“You couldn’t not like someone who liked the guitar.”
― Stephen King, The Stand
We spend a lot of time in the West End, it’s where some of our favorite restaurants are, obviously the theatre district, and frankly it’s just a great place to wander. One of Jeff’s favorite areas to meander therein is Soho. Once it had a nicely sizzling reputation as a sex industry district and the site determined as the source of the outbreak of cholera that helped form the science of epidemiology. More recently it’s reputation is as one of the real music centers of the city.
Denmark Street is particularly famous for its shops selling musical instruments and sheet music. At one point several major artists lived, worked, or recorded music there – we’re talking Elton John, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie… It’s basically Jeff’s nirvana (who, incidentally as far as I know, did not record there). Many an evening after he’s indulged me in some window shopping, I head into Soho to return the favor.
Because if Jeff ever makes his fortune, I know exactly what he would collect. Guitars. He’s played ever since he was a kid and even inherited a bass and a custom built electronic guitar (shared with a brother) from a great uncle.
I never went in for the sensitive troubadour types (of which our university had hordes), and Jeff didn’t win me with his musical talents. But I’ve got admit, the dark and deep blues and jazz tunes didn’t at all hurt. I might do for indie and some blues but for Rock in our house, Jeff’s your man.
Like all true admirers, he’s found his favorite local shop: Macaris, with locations on both Charing Cross Road and Denmark Street. And its goods are pretty impressive. They are the only authorised Gibson guitar dealer in the near area, a fact they are pretty proud of, and they sell everything from simple starter guitars for kids and soulful university students right up to the 80’s-est of 80’s rock n’roll royalty gear. Even I, who know nothing about guitars but for what I’ve learned from the devotee I’m married to, was knocked back to see some of their treasured stock – NOT for sale.
They sell other instruments as well, but I think it’s pretty clear their heart lies with the thrumming and plucking sort. But it’s not just guitar lovers we’re talking here!
Fun family fact – among my exceptionally nifty mother’s talents (Classical Greek and Latin included) lies the banjo! She decided she wanted to learn as a girl and worked out the scheme for an instrument and lessons herself. She’s plucky like that. Interesting enough, a sibling followed a bit in her footsteps…
Brig’s teenage wooing and general cavorting choice: the ukelele! Ignore my thumb at the bottom, if you please. But for Jeff, there’s only room in his heart for the one true stringed instrument.