A hammer, a fork and a piece of rubber.  With these three items I could potentially fulfil one of my life ambitions and tune a piano.  I mean really, just how hard can it be?  Ive tuned a guitar and have a vague notion of the difference between A=440 and A=439.5.  And from what I can see, to tune a piano all you do is shove in the rubber, bang the fork and then apply the hammer to certain points on the instrument and hey presto you’ve got 230 broken strings.

I like to think that anything is possible and, with a bit of application, should be achievable by someone who is prepared to invest a bit of time in understanding the task in question.  Despite this I have thus far never been brave enough to attack my piano with a hammer.  It’s not that I’m worried about breaking the strings – apparently this is part of the learning curve. No, the issue would be my attempting to tune the piano, making a dog’s breakfast of it, and then having to phone my nice friendly piano tuner (Mark Doman from Abbey Pianos) to fess up to the fact that I’ve been a bit of a tit.

And so this week, instead of breaking some high-tensile steel wire, I sat down and watched a film.  The film in question was called ‘Me before You’ and is adapted from the novel of the same name written by Jojo Moyes.   In brief, it’s about a pretty girl (played by Emelia Clarke) who has a wacky dress sense and ends up falling in love with a boy in a wheelchair, who then goes and kills himself.  Whilst it’s quite obvious how everything’s going to end, the film is played out brilliantly.  Despite the subject matter, it’s actually quite light hearted.  After all it’s based on a fictional novel.

But of course, the people who like to get offended, naturally got incensed by this film which came in for some harsh criticism for its rather clumsy treatment of a sensitive subject.

Unperturbed by this, the next night I prodded Netflix for another recommendation and it decided that I should watch ‘Their Finest’.  This film describes itself as a war-comedy-drama.   It turned out that the same chap was playing the lead (Sam Claflin), and once again he managed to kill himself just after he had fallen in love with the girl.

Without reading too much into it, the moral of these films seems to be that life is quite short and therefore we should all make the most of the time we have left.   For some this might be skydiving or swimming with dolphins. Me, I just want to tighten some strings and play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

Jules Addison is a choir leader and organist who is pedantic about music being in tune…


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