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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Keen

Lyrics in your notebook

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

Musician: Nat Keen (guitar & vocals)

Sometimes while I await the results of my lateral flow test I get chatting to family members who are about to visit their relatives. It's a nice setting in which to chat about the music sessions we provide as well as to offer support. Today I spent time with DB's wife who happens to be an avid reader of the Spitz blogs, she re-emphasised just how important music was for him; 'it's the one thing he really loves'. She was encouraged when I described how DB seemed more at ease in the presence of our musicians in recent months. Another regular visitor is Matt (JB's fiancé) and I enjoyed chewing the fat with him about his experiences on the road in the mid 1990's (he was in a fairly successful band called Blaggers In The Area). He described relishing the chance to travel and seeing parts of England he'd never even heard of, northern tours through Barrow, Scunthorpe etc...the whole crew crammed into a Transit van. His musical pinnacle came when the band supported the Manic Street Preachers at Brixton Academy! Not bad!

I spent some very moving moments with K and her sister who was lovingly guiding her around the corridors. K seemed slightly restless or perhaps simply in a mood to explore, either way we crossed paths and encouraged me to play. Initially, I followed the two of them on their rounds until the corridor opened up into the dining room where K started to take note of my presence and listen. As I played, she began to gently rock her body back and forth and gradually move closer to the source of the sound eventually shifting so that her ear was side on to the guitar. The music seemed to calm her and she then started to hum along whilst being lovingly supported physically and musically by her sister. The two began to hug and K quietly said 'this is lovely'.

Later I visited AS and we compared mouse stories (I've been recently struggling at home with a brave little critter behind the skirting boards). AS animatedly recalled her only experience with a mouse, 'I was sitting on the sofa and then I saw a little black thing fall down the chimney, I screamed and jumped on the table'....anyway, the peculiar ending to that mouse's life is a story for another time. We diverted from traumatic rodent tales to uplifting reggae (with a hint of rodent)....'don't worry.....about about a mouse, cos every little thing is gonna be alright'.....AS felt compelled to join in with this chorus.

I then popped in to see JC who was watching a programme about pigs which we used as inspiration to write a song about two of his school friends who had ended up moving out of London to be farmers...JC then demonstrated his excellent segue skills and redirected the narrative into one of his favourite themes - a bank robbery! .....In terms of plot twists, It was a big leap!

GH was sat doing a crossword with a carer when he overheard me singing 'A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square' to ML, to my surprise he twisted his head from the puzzle and belted out the chorus with me, it seems his knowledge of repertoire is much wider than I'd anticipated. We pushed the boat out even further and had a go at Billie Jean which seemed to catch the attention of the staff members on the other side of the room. As I walked off down the corridor and down the stairs, I could hear GH continue to clap in time with the beat.

To finish the day off I found JC and JG sat together tucking into some tasty looking food, it seemed appropriate for me to offer them some dinner jazz in the background to add the classy touch they deserve. I played 'Fly Me To The Moon' and I asked for the assistance of JC to help me with the lyrics, upon hearing this JG piped up with 'I know you have the lyrics written there in your book, you've shown me them in the past'. JG, who has dementia, is often confused or unsure of where she is, had remembered that I have notes chords and lyrics written in a notebook (which was closed at the time) It was a wonderful surprise that she had recalled this and reminded me of it. After a few songs I left them in peace to finish their meals and chat away together.

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