Slow Boat…

Posted on Jun 28, 2017 | 0 comments

I walked up Cuba Mall and then up onto Cuba and began to think I’d made a mistake.  I stopped a young woman who smiled and obligingly took off her earphones.  ‘Am I on the track for Slow Boat Records?’ I asked, ‘I’m beginning to think I might have walked past.’

She smiled.  ‘No, it’s up there, see the yellow sign?’  She saw I was relieved and then said, ‘If you’re looking for Slow Boat you must have good taste in music, I go in there all the time.’ And with a grin and a wave, she was off.

I wanted to ask Slow Boat if they had any sheet music of old songs eg Dylan, Kristofferson, Bette Midler (eg The Rose) and so on and so on. I know this is my son’s generation songs but no law that says they can’t be mine as well.

Anyway, I can now play a select number of chords (3 lots of 3) with my left hand and can (almost) tap out the melody of a song at the same time as playing the chords.  You very quickly learn to hear how vocal line notes go (eg sound better) with some chords rather than others. I also learned that a lot of lyricists only know (eg invent), the melody line and its their producer who gets some musicians in to do the left hand stuff.  That cheered me up.

The big thing I learned over the last four months is that its okay to play just for my own satisfaction.  If I make mistakes or fumble, that’s okay.  That if I don’t get pleasure out of something then I don’t have to make myself do it.  In fact there is no ‘have to’, there’s is only if it doesn’t make me smile then do something else.  That doesn’t mean I eschew practice, I am a fan of practice, am a long fan of rehearsal and its benefits.  So I will practise endlessly if I like what I’m trying to do.  I have two goals.  One is to play songs I like.  The other is to practise them until I can (more or less) get to the end without faltering.  And over all I have to get pleasure from it, feel a sense of achievement.  Smile.

So I entered Slow Boat and was fishing around the shelves in a hopeless kind of way when I was approached by a member of staff.  Smiling.  ‘Can I help?’ she said.

Out it poured.

‘Oh dear,’ she said, ‘I know exactly what you mean.  I had a pile of sheet music of old songs and took some along to the Salvation Army yesterday.  But, ‘ she said, before I could burst into loud sobs, ‘there’s still a pile in my boot.  Have you got email?’

I had email and a phone number.  I stretched out my hand, ‘Renée,’ I said, ‘thank you.’

‘Ondine,’ she said, taking my hand, ‘it’s a pleasure.  I’m pleased to give them to someone who really wants them.’

So I walked out of Slow Boat thinking, well go that river of Pop, Nick Bollinger wrote about.  He was right.  Somewhere in that river there’s a place for me.  And I think Slow Boat Records on Cuba might be the arrow pointing the way.

 

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