A word in your ear - May 10, 2012

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FOR the last eight years I have had a rather expensive ornament sat in the corner of my lounge.

When I first put it there I had every intention of picking it up the next day and using it for its intended purpose.

But being a typical sloth-like man I decide to look at it a while longer, dream a little, and then put it off until tomorrow, next week, another month.

Before you know it it’s near-on a decade and the ornament’s only movement has been in order to give it a polish or for my son to use as a bridge for his Dinky cars.

But one day, you know, I’m going to pick that guitar up and give it a ruddy good strum – and outside of the usual odd night when I’ve one too many whiskies and suddenly believe I am Johnny Marr.

The Put Upon Wife bought me the thing a few years ago after I revealed it had been a long-held, burning passion of mine to finally learn to play an instrument which I’d marvelled at for years.

Well if such as Merseybeat scruffs from my own parish like Lennon, McCulloch and Costello could bang out a tune, together with the endless stream of hapless axe amateurs from publand, then why couldn’t I?

The glaring thing I had not factored into this equation was come your 30s you are fatter of finger and less tolerant to learning something as time consuming and frustrating as a guitar.

I’m sure one day, who knows when I’m 64, I may just be able to commit the time and passion into learning the whole of Bobby Shaftoe from Bert Weedon’s Play In A Day

Anyhow, the real problem, of course, is what I really should have done is pick it up as a kid.

That goes without saying as young minds appear to be able to put their, well, young minds, to anything they want to and pick things up very easily.

Me, well I spent most of my formative years either playing football, snooker, or locking myself away in a room listening to dark electro music which talked of teenage oblivion, introspection, and never, ever about guitars.

What got me thinking about this is the great news, this week, that Blackpool has been chosen as one of the Government’s 100 special music hubs which – through Arts Council support – means the provision of free musical instrument and tuition.

In an era when we are force fed “great news” of Government cash for one arms reach strategy or another, this is real, tangible and can make a huge difference.

Oh how I would love to be able to turn back the clock and get a piece of this musical action.

If I had my way I would make the leaning of a musical instrument compulsory, as much as I would the teaching of basic home economics, finance and a foreign language.

I do feel I missed out in not learning to play a guitar. I am determined one day it will happen – but in the meantime my own kids can take advantage of this cash boost and lead the charge. I guess that’s far more important.