You know what I'm like. I know what you're like. But we can't say it rightby Ali Smith / October 25, 2008 / Leave a comment
You’re something else. You really are.
This is the kind of thing you’d do. Say you were standing outside a music shop. You’d go into that shop and just buy an accordion. You’d buy one that cost hundreds of pounds, one of the really big ones. It would be huge. It would be a pretty substantial thing just to lift or to carry across a room, never mind actually play.
You would buy this accordion precisely because you can’t play the accordion.
You’d go into the shop. You’d go straight to the place they keep the accordions. You’d stand and look at them through the glass of the case. When the assistant, who’d have noticed you as soon as you came in—partly because you look (you always look) like a person of purpose and partly because you happen to be, yes, very eye-catching—came straight over to serve you, you’d point at the one you wanted. The shop probably wouldn’t have that many makes of accordion, maybe just five or six. You’d point at the one whose name you liked the sound of best. You’d like the sound of a word like Stephanelli more than you’d like the sound of a word like Hohner. It would also be the one you liked the look of best, with its frame (if that’s what they’re called) made of light brown wood, a good workaday colour; the other accordion makes in the case would look too lacquered for you, too varnished, less ready for the world.
When the assistant asked you if you’d like to try the Stephanelli before you purchased it, you’d simply hand her your bank card. You’d take the heavy accordion home. You’d sit here on the couch and heave it out of its box and on to your knees. You’d press the button or unhook the leather strap or whatever keeps its pleats shut. You’d let it fall heavily open like a huge single wing. You’d let it fill itself with air like a huge single lung.
But then that thought of the accordion being a bit like a single wing or a single lung would make you uneasy. So this is what you’d do. You’d go back to that shop. And although you can’t really afford it, although you can’t even play one accordion, never mind more than one, and although playing two accordions at once is actually…