My Dad was a strummer. He grew up a working class Liverpool kid, one of 4 who slept together with a newspaper-wrapped hot brick to keep out winter chills. Though he opted for the financial sector, the family business was Atherton's Typewriters, servicing the many machines that came in off the transatlantic ships in one of the busiest ports in the world. He made his first bikes and guitars, then saved the cash to buy one: a Hofner "Senator", purchased in the early '60s at Hessy's music shop, Liverpool; the same shop where 4 other kids bought their kit and went onto good things. My Dad's Hofner was a semi-acoustic. It had cello or "f" holes that I "mailed" things into when I was a baby. Cutlery mostly. The guitar would rattle when Dad picked it up, as he did most evenings after dinner. My son did the same thing to my guitar, mailing spoons and forks into the round sound hole. I can tell you, when your dad leaves, these details are everything.
|English Senior, when he was junior (on left).|
|A young Jonny looks on as Dad strums.|
|Jonny's favorite corner, with added Taylor.|
With the Hofner always there, I became a strummer. It was a whore to play, which I guess may have helped me learn. I've long known that I can't dance for shit, but I can strum a guitar, and no more. Rather than make my own, I recently convinced my beloved to invest in my passion for a quality stringed instrument. Tommy B told me I should get a Taylor, an America guitar - like he knows shit. But he chose well.
If May is the finest month in new England, February has been the worst. So I pick up my guitar and play.
Funny thing. As a kid my Dad went to the Cavern Club to watch the rag-tag bands play, but my Mum's parents were proud - it wasn't the place for a daughter. So my folks played out their courtship ballroom dancing. My Mum was a hairdresser in Liverpool's Penny Lane. She cut George Harrison's Mum's hair, but told her she didn't much care for the Beatles.
Funny how shit pans out.