Yes, that is me, sat in a Waitrose car park with a bass guitar and amp in tow. Thankfully there isn’t a photo of me trying to carry said bass guitar, amp and handbag across the aforementioned car park whilst wearing five inch heels and trying to establish any form of centre of gravity.
Do I play bass guitar? No. Or at least not yet.
Then again, a month ago I’d never played a keyboard before and I’ve also managed to obtain one of them and learn a few tunes (from the same charity shop from whence the bass guitar came, no less, and at an even more bargains price).
So why on earth have I decided to play bass? Mostly because I saw someone on Twitter playing it and fell in love with the way they played and wanted to the same.
Now, I’m not entirely musically incompetent (my former music teachers might disagree).= I’ve taught myself – albeit badly – to play guitar and ukulele, and I had clarinet lessons for many years so technically, I know a thing or two about notes and chord progressions.
In fact, a few years ago, music was my favourite subject. I spent every single day writing songs and then forcing my mother to listen to those songs. Whilst I’d like to think I’m not too bad throwing some lyrics together, I sing like a cat whose larynx was damaged in some terrible accident. Nevertheless, my mother has been patient.
Then the exam years came and this constant anxiety that unless I’m being productive all of the time, I’m going to fail. I guess things just get the point where unless you’re exceedingly good at something, you can’t justify dedicating time and effort towards it.
Maybe this is just what adulthood is.
Anyway, whilst perched on the bench outside the local Waitrose, a woman came up to me. I would have said she was in her mid 30s, with long dark hair and a sense of style that immediately made me assume she was a librarian. Now, the majority of people walking by had been either giving me a raised eyebrow or even tried to joke about how girls couldn’t play bass – to my credit, I didn’t wack them over the head with the bass despite the urge to.
Nevertheless, the woman continued to approach me.
‘So… do you play bass then?’
‘No, but I’m hoping to learn’
‘Ah that’s really good. We need more girls playing guitars. What made you pick it up?’
‘I saw someone else do it and I thought I would have a go’
‘And yet they say girls don’t need role models, hey?’
And with that, she disappeared into the ether (read: Waitrose).
It sort of dawned on me at this point how often we feel we can’t do something, because it seems improbable that we’ll be successful or popular for it.
And so, dear readers (especially those of the not men kind), I do implore you to, where possible, take up the things you want to do. Do stuff – even if you don’t know how, or look daft doing it.
You never know who you’re going to be inspiring.