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Sunday, February 12

A Londres
It is my friend's birthday on 14th Feb. He suggested that I go out for a few drinks with him to celebrate, but on the 12th, instead of the 14th. One assumes that Valentine's day (or Chip and PIN day to give it its proper name) could be used by each of us for more female-related activity.

So, I took a train to London. I had a training course starting in London the following day, so this all seemed to fit together. I could go to my course from within London on its first day and get there with less to worry about. I could also spend some time with an old friend, with whom I'd not managed to spend time for ages. Such is the consequence of having a very busy life.

Bach to basics
My friend's flat, which had had an electric piano last time I sojourned there now had an additional baby grand piano. He was cleaning the flat when I arrived, so I set about playing his piano. The previous day, I'd finally unpacked my own stage piano (as used in The Musical!) but I'd not actually been able to have a play, as I had no means of connecting it to any speakers or headphones (I have all the kit I need in Newcastle, and will collect it soon). So, I was truly out of practice, not having played a keyboarded instrument in a couple of months.

Despite being out of practice, I soon established my usual piano-playing form. I'm naturally very bad at playing that instrument and soon filled the flat with my stuttered, occasionally toneless key-stabbing, punctuated by the occasional swear-word as I miss an important note or lose my train of thought.

As a bit of fun, we decided, the pair of us, to make a duet out of Bach's Prelude Number 1 in C major. Being in C major and also being his first prelude, this has the advantage of being one of the few pieces of music in the world that I could pretty much sight-read from the first time I saw it. I could never play it well, but that was fine. I took the lower register of the piano and played pub-piano (or Chas n Dave styled) chords while my friend took the upper register and played the piece pretty much as written. The result sounds like it owes a lot to the ragtime tradition and is truly silly.

We laughed heartily at our musical amusement.

I doubt we'll ever meet anyone who finds it as funny as we did.

On the town with the lads
After the playing had reached its unnatural climax, we headed over to Angel for some food. A very good evening's eating, drinking and chatting was accomplished. I got to bed many hours after returning to the flat, which was not entirely early already. The camomile tea may have rested me, or it may have kept me awake wondering what camomile is and why it smells of hay. More likely, I was kept awake by the two tunes I'd played on the piano earlier in the evening - not the Bach, but two tunes that I'd never really heard played. I'd only ever sung them to myself in my head and, unusually for me, both of them sounded, when played on a real instrument, pretty much exactly as I'd imagined them.

A good night was not followed by a good night's sleep. No matter. It was still a good night.

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