and it's actually a form of tendonitis....electrodes, massage, four pins and an hour later, I thank him but am feeling a little out of it on my way to my next engagement....forget where the restaurant in, finally find it next to the little pagoda in China Town, an eagerly awaited meet with Dr H and the loverly Fraulein. They are getting married in the summer....we talk of music and the world, inhaling our laksas heartily. You know when a meal transcends the food you actually eat and becomes a spiritual experience? When you can feel the love in your belly? The guys at China Inn have almost got that going.....
So I'm flying to Amsterdam this afternoon! Not really sure what I'm going to do there, but I guess I'll just wander around and get into adventures....until next time, my love to you all, whoever you are!
* 'Cantus In Memory of Benjamin Britten'