Sometimes I think that my old gym teacher, evil sadist that he was, knew more about me than I would care to admit when he wrote in my annual reports "Pixie could try harder at games"
Of course: in reality the reason I didn't put much effort into Rugby, Football, 5 mile runs etc was not laziness but self preservation: IE i didn't fancy getting my head kicked in as part of a futile attempt to score a goal, try, home run (insert applicable sporting reference here)
In fact the only few weeks of sport that I enjoyed in five years of senior school were the ones where they took all the neanderthals off onto another field and let them beat each other to death for a while instead of us: leaving the weak and feeble kids like myself to play something that actually approached football. (BTW the reference to neanderthals is not a humorous remark about my increasingly long years - they really were evidence of the missing link: albiet slightly worsly dressed than cro-magnon man)
But nonetheless "could try harder" will doubtless end up being my epithet as whenever I hit a problem my first instinct is to throw my hands in the air, declare that i will never get it and promptly give up.
The problem is that school very much installed the idea that I was extremely stupid: something that i still have to fight against mixed with the fact that I am not naturally particularly bright. And before anyone that knows me says "oi" I feel this is fair comment - new knowledge is not something that comes easily for me and often has to be fought for. Whether this is me being thick or the teacher just not being able to present the information in a way i can understand it is for greater minds than mind to decide. Suffice to say: i nearly drove my maths teacher mad when i came to re-do my maths GCSE some years ago.
The problem that I am currently having is with my saxophone. I haven't touched the damn thing in nearly 3 weeks and have gone so far as to find excuses to do anything else but practice recently.
The problem is three-fold and none of them really counts as the main problem: they are all so fundamental with the art of playing the thing:
With a guitar you tune the thing with an electric tuner. It then remains in tune. If you put your fingers in the right place at the right time you will get the right note. With a saxophone you can do all of the above and still get the wrong note if you do not apply the right reed pressure.
The problem is - that i just can't hear it well enough to know that it is sharp or flat. My pitch just isn't good enough. Considering this is an essential aspect of playing the dratted thing...
I just don't feel it. Whenever I try I feel just like a pedestrian endlessly crossing and re-crossing the same zebra crossing with not enough imagination or creativity to go elsewhere -and since improvisation is mostly about feeling and i mostly feel like a berk when doing it - i mostly don't do it.
I am aware that there are different dots, signals and wierd symbols that mean pausing for different amounts of time and holding notes for a different amount of time - but actually putting it into practice is another thing. The worst thing, and here is the true confession chaps and chapesses: I just don't care enough to want to get it exactly as written. I'm never gonna be good enough to play as part of the rhythmn section for the Memphis Horns and, truth be told, I'm not sure that I want to be. As long as the song sounds good enough to fool Joe Public and to please me - well then: it's only me and the cats that will ever hear it.
This attitude is, of course, a major factor in my lack of significant progress and therefore, possibly, in my current state of disilusionment.
Finally of course there is a fourth:
I must have played the 9-10 songs that I know well so often that their composers are ready to beat down my door and bludgeon me to death if I don't get them right next time - and yet no matter how many times i get a tricky part right I always manage to find Fresh And Exciting Ways To Make New Mistakes...
And hence, as with my writing, my enthusiasm seems to be out the back of the house having a quick cigarette and showing no signs of returning any time soon.
Still: should I ever get far enough to actually record my efforts I do at least have a working title for the resulting album...
Could Try Harder