The Capriciousness of Whether of Not
Alderley Edge Farmers Market this morning/early afternoon turned out to be an experience as mixed as the weather.
Christine, the sunshiny lady who hired me and Phil to play our English trad there is absolutely charming. We had more than our seasonal average of compliments for our music and the way we play it. We had at least a dozen requests for CDs and lots of interested enquiries from the shoppers. Great, but we also had one looming grey cloud in the form of the geezer who owned the restaurant we were playing from.
To comply with regulations, we had to sit in the doorway of his restaurant and play facing outwards towards the market stalls. Yer grey cloud person was unfortunate enough to be manning a barbecue outside immediately in our line of fire. It was not his lucky day. He HATED what we were doing. It was sending him insane.
Eventually, the grey cloud burst and he demanded to know: Why were we playing the same thing over and over again? Why couldn’t we play some country music? – meaning, of course, American country music.
Now, think about that one to get the full weight of it. We are at a Farmers Market in Alderley Edge; a place set up to promote and sell local produce and this guy is demanding to know why we aren’t playing artificially-adopted, watered-down imports!
It defies logic, right? Yeah, and it gets better. ‘Move on, for God’s sake,’ he implored us. ‘Don’t you know any Stevie Wonder?!’
He’s probably a nice guy really who simply couldn’t hack our music. Later, he apologised if I thought him rude. Part of his apology was the explanation that he was of Eastern descent and therefore could not be expected to like our indigenous music. Johnny Cash? Stevie Wonder? Sounds to me like he didn’t like his own indigenous music either.
His parting shot was that ‘next time’ he would have to have us playing in another area of the market. Hmmm.
I’m a working musician and I wouldn’t expect everyone to rate what me and Phil do, especially as it is so niche. I can take a few knocks and I need to be able to pay my bills.
If you’re in your car passing Alderley Edge Farmers Market in the future and you see an old musician with flowers in his hat, wearing corduroys and Doc Martins and adding a bit of percussion to his guitaring with some Morris bells strapped to his left leg , and if that said geezer is singing Superstition or A Boy Named Sue, with a hint of Greensleeves about it, do us all a favour: keep driving.
The one small cloud burst was the geezer who owned the restaurant we were playing from. He hated what we were playing.