I know I should be working on Book #7 (four chapters written already) but have been tapped on the shoulder and mugged by the magic of the new. You know how it is when you’ve done it all and got the teeshirt, to use a tired old cliche; each new endeavour was exciting and magical when first started, then as familiarity spreads its cloak, the magic gets stifled by the warmth of familiarity. I can remember when I first realised (at age 14) that I…I…little me…could design an aircraft that I could sit in and actually fly. All it took was some basic knowledge of aerodynamics and structures and a lot of common sense. Plus a lot of wood, glue and an engine. That was magic. I designed plenty and eventually built one which flew. I have always been fascinated by aircraft, of course (40+ years in the industry) but the real magic was the discovery days when I was in my teens. These days, if I build a model, it will usually be one of those 1960s types or earlier. I guess it’s the nostalgia, but those aircraft had a magic about them that the latest and shiniest Eurofighter can’t match. Nostalgia is not what it was.
So, it’s the newness of some new challenge wherein lies the magic but, when you’re 60, what else is there to do that could generate that same frisson? Bungee-jumping? Climbing Mount Everest? I think not. Then Teresa told me that she was starting piano lessons with our mutual friend, Barney, a professional musician and songwriter (Barbara Dickson, Cliff Richard etc). Ping. I was in the process of being mugged.
I’ve always loved music but have never been able to play a musical instrument. Ping. Why not? To cut a long story short, I had my first lesson yesterday and have to say that I enjoyed every new magical moment. It’s like starting to glimpse behind a curtain that hides an entire new world of discovery. I know that it’ll take a hell of a lot of effort before I can even bash out Chopsticks or Für Elise but I feel the same excitement that I have when embarking on any new exploit.
Barney teaches in a non-academic way; he’s basically a guitarist. It’s all about chords, fingering and getting ther brain used to the left and right hands doing different things at the same time. Later comes the sheet music but he’s a believer in working it out mechanically and visually, then doing it blind, that is, not looking at the keys and doing it by sound alone. It works. However, practise is necessary so I’ve ordered a Yamaha Clavinova which arrives on Monday. I can struggle away getting the right digit on the right key whilst imagining I’m playing the Waldstein piano sonata in Carnegie Hall. Then I can drive myself mad by bashing away and listening to the musical desecration via headphones. This way lies madness, methinks.
But I’m planning to enjoy every magical moment of it.