It’s been a long time since we had a bit of historical romance, so I’ve been searching in the archives for a tale or two to share with you. How about this one:
A few years ago I was working at a music school – for grown-ups, not kids. A ‘conservatoire’, no less. Now I don’t know about you, but I fall madly in love with talent. And no, I don’t mean the ability to put a leg behind your head or a talent for belching ‘Advance Australia Fair’ (although I have, in my time, come across both of these talents – and each was, erm, interesting…in the right circumstances).
I mean a real talent – music, art, whatever. To me this is just like, wow. And so, there I am, a young man with hormones aplenty surrounded by these amazing musicians.
Because of the job that I had, and because of my age and obviously because of my general all-round attractiveness, I used to get invited to lots of the post-concert after-parties for the various orchestras, ensembles, trios, quartets and choruses. Not only did I get invited to the parties, but I also got to attend most of the events.
Some of the concerts were great – others not so good (I’m thinking of every single dreary classical guitar concert that I’ve had to sit through here). It was at one of the better concerts that I saw him first. A new guy, handsome as a handsome thing and an amazing voice. He was singing in the chorus in the (pretty amazing) production of the Magic Flute.
At the after show party venue (the halls of residence, naturally) I had a couple of drinks with the orchestra, waiting for the singers to get de-frocked and re-frocked. It seemed like this was taking forever, but finally – an hour or so later – the singers arrived back at halls.
But where was he? I asked around and it seemed he’d headed straight into town to meet some friends at a club. Luckily, the person who knew where he had gone was also heading there later. “Do you want to come with us?” he asked.
We arrived at the nightclub at around 1am – and anyone who knew the UK in the 90’s will know that this meant that there wasn’t much to go before closing time. Anyway, by this time, the objective of going to the club had been left behind in the sober part of my brain – which had been superseded by the less than sober part.
I soon found myself in a dark corner, alone, collecting my thoughts, jack and coke in hand. I was sat on a typical nightclub sofa – too soft, a bit sticky and not anything you’d want to see in the bright light of day – but it was providing my drunken legs with a hard-earned break.
As I sat there, my reverie was broken by someone sitting down next to me. I looked to my side and my eyes were met by the eyes of the singer.
“Hey”, he said. Obviously, he was about as sober as me.
“Hey”, I replied back. It lacked originality, but it was all I could muster.
“Someone said you were asking after me”.
“It’s true. But that was a few drinks ago”.
And so the conversation continued.
We didn’t see closing time, we just left and staggered home together. We both lived in the same part of town, streets apart, but we ended up at mine. That night we fell into bed and slept, neither having the will nor the wherewithall for anything more.
We both headed off to our individual classes the next day – him at the conservatoire, me at the business school. Both of us had our heads in our hands and ibuprofen in our pockets as we left the house.
I called his house later in the day to see if he wanted to catch up.
“He’s not in” his housemate said. “He’s gone back to Scotland. His Dad is in hospital”.