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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

We Can All Make A Difference


The power of pluckers and others for good upon the world around us has yet to be tested

Before continuing, the old lady carefully wipes minuscule crumbs with a handkerchief from the corners of her mouth. A cup of tea in front of her is poised on a saucer awaiting more of her delicate sips. And there am I sitting at my desk, fountain pen in hand, a stain of black ink on my finger, writing down her dictation, waiting.

I am in Northwold Primary School, East London, and I am fully 6 years' old. Miss Hague is my teacher and I still see her before me vividly in three dimensions, I hear he voice, see her smile.

Her effect upon me was profound in every way: her sensibility, her education, her manner of speech. My first day at school had been traumatic as surely it is for many. In my case I couldn't speak English, so it was bewildering too. Within a few months that particular challenge had been overcome with ease; no special talent there, five year olds learn languages like sponges absorb water!

The impact of adults upon a child's development is something special. I have never forgotten Miss Hague and a few others including Genever the bowler-hatted English flamenco guitar player, a family friend, whose artistic temperament filled me with huge enthusiasm on his frequent visits.

Now that the boot is on the other foot, I am aware of the unrepeatable power of the influence we have upon the impressionable mind and unformed character. Whether we are parents, or amateur musicians, or teachers, each of us exercises that influence. And yes, it can be a power - a power for good.

Each in our own way can lead by example: and we can do so in our own sphere of influence as did Nelson Mandela on a world stage. As a musician, veteran guitar player Alirio Díaz has done so in Venezuela - he is celebrating his 90th birthday this year. More than a good plucker, he radiates warmth and a love for humanity.

And Miss Hague, may she rest in peace, had that same effect upon me - an abundance of love and kindness. It is so simple really, to communicate just that. Maybe that is enough to make the world a better place, if we all do so together.

Maybe, just maybe it's true: all we need is love. Just a minute, isn't there already a song called that?

7th December 2013, Gibraltar

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