Time to face the music for amateur guitarist
Folks, guitarists and golfers have one thing in common, apart from blistered fingers.
When asked "are you any good”, they'll rarely admit they are, no matter how well they play. But I have met one exception.
I'd been called to help at a party because the guitarist hadn't shown up. While I was tuning my guitar and yodelling a few scales to warm up the vocal cords (which, as usual, started the neighbourhood dogs howling) some grinning hippy plopped down beside me.
I immediately picked him as a fellow "twanger” and asked, "are you any good”.
"I'm better than you,” he replied. Look, most people are, including all the people I've taught to play the guitar over the years.
Kindly people would describe my style as "campfire classic”. Basically, if you need someone to belt out a medley of tunes, in a workmanlike manner, around the bonfire when everyone is slightly tipsy, ready for a good time and knowing the right words isn't all that important, then I'm your man.
Still, my hackles bristled.
"How do you know you're better than me?” I asked. He held out his left hand, it looked like he'd had a leather glove sewn on to it. Prising the guitar from my hands he played a tune that stopped the crowd talking and the dogs wailing.
I've met players who were pretty good. I've heard a handful of great guitarists who made their instruments talk. This bloke could have got my battered guitar to walk down to the shops, buy a bottle of milk and come back with the correct change.
He was amazing.
Unfortunately, his other great gift was inhaling huge quantities of smoke from herbal cigarettes. This made him a tad unreliable when it came to things like turning up on time, attending the correct party or remembering his instrument.
In short, this was the musician my host had booked in the first place.
I may not be a great guitarist but, that night, I was better than the virtuoso lying asleep in the garden bed.