I’m not entirely sure where this exact moment fits, but it’s one that I don’t want to lose in the hurly-burly of life. Regular book-related shenanigans will recommence shortly.
I was heading back from GollanczFest at the weekend, and for reasons best known to the train operators, my train went from St Pancras rather than King’s Cross. I found myself with some time to kill, so was wandering through the lower level of the station when I noticed a group of people standing around, phones out recording something.
That something turned out to be two guys playing the piano. The same piano, at the same time.
The taller one sat to the left, with what I initially thought was his son on his right. When I got a little closer I could see that the shorter of the two was older, wild hair flicked into a comb-over. They were wearing identical jackets, deep blue with flecks, and matching socks. They played with a joy and synchronicity which was a sheer pleasure to watch. They’d take turns flicking the pages on the music with a dramatic flourish, sometimes pausing to push the book back up onto the stand, the other taking up the playing as they did so.
They clearly did this a lot. Hands would cross, fingers picking out the melody. The older would sit back, smooth down his errant hair then launch back into playing. The younger would occasionally glance across at his partner, a smile on his face.
They’d drawn a small crowd of onlookers, tired passengers on their way to far-flung places. Most had their phones out, recording the moment for posterity.
Me? I just stood and watched, and listened.
Sometimes it’s not about the photograph, the video, putting the camera between you and the moment. Sometimes you just need to live it, to soak up the experience, to be *there*.
But then sometimes you just want to try and catch it later, fleeting as it was. I know that this will mean virtually nothing to you, dear reader. But I hope that in the years to come I’ll look back on this and remember those two guys playing a piano in a station in London, and it’ll bring a smile again.