“No,” I insist.

“It’s just that I’m really a bit stuck,” pleads the Village Publican.


“And Short Tony says you’re really good,” he wheedles.

I silently wish Short Tony festering pustules, of the cock. He shall pay for this. “No,” I repeat.

“But I can’t find anybody else. And I’ve already rented a piano – it’s here in the bar.”

I sigh, take a deep breath, and explain. There is no way that I can accompany carols in the Village Pub on Christmas Eve, as I don’t know any carols and can’t read piano music. If I could read piano music then there would be no problem. Or if I could remember more than the first line of ‘Away in a Manger’ then I could probably improvise. Although that would most likely be fairly bad – the only tune that I can really play is the theme from ‘Minder’.

I do not mention my banjo skills, as I do not think that this is relevant to the conversation.

“Oh well – fair enough,” he concedes.

“I’m sorry I can’t help,” I say. “But I really do only know the theme from ‘Minder.'” I offer to join him for a quick pint later, as I feel a bit bad about not being able to help.

Later on, I am clutching one of my quick pints, wondering what is going on.

“Ummm – this one’s in C,” I mumble.

I plonk a hesitant introduction. The choir joins in tunefully.

“If you want to I’ll change the situation…” they trill.

The programme of events doesn’t last too long. I stay for a few more pints with Short Tony, John Twonil and the Drumming Barman. A festive Christmas atmosphere pervades. Short Tony purchases the piano.

20 thoughts on “Christmas #1

  1. beth says:

    Did you have John Twonil on bells? Bells turn any song into a christmas song.

    [please insert some ‘joke’ about whiskey. It’s obviously there, but I don’t have time to think it through – I do have a train to catch you know!]

  2. Bagpuss says:

    Happy New Year. I think.

    Maybe you should have mentioned the bajo. Then you could have had 2 songs

  3. Right people, right time, just the wrong location?

    No. Wrong people, wrong time, right location.

  4. So let me get this straight: they wanted you to write the feem toon, play the feem toon and sing the feem toon?

    You can shirley manage that? All that banjo video malarkey proved you know your minor fall from your major lift… don’t you?

  5. Z says:

    Had I but known, I could have filled in for you. I had two hours spare between playing carols at three church services on Christmas Eve.

    By next year, of course, you’ll have had time to learn them yourself.

  6. Short Tony bought the piano? Do you mean to say that he out-idioted you? I don’t like the way this is shaping up, Jonny. You have quite possibly become contagious. You stick to your banjo – I’m off to scrub…

  7. Megan says:

    At a recent party we decided to be politically correct and thus were unable to sing anything with a) God b) Jeebus c) angels or d) Christmas mentioned. We chose the Doctor Who theme song as we knew all the words. Reduced one party-goer to tears although he was one of the few who retained his sense of pitch. Beautiful holiday moment that was.

  8. tillylil says:

    Happy New Year.
    You needed that piano tuner bloke that impressed Servalan a while ago. I bet he could improvise with carols.

  9. Ziv Catbee says:

    I dream of caroling. Here in Norway the “singers” sing 1 verse where they all know 1 word and go “nehr nehr nenehr” on the rest.

  10. spazmo says:

    Oh Jonny – it’s not as if they were asking you to carry the piano from door-to-door on Christmas Eve (which is how I read it on the first pass).

    Now that would’ve been an imposition.

  11. ganching says:

    Why not the chickens as well as the cock?

  12. Ivan: A contagious Jonny? Eewww. Doesn’t bare thinking about.

    ‘…I might not be so good for you…’

  13. Richard says:

    You could have exercised the I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue option and just sung every carol to the Minder theme.

  14. Pat says:

    You live next door to a cock? That must be hell in the mornings but no excuse for wishing festering pustules on anyone – least of all a dumb bird. How would you like it?

  15. carnalis says:

    my sympathies to Mrs Short Tony .. for pustules and/or piano

  16. Nadia says:

    The Dr Who theme song has lyrics?

  17. jonathan says:

    Aah… I came here specifically to leave the same comment that I now see was already left at #3 up there by your erstwhile collaborator Sgr Vincente.

    Incidentally something has been troubling me and I think this may be the very juncture and company at and in which to bring it up. Between 1981 and 1984 I was a devotee of Minder and must have paid rapt attention to at least 60 episodes from my black and white bedroom telly. Now I find my entire memory of the Cole/Waterman oeuvre has been reduced to one scene, during which Terry, resplendent in a check-patterned ‘fire damaged’ sports jacket purchased from Arthur’s lock up, hurls a rival heavy over a Ford Granada before making his excuses and leaving for a casual liaison with not one but two pretty Chelsea blondes.

    What I want to know is, am I showing worrying early signs of age- and alcohol-related memory loss, or did every single one of those early 80s Minder episodes feature exactly the same plot?

  18. Found my way here recently from a recommendation in a ‘petite anglaise’ comment, and you’re now firmly ensconced in my ‘random blogs I admire’ section. Really great read.

  19. JonnyB says:

    Golly! Thank you. Hullo and welcome.

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