So, I got myself a new guitar strap. About time, really, the old one must have perished in the case as my guitar sat unplayed and neglected in the spare bedroom, waiting to be picked up and strummed, maybe even serenaded.
When I took up the guitar as a teenager, I couldn’t afford a real instrument, I needed to save up my pocket money and the cash from my Saturday job at the corner shop to buy one.
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a fret board, when I’ve made up my mind, that’s it, I need to get on with it, and smartish. So I summoned all my creativity and initiative and made a cardoard fretboard, sellotaping six lengths of cotton to it so I could practice the chord shapes, I had to make the sound myself, I’m not sure how in tune that was.
I bought my guitar from Dewsbury’s only music shop, paying £2 a week, which was recorded on a little pink card. The guitar waited 20 weeks for me, I had a peek of it each time I went, it was still in the window with a little ‘sold’ sticker. Personally I’d have liked them to say ‘keep off, it’s Anne’s, she’s worked hard for this!’
The day I took it home, on the bus, in its box (a case for it was extra and I wasn’t about to start another pink card for that), was a day of supreme happiness. I’m not sure the neighbours agreed, especially when I started singing along with my strumming. I didn’t care, I had a guitar and I could make tunes, some of them were even recognisable.
With my friends Julie, Frank and Andrew we started a band, it was a very clean-living band, a bit like the Osmonds but without the teeth and the talent. We played in our local church and went on tour, getting as far as Dewsbury where we won the Methodist Circuit’s version of The X Factor with a rather catchy version of the Van der Valk theme Eye Level. It’s not worn well.
There were no artistic differences, but we split up when we all left home for careers and university. I pursued a solo career, even winning the same Methodist X Factor with a wacky version of Killing Me Softly, it was the pinnacle of my singing career, I knew I could reach no higher, so changed direction, choosing to write words rather than singing them, it had more prospects, showbusiness is a cut-throat world, unlike the media…
Over all the years, I’ve kept that guitar, though for various reasons, some of them a little too serious for a light-hearted blog, I’ve not played it. Then the choir I’m in, which usually sings a capella, had a number which needed a guitar and I found myself blurting out that I’d bring mine. What was I thinking? It needed re-stringing, my fingers would be cut to ribbons, I’d never be able to tune it, plus, it didn’t have a strap. Excuses, excuses. Just get on with it, Noel said. So I did, and it feels good, very good indeed, apart from the numb fingertips. There won’t be any come-back concerts, but my guitar and I are back together again. Fortunately for the neighbours, our walls are very thick!