bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog 

Coping With Jazz

Dear Rachel

I am by nature deeply mistrustful of people who signal the impending start of songs by clicking their fingers and counting in French. You’ll therefore understnd my nonplussed stance last week at the Duke of Wellington when I learned that Vinny not only has a twenty piece jazz band living upstairs but that they are doing live music nights every forth Sunday. This information was presented to me in ambush format when the air suddenly filled with clicked fingers and numbers en Francais as I was minding my own business at the bar. I just don’t know what possesses a person to do stuff like that – the bloke wasn’t even French – except an overwhelming desire to be thrashed across the face with a fire extinguisher again and again and again and again and again and again and again.

Jazz, in case you didn’t know, is a musical art form consisting of 1% genius and 99% please just fuck off. However, by eavesdropping on two jazz people at the bar, I did learn about a conversation one of them had recently had, in which someone who presumably wasn’t as uberjazzvolk as them had asked if they liked Kenny G. No, I don’t know who Kenny G is either, but the answer you give in this situation – and you might want to write this down in case you ever find yourself wanting to come across like someone who knows a lot about jazz – is ‘I haven’t heard any Kenny G for a while – but then again, I don’t get in many elevators these days!’ They both considered this simply splendid, and I really thought that, when they stopped laughing, they might catch each other’s eye, lean in together, and have a really long kiss.

You need to be prepared for this kind of thing if you’re going to survive a jazz night. The main bloke in the band, which consisted entirely of men with some of the tidiest beards I have ever seen – really really precise beards, unlike me at my beardiest, which suggests a lengthy career on a pirate ship in the eighteenth century – kept saying stuff like ‘And here’s another little composition of mine, which I like to call, originally enough, Jazz Tune Number One’, and scoring really big chuckles with it. Tosser. I was listening to Franz Ferdinand on my mp3 player after about twenty minutes, though, so any other jazzly rib ticklers would I’m afraid have passed me by.

As a rule, the Duke doesn’t really have music on, but for a pub with mainly Polish bar staff, such music as it does have is usually pretty good. It is, surely, impossible not to like the Poles, and if Poland had been invented when I had my pubs, I would have employed them exclusively. I would, though, have taken the ‘free vend for staff’ option off the jukebox, or else it would’ve been The Only Way Is Up by Yazz, Roxanne by the Police, and the Road To Hell by Chris Rea all evening, and there really is only so long you can put up with that. During my jazz odyssey, I had a scribbled conversation with current barmaid Sophia, who is in fact from Sweden, and who hasn’t heard of the Kinks. I know she hasn’t heard of the Kinks, because early on in a scribbled conversation I had with her across the bar I said ‘Ask them if they could do something by the Kinks’, to which she replied by underlining the word ‘Kinks’ and putting a question mark by it. I then wrote ‘Please make it stop’, to which she replied ‘You have to embrace the difference from your usual music – it’s good for the soul’. I wrote back ‘Yeah, that is the kind of thing that makes people hate jazz’ and to be honest, I rest my case.

No photards again this week. Apparantly we can upload them, but I couldn’t work it out.

Twitter: Essentially, the jazz of social networking.

Facebook: Good old Facebook. Fancy giving all your personal information to a privately owned corporation who will sell it to any company or government that wants it, in return for playing Farmville? Totally.


  1. Gill

    Mar 1st, 2010
    7:39 pm

    Mayzin! I had the same thing this week when Courtney Pine played at my local venue…….I have stolen your explanation of the meaning of jazz for my FB profile. Thanks for cheering me right up on whta has been a rather shitty day!!

  2. Paul

    Mar 1st, 2010
    8:19 pm

    Yeah they should issue warnings like they do with severe weather. It’s like being trapped in one of the later Tom and Jerry cartoons where they could talk and all that.

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