Sunday, 5 August 2012
Fruitcake piano blues
Daniel is passionate about his art. I once saw him get the waitress in the Art Bistro to tell a table of noisy customers to quieten down while he was playing. They do as they're told.
Daniel has given up a lucrative career at a German bank and an intense relationship with a girlfriend who has since given up poetry – she won a number of national competitions – in order to study law. I listen to Daniel as he patiently explains the creative differences between classical and jazz pianists; the challenge of trying to be improvisational when classically trained. About an extraordinary Hungarian jazz pianist called George on the cruise ship they worked together. Carried all his sheets in his pocket (everything else improvised). We draw parallels between writing and playing the piano.
Amongst many other things, we discuss smoking, the disintegration of personal interaction skills due to social media (he with his Galaxy, me with my Fujitsu Lifebook), bringing up children to be creative, teaching, Japanese tourists who text but don’t talk, the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, Thai temples and getting a shave on the Burmese border. Interestingly, we discover we both use the same popcorn guy at the top of Republicii.
When Daniel talks about something he is particularly passionate about he looks over the rim of his glasses at you, leaning slightly forward.
A large bright red cocktail arrives and is placed in front of Daniel. It has a frosted rim and the stem is decorated with a polka dot ribbon offset by a mint leaf made of plastic. This is soon followed by an enormous round plate upon which is mounted a ball of wonderfully textured ice-cream, in turn mounted on a thick slab of fruit cake flanked by segments of alternately coloured grapefruit. Daniel explains the Art Bistro provides these things in addition to a decent wage – and the bartender likes to try his new cocktail recipes on him. Later on, when we are propping up the bar, I buy Daniel a Cuba Libre.
It seems we both enjoy a drink, or two.