From the Kitchen Table


Features | by — August 18, 2006


Part 5. Or is it 4? Can’t remember

By Gillian Wood

I’m listening to a lovely song called ‘Arrival’ by Marc Meon. Go find it. It’s beautiful.

So I was playing last night on Old Brompton Road. Not on the road literally but in a place called The Troubadour. It’s a venue, a deli and a café. It stays open late and I’m guessing it opens early for breakfast too. It even has a little garden out the back with trailing plants and fairy lights. I like it (and I’m thinking if you ever go there you will realise why I like it, it’s the kind of place I like…). The only thing that I maybe didn’t like so much was the clientele. It’s on Old Brompton Road so there were many chinos and shirts to be seen and maybe a few too many Gucci dresses and YSL bags hanging from the backs of chairs, but you know, I kind of liked it. Although I think I would be a totally rubbish ‘Sloane’ type person, I swear too much and don’t drink Chardonnay, and my hair is a funny colour at the moment somewhere in between red and dark brown and therefore not the standard issue blonde with highlights. Nope, I would be a rubbish Sloane.

Anyway, we played. We were rather good (at least I thought and so did the bass player – the singer didn’t but then again he is a singer and they’re hard work). We had a celebratory beer after (the singer had many, plus several whiskies that he then discovered were doubles so by about midnight he had stopped making sense completely).

The singer invited us back to his house and, because we had made money (amazing!) on the door, we decided to treat ourselves to a taxi. Now, I must tell you a thought I have on taxi drivers and more specifically, black cab taxi drivers. They are very, very wise people. They are perhaps the wisest people you may ever meet. Our taxi driver was no exception. The singer (three double whisky’s, three beers no dinner or lunch) asked ‘Soooo, you’re from Jamaica, got any grass on you?’ OK, now some of you may have met the singer I am talking about and if you have you may have realised that when he asks things like this he is actually being quite genuine and not a complete idiot. Luckily, being a wise taxi driver he realised that the singer was not being a complete idiot, so he explained that no, he didn’t smoke, never been interested in it, but he did love his music.

Now, there is nothing a singer (or musician in general) likes more than to hear someone say that they LOVE music. It’s an open invitation for them to talk uninterrupted for minutes/hours/days about their passion, their love, their life, well all about themselves really. But, the singer, luckily, has a way of engaging with people and lets them do most of the talking so the taxi driver began to tell us about his philosophy of music. We were talking about reggae and the music that has come out of Jamaica. Our taxi driver told us that he thought Jamaican music had had a huge influence on the development of popular music in the West. He also revealed a theory about the difference between white music and black music such as reggae. It went like this:
‘You see it’s all to do with the bass. That’s the difference between white music and black music. White people listen higher. They focus on the melody, on the tune. Black music is all about the bass and the rhythm. We listen lower. I think it is because in Africa our mothers carried us close to their bodies when we were babies. We grew up listening to our mother’s heart beat. It’s a deep sound, it’s like bass. I think that is why bass is so important in our music’.
I love that. I think it is one of the loveliest descriptions I have heard in a long time. I hope he’s right.

So that was what I learned last night at about 1am. By 1.30am I had also learnt that broccoli cooked with onions, garlic, tuna, buffalo mozzarella, tomato and a little parmesan cheese served with wholewheat pasta is a most delicious late night dinner.

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