I remember once, I was sat in some airport. I think it was Amsterdam. For some reason the plane was fully booked. I dunno, maybe it was Easter or half term or some notable holiday. Things like that generally pass me by, bank holidays and the like. Anyway, the plane being fully booked spelled DOOM. I don’t always travel with the love of my life but for emotional reasons I didn’t want to do that tour without my Martin guitar.
Somehow I’d managed to smuggle it past the check in people and gotten it to the gate. They looked at me like I was taking the proverbial. They told that I wouldn’t be able to take it on board. Now, I have a slight chip on my shoulder about this. There were fussing mothers with bags and bags of things that I’m sure they didn’t need for the flight. There were business men in awful shiny shoes with brief cases and things on wheels which I’m certain only contained paper work or something that would not cause complete emotional meltdown if it were to get thrown around by the heavy handed cargo handling men. Why can't they be persecuted!?
When the airport people saw me with the guitar, I was asked to wait at the door like a naughty school child. I sat and I sweated. My heart was beating very fast. I bit all my fingernails off. When the woman who was to decide the fate of my guitar came to speak to me, I literally knelt on the floor and pleaded with her. I expressed the following…
Some people wait an entire lifetime to find the person of their dreams. When they meet that person, they can’t imagine what life would ever be like without them. This is usually when people get married. About 5 years ago, I didn’t know the meaning of this until I visited a guitar shop in Runcorn called ‘Frailers’ (note to all guitarists… you MUST go there). Up until that point I’d been having a fling of an affair with a cheap acoustic that had an unnecessary cut away and intonation that didn’t fit so well with my ears. That day at frailers, everything I’d ever experienced before was overwritten. The Spanish nylon that lilted me through my late teens, the steel stringed thing that lifted me into my early twenties became obsolete at that moment. I found my Martin.
In all honesty I didn’t mean to acquire a guitar that day in Runcorn, but I knew that the world would be out of balance forever if me and Martin were to be apart for a day longer. I brought him home with me and I have loved him ever since.
I don’t have him insured. One might think this foolish, but my rational on the matter is beyond reason, into realms of the existential. If something bad happened to him, my life would end at that very moment. You wouldn’t insure your husband who you love more than anything, so that you could buy a new one if he died, would you? That would undermine everything.
I never leave him in a car alone. He has accompanied me into many a service station toilet and he has sat with me while I’ve drank numerous cappuccinos next to some motorway or other. He knows me better than anyone and I could still tune him perfectly even if I were to become deaf. I know exactly how much the machine heads need to be turned to create a certain note, and I know when a string is about to snap just by touching him. This is awful when it happens half way through a gig but I never blame him. Sometimes he speaks to me in the night, I hear a string slip slightly as my house becomes cool after the heating has gone off. Sometimes the wood just creaks a little. I accept that I may never meet a person whom I will spend my whole life with, but I know that I will never be alone because I have already found my soul mate.
Anyhow, I regaled the lady at the airport in this kind of vein. There was sweat pouring off my forehead and I was slightly shaking. In the end, she let me take it on board. Love, it seems, does conquer all.