Mr B and I are off to a “Bandathon” in aid of Children in Need. Trumpets, trombones
and tubas galore. Music lifting the rafters of the Community Hall. I am looking forward to it. It will remind me of “Brassed Off” which remains one of my favourite films, even if it does make me cry. Well, let’s face it, it doesn’t
When we first arrive, it looks as if there isn’t an empty seat anywhere, let alone two. But not for nothing is Mr B known as “Eagle Eyes.”
Spotting an empty table right in the very middle of the hall, straight in front of the stage – the best seats in the house you might say – and he is off like a whippet, determination bristling in every fibre of his being. I trot in his wake, apologising
to everyone he has jostled in his effort to claim the empty table before anyone else gets there. “You can’t say I don’t look after you!” he boasts, proudly. I certainly can’t.
We order our lunch and sit in companionable silence. As in, silence between the two of us. There’s no way we could hear ourselves talk with the Chichester Silver Band (formed in 1896) in full flow on stage. In
between numbers, Mr B reminisces about the far-off days when he was a Silver Bugler. Not any common-or-garden bugler, you will note, but a Silver Bugler no less. He and his fellow Silver Buglers were very much in demand at Remembrance Day services in Hertford
and the surrounding towns and villages back in the late Fifties and early Sixties.
This has made him super critical of renditions of the Last Post or Reveille
which include so much as the tiniest of wrong notes. Many is the Service of Remembrance we have attended together where he has been all-too-visibly wincing at my side as some poor bugler gets his notes mixed up. Which wouldn’t be so bad but he
has requested that when he eventually pops his clogs, he wants a Silver Bugler to play the Last Post over his grave. Always assuming I am still around to grant his last wish, I have no idea how I would go about it. I mean, I couldn’t have just
anyone with a bugle (silver or not) turn up and play, could I? I can’t imagine I could just look up “Silver Bugler” in the Yellow Pages. I might even have to hold auditions to ensure that the chosen one would be note perfect.
Even then, things could go wrong. A discordant note and there would be anguished howls of protest emanating from the coffin. It hardly seems fair to land me with such
a request when all I’ve asked for is some good, rousing hymns like “How Great Thou Art” and “Onward Christian Soldiers.”
such morbid reflections. Up on the stage, the band is delivering a great selection of soaring numbers from One Moment in Time to Viva La Vida, finishing off with a selection of show biz tunes, including “Another openin’, another show” which,
if you read my last blog you will know we have been practising with our Singing for Pleasure choir. I listen carefully to their timing and can report that The Redoubtable Muriel would be pleased with them.
I wish I could play a musical instrument. If only I had persevered with my piano lessons at the age of eight and not gone home in tears when my piano teacher told me off for not lifting my wrists properly. She sent me
home with a letter for my mother which I decided to “lose” on the way home. Obviously I didn’t think through the consequences of this rash action which were that I couldn’t go back to piano lessons – ever. I couldn’t
risk my dreadful crime being discovered and had to pretend that I had lost all interest in learning to play the piano. It is called “cutting off your nose to spite your face” but, unfortunately for me and my musical future, I didn’t
know that, way back then.
School was no help, either. Only the boys were allowed to play the interesting instruments like the drums. I didn’t even
get to shake a tambourine but was stuck with the triangle which has to be the World’s Most Boring Instrument.
But, hey, let’s not strike a resentful
note, not on such a beautiful day, when the trumpets and trombones and tubas are sounding out in such a good cause. Let’s just stop for a while and listen to the bands play.