On the Telegraph Road

The other night as I walked home a man approached me. He was overweight, short hair, about fifty years of age.

It was late, chilly. I was carrying my guitar, Yamaha Acoustic, in a case. I had almost slipped past the doorway of my local pub when he came hastily out of the door.

He walked toward me, smiled, slightly breathless. He held up his hand to stop me. I wondered if he knew me? Some character from my distant past? College? Work?

‘Excuse me, he said, ‘do you have a plectrum?’

‘Are you winding me up?’

‘No’, he said. ‘I’m playing a gig in the pub and I’ve come without any plectrums’.


‘Have you got a spare?’, he said, with a slight urgency.

‘I think so’.

‘A medium?’

I laughed, he was lucky I was passing. Now he wants a specific type of plectrum.

‘Yeah’, I replied, ‘I don’t like the hard ones’.

‘Been playing a gig?’, he asked.

‘Er, no’.

A pause.

‘I’ve been with a two and three year old’, I said, ‘both boys. Every two weeks or so I play the guitar to get them into music. Start them early. They play my guitar too, they love it’

I fumbled about in my jacket pocket, found a plectrum. Gave it to him.

‘How much’, he asked, ‘I’ll  pay you’.

‘No, on the house’.

‘Want to stop for a drink?’, he offered.

‘No, better get home’.

It’s all rock and roll around here. The spirit of the sixties lives on. Off I strode into the distance and he went back to his gig.

No doubt he approached me thinking I looked like the kind of guy who could play Dire Straits, ‘Telegraph Road’ from memory. I can’t ….. but maybe he could. I should have asked him.