As a child I was always awestruck

by the sound of guitars

be it intricate fingerpicking, loud screaming guitar solos

or trusty strumming patterns I’d hear from buskers

in the subways or on the streets of my hometown

so, in a primary school music lesson one day

when the teacher was asking us what instruments we’d like to learn

I knew exactly what I wanted, and it had six strings attached to it

when it came to the handing over of chosen instruments

The teacher offered them to us in alphabetical order

Surname, alphabetical order and I was near last on the list

I recall myself getting panicky at the amount of guitars

Those other kids had claimed

lo and behold when it came to my name

there were none available

they offered me a clarinet as a second prize

a flute as a third

then finally something with four strings that dwarfed me

A cello.


I took the cello because it had strings.


It wasn’t a labour of love for me

from day one

it was a chore

I loathed every practice session

and I applied myself grudgingly

the cello was huge

it had a flimsy tan leather carry case

with a dodgy handle that was always threatening to break.


They attempted to teach me to read sheet music

but my heart wasn’t in it

it wasn’t a guitar it was a beast

a cumbersome awkward beast

a beast that didn’t play rock songs

a beast that I had to lug around like a deadweight

it was the threat of having to walk it to school

every day when I was moving up from primary to secondary

that finally made a bed for my cello to lie in

I’ve never forgiven those bow-wielding music lessons

for my clumsy guitar skills either

I’ll curse them to the grave.

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