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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tuesday 17th February: Operatic Overtures‏

Practised at Alexander's last Friday as Andre has booked us to play at his restaurant for Valentine's Day. It was freezing cold in the summerhouse, but for some reason Alexander insists on practising there. I get the impression maybe Simone doesn't like to be disturbed. As we were setting up, Alexander mentioned that Kieron's been running through our pieces on his bass and has asked if he could join us. Both Michel and myself could see no problem with this. He was just about to tell us about Kieron's mother turning up when the door was pushed open and Kieron appeared, carrying a tray of tea and coffees. As we were still waiting for Ines I took the opportunity to ask about his family. He said his mum had phoned him a few days ago and was not at all happy. She'd turned up at the campsite with his two young sisters only to find an elderly German couple living in the caravan. She blamed Kieron as he'd been left to look after the place. Far from being upset he mimicked his mother's angry voice and laughed about her shouting at him. He said the caravan was a dump. It had no running water, no electricity, was freezing cold in the winter and boiling hot in the summer. What made his mum angry was the response of the campsite owner. She had threatened to call the police but the manager told her, as the couple were paying rent each week, as far as he was concerned, they were entitled to be there. Michel said it must have been awkward for the couple living in the caravan and asked where his mum is now. She's staying at another camp site and refuses to see or speak to Kieron. He doesn't seem bothered. After all, his mother abandoned him when she made the decision to return to England. He's still working at the cafe in Carnac and he likes living at Alexander and Simone's. I think he did the right thing.
When Ines arrived, she apologised for her behaviour at our last gig, assuring us it wouldn't happen again. She seemed very subdued; probably still embarrassed.
I was impressed with Kieron's bass playing and we agreed he should take part in our gig on the Saturday. Alexander asked if he'd like his mother to come and watch. He laughed, saying she wouldn't be at all interested and it would be a waste of time asking.
On Saturday we arrived early to set up. The place was fully booked. It's very popular both with locals and tourists. Ines was the last to arrive as usual, trailing behind Gavin, who was dressed in a full length smoking jacket with a red rose pinned onto the top pocket. He had brought his elderly mother with him and made a big show of finding their table and getting her seated. I was dismayed to see him. I glanced over at Alexander who raised his eyes. (He can't stand him either and thinks he's full of himself). At least Ines was sober. We played the first few songs; Quando, Quando, Quando, The Girl from Ipanema, a couple of instrumental pieces and One Note Samba. As soon as Alexander announced we would be taking a short break, Gavin approached the stage and took the microphone from Ines. He unpinned the red rose from his jacket, handed it to her, then began to sing O Sole Mio whilst gazing into her eyes. I couldn't believe it! Ines was taken in. She just stood like a statue with a fixed smile on her face. The diners seemed to love it, clapping enthusiastically. I made my escape out into the cold night as they demanded an encore.

The others were already outside; Michel, smoking and chatting to Kieron whilst Alexander was pacing up and down in a rage. He was tempted to tell Gavin to get lost, but reluctant to make a scene in public. While it could have been worse and we were lucky the audience enjoyed his singing, we still couldn't believe the cheek of the man. When we went back into the restaurant I noticed Gavin and Ines were sitting at his table, talking to his mother. During the second half I took a few glances over towards their table. His mother was slumped in her seat and appeared to have fallen asleep. Neither was Gavin paying any attention to Ines' singing. He was studying something hidden in his lap. Of course he was texting someone on his phone. The man is unbelievable!
We were tired at the end of the evening but pleased with the way the playing went. Kieron had fitted in really well. We were congratulating him when Gavin made his way over towards Ines and, once again, took over the microphone. Alexander asked him what he thought he was doing, but Gavin waved him away dismissively and began to sing. Most of the diners had left but a few remained to listen. A few bars into his rendition, he was accompanied by a ring tone to the theme of Nessun Dorma. Ines leapt towards Gavin's jacket pocket, pulled out his phone and demanded to know who was calling. She paused for a moment then hurled the phone across the room where it landed on a table, just missing a couple of guests. There were a few shocked gasps from the audience as she turned and marched out. Thank Goodness most of the guests had gone. I couldn't believe Gavin didn't go after her but carried on singing to the end. He finished with a theatrical bow, ambled over to his table and shook his mother awake.
Michel was amazed at this and asked why Ines puts up with it. Alexander and myself decided it would be best if Gavin doesn't come to any of our gigs in future. (Who's going to tell him I wonder? Hopefully Alexander).
Back at the cottage Coco was curled up on my sofa. I must have shut her in when I left. I made a coffee and listened to some possible arrangements for our next gig. I'm starting to wonder how much longer Ines will stay with us. I'm convinced Gavin would be quite happy to see her give up singing altogether.

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