Sunday, 26 February 2012

You could have your choice of men. But I could never love again

I wanted to let you know how I was getting on with playing my guitar. I have started having (very occasional) lessons, i.e. I have had my first because when I got my job I decided I was now RICH despite the fact that I spent my first wages before I had got them on shoes, and it has been helpful. If you remember, I was trying to learn well enough that I could play in public and then, I don’t know, I was going to cross that off my bucket list and go and swim with dolphins or something. Well, readers, here is the exciting news: I do think that if I carry on practicing (I have been reasonably consistent) that I might be able to play in front of other human beings at some point (or perhaps a rather critical cat to start with?).
My guitar with Partner's bright yellow scarf which my mother very kindly knitted for him entirely in single rib because yellow is 'the best colour'. Partner loves his scarf and says everyone remarks upon it in shops and this is true, I have witnessed it happen
I mean, I am not good, but, I am having fewer Father Ted My Lovely Horse moments, so, I don’t know, I shall carry on a while longer and see how I feel. I have a repertoire now. I can play the following:

Jolene
Where Did You Sleep Last Night
Delia
That Johnny Cash one about the ink turning to red and I pray you don’t look at me, I pray I don’t look back
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
That Leonard Cohen one about Joan of Arc (if he was fire then, oooooo, she must be wooood…)

What a busking session that would be, hey hey? And I’ve got an outfit ready for if I ever get to play in public, because clearly that’s the most important consideration:
Vintage eighties. Sequinned all over. Put me near a light source and I'm just like a disco ball, a sarcastic disco ball
I shall tell you some things I learned from my lesson, which was a lot of fun. (My guitar teacher is very nice. He said, normally he had trouble getting people to sing: he did not then continue by saying, but you, I cannot get you to shut up, but I think that was the strong implication. I suppose you have to be tactful if you are a freelance guitar teacher. He said I had ‘the kind of voice that people would want to listen to’, so, in the absence of that actually being a direct insult I have decided to take it as encouragement. It makes life easier if you take that approach to things. Obviously I haven’t told him I knit, though, as that might mean he would refuse to teach me any more.)

This is the first thing I learned, and, if you are an aspiring guitar player who knows nothing, like me, you are going to find this very useful: you can take your guitar to a guitar shop, and they will file down your frets, sort it out generally, and make it easier to play. It will cost you about £20 (if you live in Cambridge, Strings on King Street will do it for you, I have already been in and chatted so I have done the groundwork for you there). My brother Dan who is a very good guitar player has done this to his own guitar, and I can vouch for the fact that it has made it much better, but, I did not realise you could pay someone to do it for you and that it is standard. So when I organise myself to get that done it will save me a lot of blisters,

The second thing is, barre chords are difficult to play and you are not a failure if you cannot play them at an early stage in your career. I blame Russ Shipton for this, because he slips in barre chords practically on the second page of his learn to play guitar book and it made me get quite depressed. But apparently they are just difficult and it is fine to work up to it,
This song has a line in it (you just kinda wasted my precious time) that I was going to say to Partner if we ever split up. We just never did though (also I might have to shave my legs if I was looking for someone new) so I told him instead, and he agrees that it would have been a very cool moment
And the third thing is, if your song requires a barre chord which you can not play, just play half of it as if you do not play the lowest string it makes the shape your hand has to make (technical term) much easier. It sounds fine! Sing a bit louder over that bit! Because, remember this: if you actually become a technically proficient guitarist, as Dan says, you end up like Eric Clapton: and who wants to be like Eric Clapton? Or you end up doing horrendously boring guitar solos and everyone looking at their watches or sneaking off to the bar. So, it is fine to be a bit crap, as that is in the spirit of anarchy, improvisation, the Sex Pistols, and so forth. So if you will excuse me, I shall now go and work on my ironic anarcho-punk feminist reclamation of Jolene (do you know what I think? I think Jolene didn’t give a stuff about Dolly Parton’s husband. I mean, is there anything in that song that indicates Jolene has actually even interacted with him? There is not. I think Jolene was just hanging out, doing her thing, thinking, I don’t know why that blonde woman over there keeps giving me the stink eye. Never mind. Because I, Jolene, I have other stuff to do).

8 comments:

juicyknits said...

I'm of the ignorant bunch who discovered Jolene just a few months ago. You have a nice list of songs there that you can already play. Maybe it is time to start doing that in public. ;-)

woolmix said...

'Don't Think Twice It's All Right' is not busked enough. Play it in the sequinned jacket; it would be magnificent.

Grateful4Crochet said...

I wish it were possible for you to wear the sequinned number, busk those songs and knit simultaneously!!!
That would be my favourite thing ever!!

Vivianne said...

You need to learn a lot more Country (and Western) to justify that top - which is deffo a classic :-D

J.G. said...

I am too dazzled to write a decent comment because I have imagined that top paired with those sequinned shorts you posted about a while back. Now THAT would be an outfit!

Susie said...

I may, or I may not, have cowboy boots to wear with that top. Also I had not thought of the hotpants to go with it. That is a very dangerous suggestion. I mustn't (must I?).

We can now add to my list, American Without Tears but I am not very good on the change from G to C.

dichotomyof said...

Please please please let us know when you plan your debut because I would travel. On buses and everything. Also 'red neck woooman' would go very well with that top...

Rachel said...

Go you! I am very impressed by your repertoire, but I was a little concerned that your outfit consisted of only a jacket, however fabulously sequined. It's OK now, though - J.G. has solved that problem.