Surprising Musical Interludes

Last weekend we went on a little trip and, among other pleasant experiences, paid a visit to the church where my daughter is  getting married next year. I was introduced to the Vicarene and had a good chance to look round the outside of the building before the service began. Very nice. So far so good.

Unlike many countries, in the UK, on a normal Sunday, churches are largely empty, and this was no exception. We eased through the service and everything progressed as you would expect. The vicarene had a lovely voice, and so did some of the congregation,  I rumbled and murmured through the hymns, and leant over occasionally to hear my good lady chiming in bravely though the tunes were unknown to us. My daughter’s future mother in law informed us later that the vicarene delighted in choosing obscure hymns. No problem with that. There must be thousands of the poor chaps who are largely ignored and welcome the chance of the airing which this generous lady affords them.

At last the service was over and it was time to depart and, oh hang on a minute. No one is moving and the vicarene is just standing there . The organist bursts into life. Somewhere between an epileptic fit and thunder-storm, with the odd squeaky note sounding like the throttled cry of an electric seagull. Future mother in law starts swaying  and making strenuous efforts not to laugh. My daughter, a chip off the old block, mutters “Oh really”, but by now the organist seems to be placing his elbows at random places on the keyboard producing a range of notes and discords  I thought possibly formed some part of  a research project for creating nuclear warning sirens. I am beaming broadly. Any sign of homely madness is reassuring to yours truly. My partner is exhibiting admirable self-control, but her eyes show she is clearly puzzled. It reminds me of that now famous piece, “Medley on random notes by Sergio Cacophony. A master of the unexpected. Finally, when I thought all hope was lost, silence returns and the vicarene turns and heads down the aisle.

As we turn ourselves, and prepare to leave, she is already at the organ congratulating the musician on his new masterpiece. apparently specially composed for the service. The normal organist is away and this plucky reserve musician has seized the opportunity to explore the use of the unorthodox in re-awakening a slumbering congregation.

We are all, in some way, slightly bonkers.  I am the first man to step up to the plate and admit I could do with a little fine-tuning. The point is that there are certain places like the church, home. mosque or temple where, hopefully, you should be able to express a bit more of yourself, and still be indulged,

As a young man I used to go to a cafe regularly where they served the worst roast dinner possible, but in the sweetest, pleasant and most gentle manner imaginable. I used to go there, just to enjoy their genial behaviour, and the delightful lack of awareness they had about the food quality. Sawing my way through the beef was a small price to pay for enjoying their innocence . In the same way, the smile on the face of the organist at the chance to exhibit his music more than made up for my surprise on hearing it.  A degree of self-delusion is an important ingredient of a happy life. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were  allowed more chances to express our foibles in places where tolerance took precedence over judgement.


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
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16 Responses to Surprising Musical Interludes

  1. catterel says:

    Yes, yes, yes – and I hope the organist is allowed to play his new composition at the wedding itself. Sounds like an excellent metaphor for a marriage!


  2. What a lovely thought and so beautifully written!


  3. Abby says:

    I was going to quote parts of your last paragraph as pretty much perfect, but then I realized I would be quoting the whole damn thing. I love it. I love that you can not only notice the “delightful lack of awareness” and “innocence/self-delusion” but also appreciate it. That’s something too many adults force themselves to let go of, afraid of judgment or all of that crap. If more people could get in touch with what made their hearts sing–or their fingers float over the organ keys, as it were–think of how different things might just be. Now I shall go think about that with myself…


  4. babs50nfab says:

    Peter you had me laughing out loud! I just love your twist on things. Such a great post. By the way… if you need a florist for your daughter’s wedding let me know. 😉


  5. Al says:

    From another in the ranks of those needing fine tuning, I enjoyed your look at this casual part of our lives. To me, the fact that anyone can produce harmony at all on one of those things is amazing. With three rows of keys and myriad foot pedals, the margin of error is slim indeed. We once had a choir director that could play the organ while occasionally using the one hand to direct us. I use to call him “octoman.”


  6. backonmyown says:

    Ducks, you have outdone yourself again. I am literally laughing out loud. Your description of the organist’s Sunday morning opus is priceless, and hilarious. “…nuclear warning sirens…” That’s perfect. I was thinking you should have recorded it for us, but then I realized I don’t need a recording. Your narration says it all.

    I think you’ve given me an idea for a post. Stay tuned. And thanks. (I’m still chuckling.)


  7. eof737 says:

    😆 Indeed, it would delightful to be encouraged when we step across that occasional line… If no one is damaged by it, why not! 😉
    ¸.•*¨*•.♪♫♫♪Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you! .♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸ ♥


  8. nelle says:

    Of this, I’ve no doubt. Hard to see myself as anything but a shifted bubble off plumb.
    There are poignancies and tragedies in the music. Layla has always been a song what seems to be a song where the instruments almost have their own language. Yet its co-creator was schizophrenic and later murdered his mother after hearing voices.

    There’s something in the song, some strong emotions working out in it, and I never quite grasped its complexity until I learned more about Jim Gordon. Tragic.


  9. Lafemmeroar says:

    Oh what a wonderful post about self-delusion. You crafted this so well that I hung on every word. From my perspective this post exuded a sense of British restraint and the universal need for all of us to express ourselves even when “others” don’t know what the hell it is we’re actually expressing. Bravo for the organist … his piece might have sounded like a mass of noisy blather, but that event is something he will remember for a long time. Glad you were there to witness it … 🙂


  10. ** I am beaming broadly. Any sign of homely madness is reassuring to yours truly**

    You are indeed a man after my own heart, Ducky ❤ Xx


  11. Caroline says:

    Ah thank you for making me giggle! I truly needed that this morning. And I TOTALLY agree with your sentiment

    It would indeed by so good if we were allowed more chances to express our foibles in places where tolerance took precedence over judgement.

    Here’s to Tolerence!




  12. What better than to be like that organist and just go for it! Who is to say that self-delusion isn’t just another expression of faith? Love this post!


  13. Beautiful message – and envisioning the organist brought a smile to my face! 🙂


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