And it wasn’t a nightmare in the sense that snakes and dragons and unrecognisable madmen were desperate to cut my throat. It was real, at least inasmuch as it had happened … and the more I’ve thought about it these past few hours, the more I’m convinced that it was the moment that my father lost interest in me and the rest of my life.
For several years I’ve realised that my father tried to
live his life through me. There’s reference to this in the What Men Do Guide – not specifically me and my father but the situation whereby a lad gets fucked up because without realising it he takes on automatically the values of his father plus his father’s frustrated ambitions.
As to the actual incident and last night’s rotten remembrance …..
…. my parents kept a country pub here in Halifax where on Saturday and Sunday evenings I was required to play the piano.
Unfortunately I have always had the facility of being able to play ‘by ear’; if you whistle me a tune I can instantly play it – in ‘C’, ‘G’ or ‘F’ of course.
When my father was demobbed from fighting the Fuhrer he did three things for me; he made me clean my teeth twice a day, he taught me to play chess, and he instigated a weekly piano lesson. I was 7 years old.
After a few months the piano teacher told my father that I was proving difficult to teach because as soon as she had played a piece of music which I was left to ‘learn’ I instantly played it ‘by ear’. In other words the learning process was a fraud.
However my father chose not to recognise this; I was part of the caberet at the pub, in practical terms a money-spinner for him. Local farmers who could sing ‘Bless This House’, or ‘Come Back To Sorrento’ and popular ballads of the period never seemed to be away from the place.
Later, when females entered my life, playing the piano was a curse; I was never available even for a fumble on Sowerby moors on Saturday or Sunday nights.
And then my father learned of an impending visit by a Bradford-born pianist, one who had acquired a big reputation – in London no less – as a teacher.
On the appointed day of his visit to play a one-night recital, my father and I took the bus to Bradford.
After the recital (which actually bored the pants off me), I was taken backstage to play for the maestro.
This I refused to do, knowing that, at best, I was what was known as only a ‘honky-tonk’ pianist.
My father was outraged. On the bus back home and for weeks afterwards all he could say to me was, ‘well, y’had y’chance’……
If I’d been worried that my cock wasn’t going to grow big enough to deliver a decent shag up till then, I became even more convinced from that point onwards.
And now that horrible estrangement from my father has entered my dreams. I awoke in the early hours before I could cry out ‘Dad, that’s not what I wanted! I didn’t want to be a concert pianist! I’d’ve hated it and anyway, I was never good enough!’
But that’s what my father wanted.