A Different Da Vinci Code

, , , , | Right | April 15, 2021

I’m working in a music shop in the early 1970s.

Customer: “Have you got Leonardo, by Donovan?”

Me: “Not sure I’ve heard of that one.”

I hunt through the catalogue.

Me: “Nope, we don’t appear to have that one.”

Customer: “But it’s famous! I heard it on the radio just now!”

Me: “Nope, sorry. Are you sure you’ve got the name right?”

Customer: “Of course, I’m sure! It’s about the famous painter Leonardo da Vinci. He killed himself.”

Me: “Um, how does it go?”

Customer:I don’t know! I just heard it on the radio. It’s about that famous painter who killed himself. It’s a really famous song!”

Me: “Does it go, ‘Starry, starry night…'”

Customer: “Yes! That’s the one! Leonardo by Donovan!”

Me: “Ah, here we are. Vincent, by Don McLean. 45p, please.”

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Open Mics, Open Ears, Open Hearts

, , , , , | Working | April 9, 2021

I go to a long-running open mic night where one of the bar staff is intellectually challenged. His job is to collect glasses and keep the place tidy. He’s a lovely bloke, but people ridicule him a bit behind his back, which is a bit unfair, but there you go — that’s what people do.

Every week, he gets up to sing and utterly slaughters one of the standards; he really is not very good, can’t remember the words, and can’t even read them very well off the piece of paper he’s holding up to read them from. But no worries, it’s what he wants to do, and we don’t discriminate against anyone on grounds of talent or lack thereof.

Then, one day, he sits in front of the piano and starts playing random chords, just plonking his hands down wherever he wants to on the keyboard, and — get this — it actually sounds really good. It’s sort of bluesy and wistful and completely consonantally harmonic. He does this for a few minutes while beaming happily.

And he gets up and gets rapturous applause, high-fives, fist-bumps, the lot, as you’d expect.

His mum works with my wife, and I pick her up and take them both in to work in the morning. She’s going on about her useless son this, useless son that.

Me: “Actually, in the circles I move in, he’s highly respected.”

Mum: “How on earth?!”

Me: “Oh, yeah, he’s really good on the piano. Yeah, you know he’s friends with [Respected Rock Star who runs the club]?”

She went all silent, and now she looks upon him in a different light.

He happily admitted to me that he hasn’t a clue what he’s doing on that piano, and he’s just mucking about and having fun. It doesn’t matter to us; it sounds good enough that we have him back to play on it any time.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for April 2021!

Read the next Feel Good roundup for April 2021 story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for April 2021!

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It’s A Saaaaga

, , , , , | Right | March 31, 2021

I work in a daycare. Our little four-year-old girls are playing on the floor, lying on their bellies and moving some stuffed animals and dolls around. When I move a little closer, I hear them softly singing.

Girl #1: “Here’s a bear! He’s in love with the princess, but he’s just a bear, so what if the princess doesn’t love him back? Buuuuut he’s so big and strong and very, very soooooooft…”

Girl #2: “Theeeeeeeeeee princess doesn’t know the bear is so in looooooooove with her because she is so buuuuusyyyyyy making a new dreeeeesssss… buuuut she loves the bear because he is so soooooooooft… buuuuut she also has a cat who is soooooooft… What are they going to dooooooo?”

Girl #3: “Theeee caaaat was going for a waaaaaaaaalk and then he saw the beaeaear… and the bear was cryyyyyyyyyying and the cat was sooooorry for him, so the cat bumped its head into the bear to tell him that he liiiiiiiiiiked him. Now the bear stopped cryyyyying.”

Girl #2: “And the bear was cuuuuuddling the caaaaaaat…”

Girl #1: “And the princess saaaaaaw them and she went ooooover to them and she wanted to cuddle boooooth of them…”

Girl #2: “And then there was a very nice priiiince who wanted to cuddle them alllll.”

All Three Girls: “They were all so haaaappyyyyyyy!”

Too cute!

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That Darn Cat!

, , , , | Related | March 26, 2021

My younger brother, who is nine years old, has been playing the piano for a few years and works hard at it. One day, I find a video of a cat online and show it to him.

The video features a cat accidentally stepping on a piano, freaking out, falling over the keyboard, and running away, but the cat’s panicked movements on the keys manage to pound out a decent song.

When I show him the video, I expect him to laugh, but instead, he looks bewildered and heartbroken. He whispers, “That cat plays the piano better than me!”

He groans about the cat who plays piano better than him for two days. I now believe his goal is to play the piano better than the panicked cat.

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A Classical Dad Gripe

, , , , | Related | March 7, 2021

When I am growing up, my dad is a big lover of classical music. One year, my dad announces that we are going to visit a friend’s house because they are going to be watching the last night of the Proms. For those who are unfamiliar, the Proms are a series of classic musical concerts held during the summertime in the UK. The last night is usually the biggest one and is always broadcast live on TV.

I assume that the parents will watch this and the children will be allowed to play and watch TV in the other room. No such luck. When they are due to begin, our fathers demand that we come and watch; we tell them that we would rather watch [Popular TV Show] in the other room but they insist. Pretty soon into this concert, we’re massively bored and want to leave.

My dad looks over and sees the kids looking less than enthused and immediately gets frustrated.

Dad: “What’s wrong with you? Why are you not paying attention?”

Me: “Dad, this is boring! Why can’t we go to the other room?”

My dad’s friend immediately shoots his head around and looks very offended. 

Dad’s Friend: “For goodness’ sake! There’s beautiful music playing; just sit and appreciate it!”

Friend’s Daughter: “But it’s just people playing music. We don’t want to watch this. Why can’t we go and watch [Popular TV Show]?”

Dad’s Friend: “I would’ve killed to watch stuff like this as a kid. You should be more grateful!”

Friend’s Daughter: “You must’ve been a boring kid then!”

Friend’s Wife: “[Dad’s Friend], maybe we should let them go and do something else. Clearly, they’re not enjoying this!”

Dad: *Looking at us* “A LITTLE CULTURE ISN’T GOING TO HURT YOU! BE QUIET!”

Mum: “[Dad], calm down. Look, she’s right. This really isn’t something for little children.”

Dad: “NO! YOU WILL SIT THERE, WATCH IT, AND BELT UP!”

So, we were forced to sit there for what felt like forever. Our dads enthusiastically applauded at the end of each number while the kids sat there bored out of our skulls. My dad shooting me nasty looks because I wasn’t applauding. Any time the kids tried speaking to each other, we got loudly shushed. Overall, it was a miserable evening.

On the way home, my dad grumbled about how “ungrateful” I was and how I had embarrassed him. Thankfully, my mum shot him down quickly, asking what the h*** he expected, forcing children to watch classical music, and telling him that he shouldn’t have been such a rude, stubborn idiot! He never tried to make us watch the Proms again after, and to this day, I’ve still no idea why both of them were so insistent about it.

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