Sax and bugs, not even dole.

The nasty enervating illness I have been labouring through is waning. To prove that every cloud has a silver lining (and that where there’s a will there’s a platitude) it seems to have sapped my will to worry about work. If I get sacked I’ll just have to deal with it, at least I’ve got a week off, paid. And if I’m not sacked I didn’t have to work through that nasty cold. It was weird, I didn’t have a runny nose, or anything much except a little bit of a cough and tired eyes, but I just felt so weak I barely felt able to stand up. That and a temperature. Bad, but brief. Three days, and I was on the mend yesterday.

Which reminds me, I need to swab out my sax mouthpiece now, in case it’s possible to reinfect myself!

The sax is coming along apace. I have two books; "Learn as you play saxophone", and "A new tune a day for tenor saxophone." The former is the one my sax-sensei Pete teaches from, the latter is more challenging. Both want me to read music and play at the same time in chapter 1. That really is challenging! Pete asked me if I had any musical experience, I said I could play the triangle but subsequently confessed I could not read music. He said it was alright, that people often learnt as they went along, but I sensed an inward sigh.

I think I’m doing well though. In the space of a week I’ve gone from blowing like mad and being pleased I got something that sounded like a note, to expecting to hit each note of the middle (damn, lingo breakdown! Not sharp or flat, the middle bunch of notes! Damn , damn, damn!) octave, and worrying about keeping to 4/4 or 3/4 time!

(You go girl!)

Wendy, whilst appreciating the rate and degree of my improvement, is less than ecstatic about my practising. Hearing someone try over and over to get the right time and notes of ‘Chanson de nuit’ and ‘Au clair de la lune’ whilst you are trying to have a quiet chill must be irritating.

Did I mention the soundproofing was a flop? The egg-trays are apparently an urban myth, they give you wonderful acoustics, but don’t stop next-door from appreciating them. Genuine sound insulation relies on density and thickness. I briefly examined a professional soundproofing site, worked out that one wall of a soundproof box would cost around £500, then gave up. I have resorted to the old standbys of a thick pair of socks down the horn, and practising my fingering without the mouthpiece in (on top of the hour’s blowing). The socks are, at best, a token gesture. There are that many holes in a sax that the horn is just the final projecting bit.

I’ve taken to sitting in the hall upstairs, with all the bedroom doors, the bathroom door and the front-room door downstairs shut (so there is at least two walls between me and next-door, and a door and double glazing between me and the outside world) with the airing cupboard door open, playing into that!

It’s still really loud, but it’s the best I can do. I’m also trying to train next-door into realising that it is only for an hour, and at set times. This should help. The worst thing about having someone making a racket is the feeling of helplessness, not knowing how long they are going to be at it. If  you know they are going to be having a party until 1am, at least you know that it (should) be quiet after that. It’s lying in bed at 1245, music booming, grinding your teeth and whetting your axe that is detrimental to your chi.

Not that I would practice at such a time, I was thinking along the lines of 12.30 am -1.30 pm on 2-10 shift, 5-6 (pm) on 6-2.

I’ve been up nearly two hours and I’m not overcome with illness. I’ll go and get some grub and if I’m still OK I think I’ll have a workout. My next Taekwondo grading is in four weeks (if I’m not sacked/ can afford it) and I’ve been remiss through illness this last week.