Making Music…

I have not posted anything here for a month. Just as I was getting my creative writing juices going I got distracted.

I decided to go to a nearby drop in centre that promotes positive mental health. When I say local it is a 30 mile round trip there and back for me.

With a bit of trepidation I ventured off, armed with the name and address of the place where I was told I might find some like minded souls. People who would understand what it feels like to be depressed now and then, and won’t judge you for it.  I was a bit uncertain as I have been to some of these types of places before, and the one thing that I did not want to be was surrounded by people in the throws of dark and deep depression, now that I have started to come out of it. That was more likely to just drag me down again.

So anyway, I found the alley way leading to the centre, and was greeted by a couple of lads smoking outside the door. Not letting my non smoking self be put off by the blue haze I had to walk through I cheerily asked if this was the right place, and was assured it was. They told me the name of the person I should speak to in the main room who would show me around and make me feel at home.

So in I went. Half expecting to find a room full of people staring into space in a chemically induced state of calm and nothingness.

How wrong was I?

I was greeted by a charming young man who was one of the volunteers, and offered a free cup of tea. Then a nice friendly chat ensued about the kind of things they get up too. Some of these things were not really to my liking. I have no desire to go on a tenpin bowling trip or a barge trip down the local canal, but if that is the kind of thing that suits you, well they offer group activities which, pardon the pun, may well float your boat!

A little while later, a rather loud and jovial character entered the room. He introduced himself ( no names here to protect the innocent). Lets just say he comes from Stoke, so is a Stokey Bloke, with the accent to match.  It turns out that he is one of the volunteers who helps out, and he was offering free guitar lessons. Slide Guitar to be exact.

Well I told him I used to play guitar a little in my younger days, but had not picked up a guitar in years, except for a couple of attempts under the influence of too much wine. I had forgotten almost everything I had learnt. My guitar was possibly up in the loft at my parents house where it had been gathering dust for the last 20 years or so.

So as he was doing a class that day, he invited me to sit in and see if it was something I would like to have a go at. So I did…..

So now, almost a month later I am the proud owner of two guitars! My Dad ventured up into the loft and dug out my old Spanish guitar, but that was no good for playing slide guitar on as you need steel strings. So I went to grovel with a friend of mine where I live and appeal to his generous side as I knew he had a guitar and maybe he would let me borrow it? To my surprise he said no, you can’t borrow that one, but I have another one you can keep!

It needed a bit of work, new strings and new machine heads. I took it to the local music shop, they did a partial repair on it, but then I bust a string trying to tune it. So another of my local buddies who is a mean guitar player stepped it and changed all the machine heads and fixed it up for me.

It’s amazing the generosity of people in the community I live in. At times they can be a real generous bunch!

So a month on, I can play a bit of blues style slide guitar. I think I have about 4 tunes that I can do bit of. Not got as far as playing a whole tune and singing along at the same time. (Singing lessons might be needed next). I have very sore fingers and even doing a bit of crochet has been a struggle as my finger were so sore. Typing this would have been impossible a couple of weeks ago!

But I have worked through the pain of sore fingers, and my neighbours are getting used to the sound of slightly twangy blues music coming from my house. It has opened me up to rediscovering my love of music, and I have started using a well known music streaming platform again and I am discovering stuff that I have never heard before. There are lots of resources on the internet know for learning guitar and finding music sheets to follow, it’s amazing. There was nothing like that when I was a kid.

So I now have a long list of songs I want to learn….top of my list for this week is “Little Red Rooster”.

The local pub is awaiting my first gig!

I have made some really lovely new friends, and I feel like living life again, rather than just existing!

So there is the moral of this story. I wish I had know about this place when I was in the real depths of depression because it has given me hope that I won’t go back to that dark place again.

Not unless I am playing a real Blues song about how my black dog left me all alone!