I was an odd-looking 17-year old. A thin strip of a lad. A skinny wretch with a guitar. A guitar I could play amazingly well!

Ok, I was pretty dire. Still, being 17 I believed in myself enough to talk to the real musicians at college and count myself as one of them. There was no initiation, so outsiders like me could forge a few uneasy friendships and count ourselves as part of the popular populace.

I was walking into college a bit earlier than needed one particular day, and decided to put my guitar into the instrument storage, ready for the day’s hard study. The sun was shining, the air smelt like warm root beer. Hannibal from the A-team was smiling at me from inside the back of my planner.

I bump into a good friend, the ridiculously talented Dan. There we are, two ridiculously talented Dans in the fabled Muso Corridor. Following him were the entire A-level Music class.

“Hey Dan, what’s up?”

He looks uneasy.

“Alright Dan. We’re going out to the gardens for a class photo with our instruments. Ohhh! Dan! You should literally sneak into the photo!”

Dan is a genius.

Our friendship had started to get a little easier lately. He comes out with some amazing ideas, even if he does say literally at inappropriate times. I walk with Dan as the class collect their instruments from storage. I put my guitar down and pick it up again. Sly. I’ve often been acknowledged as being particularly smooth, like a Greek yoghurt.

The music class and I march outside in unison as only classical musicians can. A thought stumbles into my mind like a child bursting into a room and accidentally human-bowling-ball-ing a set of skittles. If I don’t fall into line with this Roman legion-like ramble I’ll be spotted by Chris.

Chris. The Music Teacher. The man with PhDs in spotting subtle inaccuracies in great symphonies. The man who has spent two years getting to know his bright starlets.

This prank is about to go so, so wrong.

The class lines up, and I subtly (as subtly as a 6 foot 6 guy can) sneak into the side of the picture; my cheapy tesco’s-own electric guitar looking resplendent alongside trombones, cornets, oboes, French horns and violas (violae?). The photographer, hired especially for the occasion, begins to arrange his masterpiece. This guy is as much a slave to creativity as the gang of musical prodigies standing like a football squad photo before him. This is a moment of beauty. This is the apex of this man’s existence, and he’s making the most of it.

“Could we have the electric guitarist lying across the front of the class posing doing a solo?”

What???

“Just here mate. Thanks.”

Eep.

I sheepishly oblige and try to ignore the sharp and annoyed looks of 15 classical musicians who fortunately for me couldn’t complain without being conducted and one big smirk from the only musician jazzy enough to be natural. I sprawl across the floor, clad in my leather jacket and bright white trainers, doing what I do best, soaking up the attention.

The attention of Chris. Chris is staring straight at me!!

I am a giant purple elephant whose mobile is ringing in an exam.

There is no escape. I’m definitely gonna be in detention. Do they give detentions in college? Maybe they’ll just cut to the chase and kill me. Literally.

Chris opens his mouth.

He yawns.

I yawn.

He shuts his mouth.

The camera clicks and flashes. Chris orders the class back to the classroom. I sneak away unscathed.

————————————————————————————————————————

A few weeks have passed and my phone buzzes. It’s my girlfriend. She has found the photo, and I take up the whole picture. You can see a few tiny, deserving smiles in the nooks and crannies surrounding my guitar and my I’m-doing-a-sweet-sweet-solo face. The picture later appears in the college prospectus as well as plastered all over the music room walls.

Hey everyone! Come and see how sly I am!

“You think you’re sly don’t you Dan?”

Rumbled.

“Like a Greek yoghurt?”

She smiles warmly.

“A reduced Greek yoghurt.”

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