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Simon playing posh ivories

Posh ivories

Newsletter: November 2017

So, the new piano has arrived.

And not just any piano; but a digital semi-grand, which, as you know, has the touch and sound of a concert piano, but without the hammers and strings inside.

I can’t see a piano being moved without thinking of the Laurel and Hardy sequence as they struggle to get a piano up a lot of stairs.

Or indeed the wonderful PG Tips ad from the 1970’s…

The thing is, a piano is not a flute or a violin, both of which can enter a home easily and without fuss. If you like your doors and windows as they are, take up the piccolo.

A piano, however, unlike the cat burglar, is not designed for discreet entry. In the old days, piano movers often came with a small crane (to lift the instrument over the wall) and brickies, roofers and carpenters, to make good the wall/roof or door frame which had to be removed.

As you can see in the picture, our new piano is black, the most popular colour apparently. You can get white pianos, but the shop advisor did mention that they tend to go pink in the sun. I also imagine you have to dress up like Liberace to play them, which isn’t really my thing. If there is glitter and sparkle in me, it’s well repressed.

According to the delivery men, white pianos are generally bought for teenage girls, who like the idea of a white piano in their bedroom. Until they become Goths, I suppose…

I’ve never before had a keyboard which is also a piece of furniture. They have always been working keyboards – full of happiness, but aesthetically, designed for a cramped student pad, with stained coffee cups and old pot noodle cartons for company.

But Rolly – named after his maker, Roland – is a piece of furniture, lacquered black finish, who demands to be looked at, regardless of any sound he may produce. But he does do sound as well. It’s like swapping my very decent Skoda for a Bentley. I sit slightly fearful of the power at my finger tips…

I’m not a believer in striving; not a fan of self-punishing, life-denying goal-setting, forever restless with what is. But I am drawn by the beauty and power of this instrument to play better. It feels less like striving… and more like joining in with the magnificence.

And perhaps this is also a way of health in the spiritual life…

If you wish to hear recordings of some of my songs, (made a while back, before I met Rolly) you can find them here.

In the meantime, I’ve joined up with my brother Andy and my website mogul Simon Jenkins to produce an Advent calendar, which will feature daily on my site from December 1st. I hope you enjoy it, despite the absence of chocolates.

And as you think about Christmas presents – What do you mean, ‘They’re all sorted!’? – is there anything here in my library of books that could be festively wrapped? Or a present to yourself?

To survive as an author, I do need to sell more. But then, yes, there’s a season for everything, and who knows? Perhaps the season for writing is passing…

But here’s the library anyway… browse at will.

For now, though, as the days shorten, may the music of your life be a tune you can hum with joy.

With very best wishes

Simon x

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