At the ripe old age of 30, I bought my first guitar – although I strongly doubt there will be a successor. Carrying it home, every man who passed me felt some need to comment. “Play guitar do you?” Turning my head, I’d call into my wake, “Haha, try to”, then roll my eyes and wish I wasn’t carrying what was increasingly turning out to be a lightning rod for dickheads.
Much as I would have liked to have thrown their implicit misogyny back in their faces by busting out some impressive guitar stuff right there on Kingsland Road, it’s true that I didn’t do much more than try to play guitar then. It never occurred to me to try before. But I’m pleased to say that 24 months of sporadic YouTube tutorials later, I can competently play a handful of chords as long as you give me a minute to frown down at the neck and arrange my fingers one by one.
Far from untangling music as I hoped it would, learning this extremely small amount of guitar has made the alchemical mystery of magicking a song out of nothing seem even less fathomable. Knitting chords together, weaving melodies between beats, jigsawing samples into place – people spinning songs into being are sorcerers to me. Even the worst song, the crappiest piece of crap Slaves shit out, seems like a little slice of wonder now.
Honestly, men talking to me in the streets, existential confusion and somehow ending a column by complimenting Slaves: I wish I’d never picked up that goddamn guitar, I really do.
Kate likes pop hits more than you like pop hits, is part of the exceptional club night U Suck, and writes for many fine publications – often about Carly Rae Jepsen.