As I say, I don’t remember practising very much at that stage, but I must have done, at least a bit, because a few years later, at 13 or 14, I played guitar in the concert my form put on at school. I accompanied two friends who were performing a song as Big Jim Jessop and Fat Belly Jones, the hippie cowboy characters created by the Two Ronnies. Too shy to sing myself at that stage, I was happy just being the strummer – though I think I may have dared sing (or maybe shout) the last line (‘…And nor were her knees!’) to our self-penned comedic song, ‘Knock-Kneed Nell’.
Anyway, I shall always be grateful to my 15-year-old hippie neighbour for having had the patience to attempt to teach me C, F, G7 and Am, and yesterday I had the opportunity to pay her kindness forward in the most apt way I can think of – by teaching my neighbour’s nine-year-old granddaughter the chords she needs to play the song she wants to learn: ‘2002’ by Anne-Marie (neither song nor artist were known to me, so thank goodness she brought a CD with it on, and thank goodness, too, it turned out to be a rather straightforward 3-chorder!).
That little girl went away happy (according to her grandparents, she couldn’t stop smiling afterwards) and eager for her next lesson, and I went away happy too – at the memories teaching her brought back, and at the new-found confidence showing her a few chords has given me, so that if anyone else asks me if I teach guitar, I can now actually say, ‘Yes, I do, man!’