There’s a certain sweet pleasure that I get out of listening to guitar music.
Traditional guitar music, played from the 6-stringed variety, wasn’t an instrument favoured by my family.
We were all encouraged to get involved with musical groups and classes, but my parents were keen to steer us away from the ‘rock’n’roll instruments’ that would no doubt lead to the drink, drugs and sex that would herald the downfall of our noble clan.
Despite my parents’ liberal approach to embedding themselves in the community, they also embodied the strict values and morals that might seem a little cliched now. They were devoutly religious, 2nd generation Pakistanis who had spent their childhoods living through tough times in large families.
Through their faith in God, they had persevered through times of austerity and found a place in a society which has been initially to their parents before them. They fervently believed that, by funnelling our ambitions through a prism of Religion and quasi-censorship, we would avoid the pitfalls of youth that they had neatly side-stepped during the turbulent 60s.
It worked…for the most part at least.
Any parents reading this will be rolling their eyes at my parents approach to censoring what their children are influenced by. However, it was a lot easier back then to do this. Without smart phones, we weren’t constantly open to countless streams of information. The only real source of media we received was through Father’s newspaper (always The Times – a consummate British gentleman) and Radio 4 (my Mother’s choice, a way for her to practice her ‘Queenies English’).
However it didn’t take long for my brother and I to grow up and start visiting friends’ houses. Then we were well and truly out in the open world – with no way for our parents to censor what we saw or listened to. It was the 80s and although the punk movement was dying a death, it was beginning to be replaced by something a great deal more outrageous and morally dubious.
The ‘hair-metal’ and ‘glam-rock’ of the 80s captured my heart more than any other kind of music. The loud, brash guitars. The flaunting rhythms and sex-obsessed lyrics were a catalyst to my teenage power fantasies. Before my parents knew it, they’d lost me to a bewildering world of rock’n’roll that was far more alien than what had come before.
Of course, I never really went off the rails.
I was too well brought up for that and I never wished to disappoint my parents.
Today, I’m leaving to pick up three musicians from Heathrow. After booking some parking through Airport Parking Market, I’m going to be heading off to meet them. I’ll be there for the whole day, waving in three talented musicians who could well be the future stars of tomorrow.
You see, my love for guitar music has never faded. I might have moved away from the 80s music of my youth but the sound of guitars playing in unison still fascinates me. So much so that I’ve found three guitar players, virtuosos from three different countries who have made their fame through YouTube.
For the first of a series of performances (scheduled for a month’s time), I’m going to be bringing these players in and asking them to collaborate on improvisational material. They’ll be here for a month, living together and playing in the community.