Wednesday, 16 February 2011


I heard someone say seventy-six a number of times in quick succession today. It was during a phone conversation they were having: I'm not sure what the seventy-six in question referred to.

It suddenly reminded me of the first band that I was in, though. The personnel consisted of me, my brother, and my grandad. Armed with a motley selection of antique instruments - a slightly battered trombone, a banjo with more than one of its strings missing, a wooden flute - we would sit at the top of my grandparents' stairs at a certain point on Saturday afternoons and perform our own, erm, idiosyncratic version of Seventy-Six Trombones.

We were great. Or at least I thought so at the time - I used to be giddy with enjoyment and excitement at the prospect of our "performances", like it was the highlight of my week. My grandad would conduct and play along, no doubt enjoying the sheer silliness of it, and perhaps stifling giggles at what a tuneless racket we were making.

Nonetheless, I still remember the melody, but that's probably from my grandad's singing.

I can only assume we chose the top of the stairs so that we were suitably elevated to enable the audience (otherwise known as my grandma) to view us without impediment. I never thought about this at the time though: for me it just went without saying that us musicians would sit at the top of the stairs.


Sophia said...

Aww....that made me smile. =) Hee. My fam and I used to have a "family band" when I was a young girl as well. Of course it didn't last terribly long with all of the "drama". =/

Either or...loved your memory of 76 trombones that made me smile. =)

Zhoen said...

Music self played is happiness self made.

That was the song that came to mind at your title.

Fire Byrd said...

A lovely post of a precious recollection, regardless of how bad the musicians were!
Just made me smile, thank you for sharing.

trousers said...

I'm assuming, Sophia, that your family band was relatively musical? I'd be surprised if it was less musical than our own efforts :)

Zhoen, I think that's something I could never disagree with, regardless of the quality of the results. I remember that you have a soft spot for TMBG too.

Thanks FB, this is a treasured memory, and I'm glad that it made you smile too :) xx

Carol said...

I loved this post! I used to sing and perform dances when I stayed with my grandparents....the poor souls :-)

Thank you for sharing that wonderful memory which in turn sparked mine. I just know that I shall be smiling now for the rest of the evening!

C x

trousers said...

Thank you in turn, Carol - you've cheered me up with your comment, not an easy feat after a frustrating end to a bewildering and difficult week.

Anna MR said...

Hei housut, how are you doing?

This, before I blab on endlessly about other stuff, was a very lovely post, by the way, as many have already had the good sense to tell you. I really, really enjoy reading things such as this - the small, incidental pleasures and beauties of the lives of real people: funny, poignant, tear-inducing. And you have the knack of showing not telling, which makes gems of the large-as-life little anecdotes. Thank you.

So, back to how you are doing. How are you doing? I've sort of understood that the answer, unfortunately, is "stressedly". Am I right? And what's been going on, poor young housu-poos (sorry, this is said with plenty compassion and no puns or silliness intended, honest)? I was trying to comb through your posts here to find out, but it doesn't really seem like you've pinpointed it lately. I'm guessing it's work-related, anyhoo, no? Obviously, you might not want to discuss it in detail, in which case I'm not to be read as prodding and poking where none is wanted, please. But thinking (as I am) about your line of work - it is stressful enough by definition (although I imagine there are internal rewards of a satisfying kind. Okay, I *hope* there are?), and when combined to that the structural issues - finances and cutbacks and blah and w*nk - are what they are, well, I'm not surprised that it would induce fairly desperate stress (and other) reactions in thinking and feeling individuals.

Obviously, this is me just at the guesswork of what's going on. If it's totally out of whack, please put it in a cupboard and take out as and when and indeed if it would ever come in handy.

As it is, do please have a bloggy huggy from me. Hope there's sunshine and a feeling of light approaching in your day today.


trousers said...

Thank you, MsMR, and what a lovely thing it is to see you round these parts: very lovely.

You're right in thinking that I'm unwilling to go into any but the most cursory detail about what's been happening - and as much as anything, that's because of the very clear and present danger of breaking confidentiality. So I've mainly concentrated on talking about its effects - unsettling, tiring, and so on and so forth.

But yes, the most of it is indeed about work. I don't mind you poking and prodding about this, not at all (I welcome the inquiry, infact), and I can understand those kind of questions being asked, because of the vagueness with which I'm referring to what has at times been some horrendously intense stuff - in terms of individuals and some of the horrendous things they've been through, and in terms of organisational/structural instability, upheaval and crises.

I face two problems in talking about it: firstly, the ever-present need to maintain confidentiality; secondly, and not least in recent weeks, The many overlapping/conflicting situations have been so complicated and confusing that I would struggle to give any kind of adequate summary, less one that would actually leave the reader any the wiser. A lot of it I find hard to follow myself.

There *are* the rewards though - and there are some very tangible and nourishing aspects of work (such as being able to facilitate creative endeavours), for one thing) which have ensured that I've stayed put despite so much of the rather intense, ever-humming background noise which has prevailed in the last few months.

Anyway, your guesswork is fine, and substantively in the right kind of territory at least: I wish I could enlighten you more with some clarity, but you'll understand why I don't feel able to on these pages. Such would have to take place in a far more private context.

But know that I'm delighted to hear from you, and that hugs and the very best of wishes are duly and fully reciprocated. My thanks to you for such reminders of sunshine and light, Ms MR. x