Friday 2 November 2012

Not On Rex Manning Day!

G. D. Em. C.
D. C. D. C.
G. D. Em. C.
            Mme Roux wants to know what I’m doing. Or rather she wants to know what I’m doing with a guitar. Or more to the point – why is there a tune coming out of it?
It’s often irritated me that I can’t play an instrument. And by play I mean get a tune just mentioned. However badly. Not just thrash away at G, and E, and a chord I made up that’s a bit like a G. I write, a lot. I draw, for fun. I can’t play an instrument. That’s somehow wrong. Less so than when I was a young man when just as people assumed my beloved Q was a vegetarian (she never was, she and I were about the only ones who weren’t – and proudly so) people sort of assumed I could play something.
I’ve had a guitar and a bass for twenty years now. And only in the last few weeks have I done anything with them. Other than G, and E, and a chord I made up that’s a bit like a G. I like to take an evening class each year. I like the break from pace, I like the long walk home in the dark. And this year it’s music, or more particularly guitar. We’re a very mixed bag of ability but the teacher is very good. It’s very laid back. And it’s nice to be beyond Happy Birthday plucked out interminably, and whilst Don’t Stop Believing sounds nice, and Whisky In The Jar means I can go busking whilst pissed at 8am I today made a bit of a breakthrough.
The breakthrough came because having a song in my head, I looked up the chords. That’s them above. For Sugar High from Empire Records.
“Which is a teen-movie,” says Mme Roux, and she should know since she watches John Hughes movies in order to shout at Mollie Ringwold. Once she shouted back.
She’s right. It is, but the best of the lot. Everything else being not very good at all, and yes Kevin Smith I don’t care how much tits and arse was in your last film, that was a bloody teen movie too. But Empire Records is so much better and even grumpy old me when it comes to such things am always cheered when I infrequently catch it.
So, G. D. Em. C.
D. C. D. C.
G. D. Em. C.
And those’re probably wrong. But they sound about right, even on Rex Manning Day.
So damn the man, save Empire Records.
And G. D. Em. C.
D. C. D. C.
G. D. Em. C.
Sugar high!


  1. I started learning to play the 'cello at 11yrs old. Previously we had a piano in the house but no one ever thought to send me to lessons - well, probably couldn't afford them. I used to pick out tunes one finger style.
    But I passed my 11plus and went to Bilston Girls High school and musical instruments were on offer so I took 'cello. At 11 they don't start the ancient joke about the woman and the irate conductor, that came at 14.
    I remember bringing it home for the christmas holidays to practice. Dam near as big as me and I had to catch two buses to get home. The second one the bloody conductor made me go upstairs with it as he said there was no room downstairs. Upstairs on a moving bus on a near spiral staircase.
    I carried on when I got to Fishguard but I never practised enough, I was never encouraged by my family and I thought I was useless because I couldn't play anything easily. I gave up at 16. I decided about three years ago I wanted to take it up again and as soon as I find one cheap enough that I can give myself an excuse to buy it I will.New World symphony by Dvorjak here I come.

  2. Never could get the hang of them myself. Was demoted at school, first from the recorder to the triangle, then taken off the triangle (damn thing wouldn't stay still) to the tambourine. I was given a red ukulele for Christmas a couple of years back - but alas the songbook that came with it was written in the 1930s. 'To tune, whistle a few bars of 'My Country, O My Country.'
    Should I ever learn I will add 'Say No More, Mon Amour' to my repertoire.
    You're right it's a strangely uplifting film.

  3. I spent a few quid on a little tuner, it was only a tenner or so. Once I'd taken off the ancient, rusty strings for new ones and had the tutor tune it up, it's only been a few seconds each day to tighten things up once again. It's all very well being taught how to do it without my little magic box, but I just use the little magic box.

    D and A, those're the awkward chords.

    It is a great film. You just have to ignore the fact that to save Empire Records they have to sell all the stock in order to pay the owner, with the funds raised on his own stock, for a business whose worth then is the sum of its own stock. An amount that is also about the same as the single days takings lost at the start. But that's why it's a teen movie. Mind you if it wasn't for cold, uninteresting Liv Tyler it would probably not be a teen movie at all as the other characters are early-twenty-somethings.