vrijdag 26 juli 2013

News in a Rocking World

One of our local pubs is frequently the venue for concerts of local bands. A year ago it came in the hands of a new landlord. The old one had a constant struggle with some of the neighbours because of the noise of the concerts. And so there was a sound limiter, a device that cuts off the electricity of the instruments. So in the old days we used to have fun at unexpected moments when only the drummer could play on. We would all cheer and a technician had to put everything back in working order.
Somehow the new landlord had managed to get rid of this awful thing so there were no limits to the sound at all.

                                          Neil Young and Crazy Horse

This Sunday afternoon a Neil Young tribute band was playing. Neil Young himself normally does acoustic concerts or concerts with Crazy Horse. This band combined it: before the break the musicians played the ballads and after that songs from Buffalo Springfield and Crazy Horse. And they showed how loud it could get. The normal impolite chatting of some spectators had stopped and our ears were almost popping out. The people sitting next to us looked at each other and left in a hurry, leaving their drinks. The crowd was standing in amazement and almost started headbanging. I say almost, the average age must have been between forty and fifty. At that age people don't do that sort of thing.

A man in his eighties shuffled to the vacant seats, carrying a few newspapers, followed by a lady of the same age carrying a glass of water and a glass of wine. While the loudness of the music caused a squeaking in my ears he was reading the newspapers and she was fiddling with her blackberry. After each song she would look up and applaud politely. He read on, nothing could disturb him. Sometimes he would reach out for his water. After the last page of his papers he emptied his glass and stood up. She finished her wine, put the blackberry in her handbag and followed him to the way out of the pub.

The band just started "Keep on Rocking in the Free World".
Did I really see her shaking her head up and down or was it my imagination that fooled me...

dinsdag 2 juli 2013

A Jehovah Witness

"Ah, a no table conference!" and I pointed towards a group of people who were seeming to discuss things on a street corner.
"Jehovah witnesses," answered my wife and now I noticed that one of them, a man with a dark suit, had a sort of clip board in his hands. They obviously were dividing up the neighbourhood among each other.
There was the leader, two women with a child, a couple with a child in a pram and a skinny man with drooping shoulders. Luckily this was not our neighbourhood, but they were close.

I remembered these days in the Netherlands when we would discuss the harassment they caused on the weird times they paid you a visit. We thought about a sign on the door: No knocking at our door before noon. We are allowed by God to sleep late.
Even more after I once started a discussion with a Jehovah. I told the man at the door that wars mostly are caused by religion and that Christianity maybe had the worst record of all. He started fuming and threatening, I thought he was going to attack me. But instead he yelled: People like you cause wars!
After that I was fed up with him and told him to leave my doorstep, otherwise I would call the police. He had placed one of his feet in a manner that I could not close the door. I threatened to slam the door on this foot. But he took it away and walked from my path while shaking his fist to me and yelling things I could not understand. And all this while he was a Dutch man, just like me.

The next week we saw the group again, this time our neighbourhood would get a treat. We did not wait for this, an afternoon in the pub with nice live music is a lot better than arguing with somebody at your door.
But the day after there was a knock at the door. At first I thought there was nobody, maybe children fooling around? I opened the door anyway and there he was: the skinny man with the drooping shoulders. He was younger than I expected when I saw his face.
"I have a great message for you", he said almost apologising and he waved his Watchtower at me. I almost expected him to say: "I guess you are not interested." But he didn't.
So I said: "I'm not interested". He answered in a friendly way: "Have a nice day."
And he shuffled from our path to go on with his fruitless work.