I met a lovely man on Saturday. He was being wheeled past whilst I was playing the piano in the Royal Eye Hospital. As his daughter and son in law wheeled him past they were asking him, ‘were you a train driver?’ “what did you used to do?’. I was playing piano but wondering what he used to do, seeing the reflection of them all going past on the piano. I was setting up my stuff for Eyes and Ears, a sound installation in the eye hospital atrium. Piano and Kora. Ros, Mark, Hilary and Graham had yet to arrive with all the wonderful sounds of percussion, clarinet and guitar, with Ebow.
The man being wheeled around was 90, had had a fall and broken his hip resulting in 12 weeks hospital stay. He’d been good before then, only just recently having to stop going to the pub with his friends because he was getting a bit unsteady. Sine hospital, he’d been getting disorientated.
The music seemed to act as a trigger for a few conversations between us that had nothing to do with the fall or hospital or disorientation but a small act of connection, a rebuilding of capacity and a change of scene in the hospital.
That was Eyes and Ears for me. Facilitating a family conversation that brought back good times; the pub, being independent, being witty.
Music is good for that.