• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 11
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Theme and Variations

A concert hall with people and their fine clothes gathered to listen. On the stage on a podium on a chair a musician on the edge of stardom. She starts with a glissando from deepest bass to highest trill than falls back down. And so the concerto is played, her hands negotiating strings like a loom.

Variation 1
She sends her strings into the world, thrown like a brightly coloured maypole that wraps the audience in an ancient sound. Rhythms and melodies weave in and out in a blur of patterns that sends them giddy.

Variation 2
Eight fingers running up the strings, and don’t forget the thumbs, strum strum. In a bright hallucinogenic hum, strum strum. And the strings strum strum strum strum strum strum. And as the gas runs out her heart bu-dum bu-dum dum.

Variation 3
After the drum-roll that’s her cue, the cadenza. The pause of a hovering hand that gathers pace and races up in alternating thirds and trills around the dominant seventh and falls back down to the minor third, before a progression of bass notes walk off somewhere unexpected.

Variation 4
The man in the fourth-row sneezes. Someone at the back coughs. Squeaky shoes. Interesting smell. A sigh. A snort. And that most precious thing – applause.