Blues for Wifey: Introduction Pt.II

It had been such a blur: from receiving the call and confirming my availability, I had been sent a list of instructions of things that I would need to arrange — an ENG1 certificate of seaworthiness, various clothes needed for the band’s stage outfits — as well as a list of about 60 songs that I would need to be able to play as soon as I got to the ship.

These songs comprised the band’s ‘theme’ sets — country and western, ‘balloon drop’, ‘sail away’ and 70’s nights — but I already knew that there would be around 300 songs in total that the band would have in their repertoire and I guessed that we’d just have to wing those other ones once I was aboard.

Hmmmm… yes, looking back I really had been that naïve! Yes, I’m sure we’d just muddle along nicely!

My flights were arranged for the following Monday, so in effect I had 4 days to learn these 60 songs, a couple of days to shop and get myself ready, a day’s travel to my sisters so I could be near the airport and then — boom — off I would trot.

I looked at the songs listed in the emails; a quick triage of the titles in front of me told me that I already knew — and was currently, or had previously gigged — about a quarter of them. Another 15–20 titles were songs that I knew to whistle along to, which I had a very rough idea of how to play. This left about 30 which I had never heard of before. Hmmm…. 4 days. Do-able, definitely do-able.

I’d done worse/better previously when sessioning for other bands, but this wasn’t going to be a case of meeting up, sound checking, gigging, getting paid and “sayonara” — this was stepping into a full-time, 7 days a week gig with professional musicians. The pressure started to crank up. Exciting!

I did like a challenge — it had been a while since I’d had one, so I had booted up my laptop and headed for YouTube…

Now — here — in my parent’s kitchen, studying the grim, west Walian evening at my leisure, I could cast my mind’s eye back over the preceding months and suck on the marrow of memory. Or — and which seemed more likely — I could bitch and grumble about being back here in the cold and despair over the present lack of a follow-up contract. I’d been back for over 4 days — and STILL no new contract in sight! Gah! I wasn’t on top form, I sipped my coffee sullenly.

On the screen in front of me I was growing sick of the continuing stream of Facebook updates from my new friends from the ship; the ‘I miss you!’’s mixed with the different — yet vaguely identical — photo albums being published at regular intervals… scenes from beaches, scenes with bikini’s, beer bottles and waves breaking in the background. I had been there! I was in some of those photos!

The unmitigated tragedy was that I was no longer there, and some of these people still were… how could they? How dare they continue to enjoy themselves? why can’t I..? *MASSIVE MENTAL SELF-SLAPPING* … you have GOT to get a grip.

Sulking is such an ugly trait, feeling sorry for oneself is unforgiveable. I hated myself for slipping so easily into such vulgar indulgences but — dammit! — I was allowed to be a little blue after such a harsh coming back down to earth, was I not? I’ll be OK in a few days.

Then it struck me, in amongst so many reasons to feel emotional about recent events stood one in particular which I knew, in my heart of hearts, that I was actually moved by. So much so that I was suddenly aware of how much I had been avoiding thinking about it. About her.

About Wifey.

Dammit. So much of the previous 10 weeks had been such a success… eventually. Now I looked back and thought about whether everything had been a success… I wasn’t so sure. I wasn’t even sure how I felt about the thing that was digging into my conscience like a barb…. Had I handled things the way I should have done? Had I handled things the way I wanted to? I didn’t know. Which is to say that I was absolutely sure that I wasn’t happy about something.

I’d gone out to be a professional guitarist — woo-hoo! My dream job! — I’d gone out with the best of intentions and the highest of hopes but I’d gone out determined not to let myself get emotionally involved with anyone because I knew that after the 10 weeks were up, I’d likely never see them again, and after years of being rubbish and/or unlucky in love I knew that more emotional trauma was best avoided in this instance.


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