They gasped when I sat down to play the piano, but then I started to play!
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It was one of those evenings where the mood of the party wasn’t really going anywhere. I stood in the middle of the room like I had been installed as an island to steer traffic, and casually picked ‘amuse bouche’ from the platters of any waiter who came within arm’s reach.
The host of the party saw I was disproving that ‘no man is an island’ and sauntered over to say hullo.
The host of the party we had been invited to was really proud of his piano, and made the fact clear in his opening gambit. I asked our host if he played,
“Oh not at all!”
I was quite surprised by his answer. In the corner of his enormous living room this beautiful instrument stood apparently as nothing more than an expensive method of holding down the deep pile shag. If our host didn’t have a fondness for tinkling the ivories, maybe he had bought the piano for a family member who could play.
“Oh not at all!”
Well what a curious waste of something so enchanting! I pondered why someone would invest so much money on such a large musical instrument if nobody played it. Perhaps if nobody in the household could play the piano just now, perhaps one of the household was intending to learn?
Our host seemed like a generous type of person, he had invited us to this lavish party after all! The wine that was flowing freely was exceptional. The caterers who were gliding in and out of the room carried silver salvers with some of the fanciest, and most fantastic tasting ‘hors d’oeuvre’ I’ve ever tucked away betwixt tongue and teeth. So maybe this piano was bought because either spawn or spouse was planning to get lessons?
“Oh not at all!”
I swigged at the glass of Chateau Latour, Pauillac I lifted from the tray of a passing sommelier and pondered the conundrum. Why on earth would someone have an enormous piano on display in their house if nobody ever played it?
Our host was excitedly waving his pinky finger at someone at the other end of the cavernous room, while slugging back his glass of Chateau Latour. He startled me out of my ponderings with a ‘Pip Pip’ that was clearly aimed to attract the attention of someone other than myself. I realised I was losing his attention so thought I’d risk a social faux-pas and quite abruptly asked why he had bought a piano.
The exchange went very much like this,
“I’m curious, why did you buy the piano?”
“Because it was terribly rare and cost a moderate fortune!”
“But nobody has played it since you bought it?”
“Oh not at all!”
I mentioned a few lines previously that our host appeared to be losing interest in my company. But now that I had given him an opportunity to engage on the topic of his ostentatious opulence he gave me his full attention. In fact he took the opportunity to ask me a question,
“So… do you play?”
Rather than answer the question with words, I decided to react in a rather stronger fashion. With action!
I drained my glass and placed it on the tray of a waiter who had drifted to within my reach. I tapped the bridge of my nose, winked at our host, cracked my knuckles and walked off purposefully in the direction of his prize piano.
Behind me I heard the host of the party issue a hearty ‘WHAT-OH’. The packed room fell silent and he redirected the attention of every guest in the vicinity to the spectacle of me seating myself at the piano.
I gently opened the lid of the piano and gave myself a moment to centre my mind, and to focus on the beautifully crafted black and white keys that lay before me.
“Can he really play?” I heard an expectant voice ask our host.
“You just watch him!” our host replied with more than a ‘soupcon’ of excitement in his voice.
As the silence in the room became tense with expectation I gently caressed the ivories with the tips of my fingers. Taking a moment to savour the anticipation of being set loose on such an immaculate instrument.
And then I started to play.
Gasps filled the room. The hushed whispers that swirled amount the guests died on their lips, as if by magic. The reaction of the assembly was breathless.
I played that piano like nobody had ever played it before. Mostly with my elbows and forehead. I made it perfectly clear to everyone in the room that no, I cannot play the piano. Not at all.
After a disappointingly short few minutes I was given the chance to seek opportunities elsewhere, with haste, forcibly, by four members of our host’s security team.
I will never again see that room or drink that fine wine. Never again will my bouche be amused by those ‘hors d’oeuvre’.
But I didn’t care. I had spent the afternoon before the party fitting a Ti Cat Anodised Titanium Stem Cap Bolt to my bike, and I had a bike ride to look forward to.
Last Updated on March 11, 2023
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