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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Stony faced and furious at the Guitar Playing Olympics

Carlos interviewed on Radio Nuevo Leon Monterrey, Mexico, 2009

While at the real games, get ready for bucket-loads of tears

Picture the scene at the Guitar Playing Olympics as the finalists come on stage to hear the result of the competition. Dressed in track suits they await the announcement from the president of the Jury. “For his wonderful performance of the Bach Chaconne the first prize goes to….” On hearing the result the winner performs a hand-stand, runs across the stage with his arms above his head, and finally jumps up and down screaming “yessssss” at the top of his voice. Meanwhile, the losers fall to their knees crying - not just a few tears, but bucket-loads of them, with sobs and shoulders heaving. OK, let me admit to inventing this unlikely scene, but get ready for the real Olympic Games that very soon now will show silly spectacles such as I have described.

In real guitar competitions the only players likely to shed tears are the winners, in which case they are tears of joy. As far as the losers they fall into various categories: the stony faced, the smilers, and the furious - none of whom cry in public. Stony faced are those who wish to disguise their sense of disappointment; smilers are those who can’t believe their luck in getting this far anyway; furious are those who think they deserved to win but have been cheated. There is only one happy bunny in these proceedings, and he or she is the winner.

The trouble with guitar-playing is that it is more than sport, it is also an art. If only we could create a genuine knock-out competition in the Olympic style then it might be easier to designate straight winners and losers and so dispense with the stony faced and the furious. What’s more it might be fairer. To run a race one second faster than the next man makes one indisputably a winner and the other a loser. To win a guitar competition because one is more musically “persuasive” or technically “virtuosic”, let alone because one “has more personality” - whatever that means, invites stony faced and furious reactions from the other competitors.

Sportsmen and women live in the past and present....musicians live in the present and future

Sportsmen and women live in the past and present. They have worked and trained towards the specific goal of winning at these Olympic games. A future games may be too late, they may be too old. Musicians live in the present and future. When they win, their prize is a future garlanded with cash and concerts; lose and there is always another competition just round the corner. Musicians don’t care for their past performances, they think they play better now, and will play even better tomorrow.

Sportsmen cry because they cannot deny they are second or third best, but musicians can, for the measure of their success is vague. So why not start a Guitar Playing Olympics with clear, simple rules about winning and losing? Let’s cut out all the nonsense about “art” and just stick to the basics. Anyone brave enough out there to get the ball rolling on this?

I can think of only one disadvantage of a Guitar Olympics in the unlikely event that we can ever agree the rules, and that is the ridiculous sight of players crying like babies while the winner buzzes around like a hysterical footballer after scoring a goal. Maybe one happy bunny, various stony faced losers and a furious runner-up are not that bad after all.

London, 14 July 2012

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=1373 .
© 2017.

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