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Saturday, 16 July 2016

An evening more of a sum than its parts.

The Saxophonist puts down the phone. I've heard half the conversation of course and know he has agreed to play at a beer festival at a country pub.

He's agreed to put a crack band together from players he rates.Just for the night.
He's forgotten its the same night his brother has invited himself over.

"Ah" he says."You'd like to go,wouldn't you?" He knows I like a good gig.
I agree to be diplomatic with brother in law.Which means telling him a pack of lies.He is the sort of man who would find Mother Teresa a bit degenerate.These are necessary fibs.
A good early dinner has been cooked(by me) and clearly appreciated by brother in law.
I say casually what a lovely evening it would be to go to an oak beamed pub in the depths of the countryside.

Brother in law likes beer very much.He can tell you how many vitamins there is in a pint of real ale and how important it is to keep up your fluid intake in hot weather.

The landlord ushers us through the pub and out into a huge marquee.Real ales racked up at one end.A rudimentary stage at the other.Little tables and chairs scattered down the sides.A huge space in the middle where people may or may not dance.
The saxophonist greets the players with enthusiasm,they are enthusiastic back.Brother in law is not noticeably enthusiastic.In fact he actually shudders at some of the more outre gentlemen in the lineup.(He'd shudder a lot more if he knew some of the stories).
The band sets up and brother in law makes the best of a bad job and goes to look at the real ales.He orders four pints.One a piece and one he swallows in one before he brings the tray to the table I have chosen.

And so we begin.
Music. Jazz and jazz vibed. Some raucous and some melancholy. It starts to rain. It pours as brother in law pours two pints down his throat every time he goes to the bar.
The night moves on and some of the pub regulars have drifted indoors.Other people have had a small orange squash,felt they have been daring to come at all and gone home.Everybody else remains.In fact some more people arrive! The proposed dance floor now splashes when you walk across it to the bar.Which we do rather a lot.

Its late now and people have mellowed.In fact a couple of people have got so mellow they have fallen off their chairs. But we are all inhabiting the music as much as is what is in our glasses.

Suddenly the saxophonist shouts a roar and says something to the band we cannot hear.I grin at brother in law and say "it just got serious".
The saxophonist tightens his reed and pitches it high.The band to a man shout something and as one they kick back and play for all they are worth.

Four or five tables of people stand without discussion and walk to the mud that was once a dance floor.
A woman hair stacked high in a wettish party dress laughs out loud at the spectacle.
Might have been me.
The crowd surge and strut,twist and thrust and get happy.
The woman takes a swig,kicks off her heels and joins the throng.Her brother in law grabs her hand and they jive in the mud.
The saxophonist solo's again.He swoops like a swallow,he chuggs like a train and then he hits something.
The crowd knows what that is and so do you.

Its that sequence of notes that you never want to stop,that can never be reproduced exactly again.
It makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time.Male or female,old or young.It speaks of something you yearn for,can never have and cannot precisely define.Its the point where you no longer understand except at the most profound level.
Its about happiness and living forever
The musicians and muddy dancers making something memorable and beautiful.
Something that will,in recollection,warm them on a bleak day.


  1. Your vivid descriptions ignite the scene and makes it come alive. The music, the beer, the mud.....I felt like I was there. And I now need to sober up and wash off all the mud.

    Wonderful post!

  2. Thank you for letting those of us who weren't there know how good music, beer, dancing and happiness on a rainy night meshed into individual memories of a time enjoyed together. A true festival!

  3. A post of togetherness. A sequence of words and notes.