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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Keen

Two naughty teenagers

Musician: Nathaniel Keen (guitar)

The day started with Mr GH and ML indulging in a chocolate feast. ML's daughter had come armed to the teeth with an array of treats and the mood in the room was subsequently sky-high. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to propose GH as the lead singer for our group ("the N and G experience"). At this wild suggestion he looked baffled yet excited and we started to discuss our repertoire and which key might suit his baritone vocal range. The audience (ML and her daughter) sat in anticipation, happily gobbling down some sugary delights, and then, under the bright lights of the Bridgeside Lodge first floor dining room we opened with 'Hound Dog' by Elvis. It was a smash hit. Taking the time to find the right key for GH resulted in a more confident and improved vocal performance from our lead singer, he seemed to relish and really enjoy the volume that he could attain as his voice resonated and boomed around his chest. The audience were very much enjoying the whole experience and GH followed suit when I gave ML a wave after one song. It was lovely to see ML completely at ease with her daughter, joking around as if they were two naughty teenagers at a gig, giggling in between songs and crackling their sweet wrappers.

I next went to see Ms GH and was joined by [Spitz GM] Thom who had previously been in to see her and delivered some printed photos of herself with Spitz musicians. The photos were very nice and she was more open than usual to Thom taking a few more snaps with her as I began to play. In the previous week's session with Pete Lee, we'd played "Blackbird" to her, which had clearly connected emotionally, I decided to play it again but she seemed distracted this time. Perhaps she has a penchant for Pete's dulcet, Welsh tones and my Dorset twang wasn't cutting the mustard.

Next, I saw JC who I'd heard (from Thom) was riding high after some of the string on his guitar had been replaced. Apart from that, Thom had introduced him to the world of plectrums (the small triangle of plastic some guitarists use to strike the strings with) and rumour had it that his playing was stronger than ever. The rumours were true, JC seemed to strike the strings with greater conviction and the hard plastic material hitting the strings produced a louder sound which was clearly thrilling for him. I also noticed that his ability to play rhythmically seemed improved, perhaps the plectrum afforded him more accuracy whereas with just his fingers the rhythm was looser and more textural. I chatted with Thom about JC trying out a slide on his guitar (a tube of glass or metal that rests lightly on the strings producing an authentic blues guitar sound). Having not brought one with me, the closest thing I could think of to attain that bluesy sound was his TV remote control. I rested the controller on the strings above the fretboard and wobbled it around whilst JC strummed the strings lower down producing a kind of plasticky approximation of a Mississippi Blues guitarist...I promised I would bring him a proper slide to try next week if I could find mine, it turns out small transparent glass tubes are easy to misplace…

At the end of the day I bumped into Matt (fiancée of resident JBL), he asked if I would pop in to see her as she was close to bedtime and might enjoy nodding off to some music. I enjoyed playing some meandering textural sounds as she calmly sat there with a peaceful smile across her face. I continued the bedtime session with some more instrumental pieces, all with a very gentle and retiring character. Gradually JBL drifted in and out of sleep as I played and Matt quietly observed with a contented smile.

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