In Which I Sell My First Guitar For A Ferry Ride (To Finland)
It’s 1997, I’m 19 years old. I leave my parental nest and move 1256 kilometers North, to Poland, to study cinema. (My) luck wants that the city where the Film Academy is located is also where my maternal Grandmother lives. My parents find this marvelously convenient and it’s agreed that, until I figure out whether or not I am fit for this film life, I’d stay with her. Trying to describe my Grandmother’s persona in a sentence or two would be unfair to her great complexity, but because this story is not about her let’s just say that If Gary Oldman as Nosferatu in Coppola’s cult-ass Dracula had a female version of himself, that would be my Grandma. Only, with much less hair and absolute zero sex appeal. She’d torture me by waking me up at unsanitary early hours (6 am on Sunday morning!?) because it pissed her off that someone was asleep in the house when she had already risen. She’d prepare meals for me then sit and stare at me making sarcastic remarks about how ugly I look when I chew. Needless to say, she did not allow any bass-playing in her house and as it was not easy to take my guitar and amp out for a jam, for the first whole year of studies there was nada Rock’N’Roll.
In the previous episode of this Tale Of Three Guitars, I told you the story of my first band and our first, and only, epic gig. Click this link if you need to catch up. If, on the contrary, you belong to that crowd of 12 people who DID read it already, you may think that I will now finally tell how did that first date with the seedy bartender go and whether it turned out to be a beautiful love story or not.
Well, I won’t.
At least, not now. Because this story is about guitars and not boyfriends. All you need to know for the moment is that the bartender trip was real for about six months, marked an important turning point in my youth and then ended up crashing with a miserably hollow thud in a coffee shop behind the train station, over two cappuccinos and a borrowed copy of Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums.
Last time I told you the story of how the love of music awakened in me and how, on a sweaty teenage afternoon, I came to the conclusion my life would *have* to be about playing the bass from that moment on and forever.
Quite a few months went by from that day of awakening to the moment I actually held a bass in my hands. Months that I spent in lucid daydreaming of how incredibly cool I would look on a stage, how confident and mean, rocking the shit out of them strings. How I would pinch them, pick at them, slap them furiously and pace like a wild sexy thing across the stage, adolescent mojo oozing out of my every pore. In my daydreams, the guitar I was holding was black and shiny, fierce, scary, something that only a tough and mighty girl could know how to wrangle. Something like this:
My adventures in Rock’N’Roll started quite askew and not very early at all: I was eleven when my mother decided I must learn to play the piano.
No-one plays the piano in my family. No one plays any other instrument for that matter or is even remotely able to sing, so I have no idea why my mother came to such conclusion. She probably just assumed that, because I seemed to display the buds of creative inclinations, I needed to hold such skill. In order for this to happen, my parents rented a piano which was delivered by three strong men riding a truck and placed right next to our dining table. I believe their idea was I would eventually be able to entertain their guests with sonatas in B-major while they digested their desserts sipping on Fernets.