On the way home from Brighton I stopped in Crowborough. My godson is there, and his creators.
I’ve only met Dan once, in December. He doesn’t like theatre and he hates London, but he liked Christmas Carol in London last December, God bless him. That’s the only time we ever met until today. After our lovely crazy Christmas show.
I love that we invite the audience to a party afterwards when we can. Every year around this time I want to get better at the accordion in time for December. Better accordion equals better party. But yeah, occasionally somebody ends up with their number on my phone. Like Dan.
Dan told me he had an accordion in his garage, getting gradually more and more fucked. He offered to pass it over to my custody. I told him I am in Crowborough from time to time with my godson. I knew the instrument would be past saving so didn’t prioritise it. But today I picked it up as it was very much en-route.
It’s beautiful but yep – totally fucked. It’s not pre-war – not one of those impossibly heavy unsalvageable mother of pearl beauties that occasionally get priced up for £250 in a charity shop and sit there for years because everybody that knows won’t touch it and it’s too much for everybody that doesn’t.
This accordion is for kids. It’s massively simplified in form, but it was once a lovely gift for a musical child. It’s a thing that was once fine. I like run down things that were once fine. We tend to understand one another.
It’s ruined by damp and crumbling now but mounted on a wall it’ll be decorative and that’s a better home than landfill. It was a learning instrument for Dan’s uncle, Nicholas Baldock, an early string music enthusiast and one of a few people who made it possible to string your inherited ancient lyre with gut instead of nylon – surely essential for the discerning ancient music expert. But his children’s accordion got dumped in favour of strings.
It has mostly lived in a garage. Still, if I don’t put it on a wall, I’ll bring it to mister Allodi in Lewisham as a curious gift. Or I’ll take it apart and use it to learn how better to fix my own instruments in future.
Good to be back in London, but it was so helpful to go to the sea. I’ve got the river near me in Chelsea, but just to lie and put my feet in the big water… Healing.