Sunday, 20 September 2009

Strum strum strum

Finally, after 6 months and 5 days here, I have a guitar! I didn't bring mine with me due to luggage constraints and the fact that I don't have 12 hands!

For the first few months I didn't miss it so much. I had plenty of other things to do, plus I went back to the UK twice and could play mine while I was there.

But my week at Pueblo Ingl├ęs was a reminder. Unlike Vaughan Town, there is a guitar at each venue with PI so I got to play. Not as much as I wish I had the nerve to, and probably should have. But in a couple of group activities, quietly in the bar area a couple of times, and then outside on the last morning. And I realised how much I missed it. Not so much the performing, because unlike singing, I haven't really played the guitar in public all that much. Just simply having it there, in reach, to play around with when I'm bored or can't sleep or feeling a bit down.

I have to admit to there being another incentive. A certain rather lovely guy who I met on the program (yes, the one mentioned in a previous blog) picked up the guitar when I put it down on the last day, said he really wanted to learn so I taught him a couple of chords. He's clearly musical so picked it up easily. On his return home, an infuriating 6000 miles away, he bought himself a (very nice) guitar! Which just made me want one more.

So I trawled through strange Spanish eBay, and a couple of second hand websites til I found some. I struck lucky with my 3rd attempt. A 2-year old, good condition, Spanish classical, nylon strung guitar could be mine for the princely sum of €40. All I had to do was meet a complete stranger at an out of the way Metro station. "Just look for the guy carrying the guitar", he said. Well, to be fair, that's exactly what I did.

I gave the guitar a test run, sitting on a bench in the street while I chatted to Mark, the seller, a Brit who's been living in Spain for 2 years variously as an English teacher, a guitarist and a music teacher. He plays amazing flamenco guitar and gave me a little demo, which made my embarrassing little test play even more mortifying.

We ended up chatting for over an hour about all sorts of stuff. That's what I like about this country. In the UK, if I'd bought a guitar of a guy on the internet, I'd have gone to his house, checked it was in one piece, handed over the money and that would have been that. People here have the time and the inclination to chat, are interested in your story and happy to tell their own. He has since sent me info about good guitar shops in Madrid, how not to get ripped off should I decide to take flamenco guitar lessons, and I've sent him info about the whale and dolphin watching company I holidayed with once, and about a garlic restaurant in San Francisco. Weird and wonderful.

So anyway, I'm the proud new owner of a lovely guitar! Now I should really practice more......


  1. but you didnt mention the busking on the metro! Great story and I look forward to hearing you strum! Is it too late in the year for a picnic?

  2. That was going to be for another blog, yet to be written cos I got distracted!

    Never too late for a picnic, no!