August 1st, 2004

old maids biking to communion

On a long driver earlier this week something I had completely forgotten about popped into my mind. Cast your mind back to the riots of 1981, when I was 17. On a Saturday just after some riot(s) - I am guessing it was the July ones, rather than one of the April ones - for some reason the wind band I played the clarinet in (*) was playing at the summer fete in Old Amersham, just down the hill from Amersham On The Hill where I grew up. This was not really the sort of thing we usually did, mainly we just did concerts along with other music groups that had their rehearsals on Saturday mornings in the local college, but I guess someone knew someone (etc) and so we were there. Anyway, some mad woman who was things with the P.A. system kept going off on one, talking about how this was the real spirit of England, teenagers playing their musical instruments rather than rioting etc. One would have expected her to launch into 'there'll always be an England' or the George Orwell quote about 'old maids biking to communion', while we played our limited repertoire numerous times.
My fellow 2nd clarinet (*) was the only person apart from me who found this hilarious so we sat there giggling and making sotto voce comments. I have no idea how the others could have not found it vastly amusing.
Surprisingly, despite our bonding over this nutty woman's talking about good old-fashioned English values, I don't remember having a huge crush on her, I think I was slightly disappointed that she didn't turn up the next term, but nothing more than that really.

(*) as far as I can recall a 'wind band' is essentially an orchestra without strings.
(**) I was always a 2nd clarinet, probably related to my not being very good and not practicing very much
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