I have a bouzouki. It has eight strings, and tunes like a violin or a mandolin, but an octave lower.
So, the thing is with a little practise my bouzouki playing is becoming less rubbish, and more acceptable to human hearing.
I love playing it in any setting, whether the slightly dodgy Greenday cover my brother attempted with me last Thursday at open mic, solo leading worship in church, or in a band with other people. The slightly coarser sound it gives when compared with a regular guitar is enough of a contrast to make it interesting while sufficiently similar to blend.
It’s enough of a passion in my life right now that a colleague of mine from work has purchased his own bouzouki, and my four year old son can tell the difference between guitar, bouzouki and mandolin at a cursory glance.
If only my other passions were as acceptable. It’s fine to tell folks that I come with a bouzouki and it’s a given part of my world.
Here begins the slight rant… bear with me.
Peversely, it’s more difficult in recent times to be acceptable as a married man. Nobody has yet taken open offence at my blatant heterosexuality, but I’ve been asked already why I bothered with a bit of paper in these modern times. When I told one person in general conversation I was married, I got a list of reasons they weren’t bothered about it, and a defence of their position.
My appreciation of Terry Pratchett, home brewing, new or slightly odd board and card games and the music of Paul Hindemith are usually met with barely contained indifference. (I have mostly given up politics on the basis it’s got me nowhere up ’til now, and I went to school with Aidan Burley so I know what my generation of politicians look like already thanks.)
The most tricky one, however, is matters of faith. I’m a Christian. I believe sincerely in a creative God who made me and takes personal interest in my welfare. This leads on to a host of other related beliefs and these are precious to me. I’m not trying to explain or defend my faith here, and I’m happy to discuss it with people who want to know more about my beliefs, but what makes it difficult is the number of people who are very quick to explain to me why I believe more or less the same as them (never quite the same, but it’s important we conform for some reason), or which bits of my cherished belief system they accept and which bits they think are foolish.
Oh thanks. What I really need to hear is what you think of my beliefs. I don’t believe in God or Jesus as a fashion statement or to make a point. It’s simply a part of me. Accept it’s a part of me. Or don’t, but don’t dismiss or try to moderate it like a poor taste in literature or a penchant for obscure musical instruments. If you don’t like it, that’s OK. We don’t need to worry about differences in religion unless it’s a big problem for you.
Love me, love me the way I am, straight, married, bouzouki-strumming, game-playing, Jesus nut. I assure you I’m not going to make an effort to have a problem with you for being different to me.