Walking with Monty this morning I spotted a slumped form amid the rubbish left out for the bin men. I thought at first that it was a corpse, but then realised it was a broken case for a double bass.
I’ve always thought carrying around a double bass was an easy way to appear interesting. You assume that the double bass player has a rich and creatively rewarding life, spending his (or her) days working in an orchestra – generally in that supportive role, supplying the gravy in the orchestral meat pie, that dark, earthy, binding substrate without which the music has no substance, no bottom.
And you occasionally get to star, playing the double bass suite by Eduardo de Poncey, or Ballinsky’s concerto for double bass and zither.
And then in the evenings you don the polo neck and play in a jazz band. And no one minds that you’re on the tubby side – that’s expected from double bass players.
Who wouldn’t want that life?
Even better, who wouldn’t want other people to think you had that life? People would assume you to be sensitive, yet humorous. Manly, as well (if you were a man), from schlepping the beast around all day.
So, I thought briefly about taking the case home. I imagined myself travelling around with it. On the tube. On buses. Just walking down the street. The smiles of the other passengers. Admiring looks from beautiful women. And because the case would be empty, it would be relatively easy to carry, and wouldn’t aggravate my bad back.
But then the realities came home. Where would I store it? How could I explain it to Mrs McG? ‘Oh, it’s a very practical way to carry my laptop around…”
No, it was all just a pipe dream. Monty had a quick sniff and would have peed on the case if I hadn’t yanked him away.