The Marathon Circle Of Life

Personally, I really did not know what to call this piece. I felt a sea of emotions over the last couple of weeks, from elation, to sadness, to pride, and everything in between. Watching yet another month pass into our history books, I would like to take some time to just contemplate as to what really happened in the capital in addition to my work. This is important, because what happened, will have an ever-lasting impact in the whole world. Let’s tackle each emotion, and feeling one at a time.

Queen's 90th Birthday

First off, let’s talk about pride. Saturday 23rd April was of course St. George’s Day. The man, most widely known as the Patron Saint of England, can still inspire the best among all of us; a sense of real pride to be English, and British. From Oxford Street and Picadily Circus to Westminster, Whitehall and the entire boroughs of Southwark and Greenwich, it felt like I was living in perhaps the greatest city on the planet, at the heart of the greatest country on Earth. Couple this with the Queen’s Birthday, and Barak Obama’s historic visit, there were troops seen marching near Hyde Park, St James’s Park and near Buckingham Palace. There were men and women with Union Jacks milling about. There was definitely a greater buzz on the streets of Hammersmith and Fulham, around Knightsbridge, and it seemed like even my lovely customers were getting into the national spirit as I visited them to carry out tuning and maintenance jobs on their pianos. I just could not help but think of how many pianos have been manufactured in, and sold by, Britain, as a sense of joy flowed through my veins that whole week.

LondonMarathon2016RunnerDressedAsAGiantShoe

Next up, came the London Marathon. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, this was a record year for the London event, where over 247,000 applicants put their names forward to take part in the event, which finally totalled a very cool 36,000 runners. I guess pride and elation would both go hand in hand here, since it was none other than Major Tim Peake who provided the countdown to the start of the race, right from his International Space Station hangout. While so many people ran a great race, including an actual giant shoe, I felt partly disappointed not to be able to run it myself due to some niggles. Still, there is always 2017, and I certainly hope to run the event, and would really like to thank Metro Blind Sports for their support throughout my campaign. Finally, my condolances to the family of the late Army Captain David Seath, who lost his life during the Marathon, and a well done to so many of you who battled adversity to show your strength and determination in reaching the pinnacle of human endurance as you crossed the finish line near the Embankment.

DJ Derek

This conveniently brings me to the one emotion we dread as human beings: sadness, caused by irreversible loss. As news about DJ Derek from my old haunts around Bristol filtered through, about his funeral last Friday, and the details of his mysterious yet tragic death kept becoming clearer, I could not help but mourn the loss of a West Country icon that stood for diversity and cross-cultural integration, in an era where there was none of it. The following few days then further brought bad news for the Arts. First, we lost the extremely versatile and talented Victoria Wood due to cancer, at the not-so-old age of 62. Then, as if that news had not quite sunk in, we lost Prince. This one was of particular sadness to me. Not only was he extremely innovative as a musician and an artist, he was also just 57, and from the time where in order to succeed, you did not always have electrickery at your disposal; a great voice and all round talent had to be your instruments. From the amazing patriotic highs, to the extreme lows of sadness and bereavement of some of the most iconic figures of their generation, gone in an instant within the space of a week.

Prince PicturedIn1986

So as we approach a rather cold end to April, and make our way towards the bank holiday, I wish to take a moment of introspection. And I ask that whether you had the chance to fly the flag around London Bridge, watch the London Marathon near the Cutty Sark, or pay tribute to your favourite stars of yesteryear around Brixton, there is just one truth to the matter. Life is too short! Therefore, take every opportunity to strive to be the best at whatever you do, so that your name and deeds become your ever-lasting legacy. Have a great bank holiday from AMH Pianos and be sure to pay your tributes in the comments.

VictoriaWood 1954-2016

Looking Back At the Years

It has been quite a journey for me, both personally and professionally, ever since I set up AMH Pianos. With my work gaining constant coverage across London, I have been profoundly affected by the multi-cultural surroundings, which seems to exhibit novel creative and social dimensions not found in Bristol and the West Country. I feel as if the vibes of the capital have moved me; shaped my ways of thinking as well as my perspective in life. I do wonder, what might have been, had I not made the bold move of taking the world on my own terms, in new surroundings. Certainly, whatever has become of me in the last few years, has been a substantial improvement.

With my birthday on the horizon, I reminisce about my own personal development. Ever since my relocation to Hammersmith in West London, I have had the pleasure of meeting so many unique, interesting individuals, from all walks of life. I not only am tasked with looking after their pianos, they are also my friends. Being in the capital, my offerings related to piano removals and full scale general repairs have allowed me exposure to an even greater array of instruments, in different surroundings. Constant exposure to all makes and models has ensured that I am able to provide a better tuning service with the passage of time.

In addition to what I know best, I have also learned the use of social media and have even gained quite a fan following. Blogging, training for the London Marathon, and being exposed to the arts, has without a doubt, filled in many of the building blocks that nowhere else in the country could. However, in the grand scheme of things, all this is merely the tip of the iceberg.

The greatest accomplishment for me, I feel, has been my personal development on the people skills front. Each time one of my customers provide me with praise and thanks, appreciating what I have done, I feel so much taller, yet humbled. For a new place to be favourable, it is not the environment or infrastructure, but rather the people who make up the community. Being blessed to be part of a cosmopolitan, multifaceted and creative mix, I come away each day learning not just something new, but often something so out of the box. This daily phenomena is sufficient to keep me grounded, since whenever I feel like I have learnt a great deal, I also find myself thinking that I have really not learnt anything at all. Still however, there is a long way to go before world domination.

Is London’s music up-tempo?

Having moved to London not so long ago, I have noticed a definite surge in my energy. The crowds and the hustle and bustle, coupled with the relentless pace of life, are all definitely a shock to anyone’s system, especially if the person has not been accustomed to living in big cities. Now that I am settled and gradually becoming more established, I can certainly appreciate the whole spectrum of activity and opportunities that this world-renowned capital of ours has to offer… and I love it more every day.

I love London guitar

Having lived in Bristol and Bath for a considerable chunk of my life, I was fortunate enough to attend plenty of events that featured some of the best music I have ever heard. Whilst Bristol may be renowned for its music scene, there is certainly no place like London when it comes to the Arts. Having just attended an Ed Sheeran gig last week, it got me thinking: does London’s music tempo match its lifestyle?

Comparing the size, population and average distance travelled per week, the pace of London completely dwarfs that of Bristol. I now find myself walking and talking faster and I certainly want to achieve a lot more in the smallest possible timeframe. Assuming that this phenomenon applies to every Londoner, does it mean that I am now listening to more up-tempo music to match my energetic lifestyle? London has certainly given rise to many musical genres including Drum and Bass and more recently Dubstep – both being a somewhat up-tempo take on the world famous West Indian influences of Reggae, Calypso and Steel Band. I have not conducted formal scientific research. However, I do wonder whether or not my music loving customers expect their pianos to be prepared differently to produce more up-tempo and louder sounds so that they can play at top-notch speed. Given that a piano is always a piano and serviced in exactly the same way to produce the best quality of music regardless of location, are there underlying factors expected by the piano player to aid their composition that matches the pace of their lifestyle. It goes without saying that with each passing day I seem to be working faster and more efficiently in line with the London way of life.

Street Piano London
courtesy: streetpianos.com

Humans have a tendency to naturally increase their rhythm over time once they have mastered a particular pattern – a psychological phenomenon known as forward telescoping. It is therefore imperative that strict discipline is required to counteract this tendency if one intends to produce top quality music. The question still remains: Does the pace of London, or for that matter any city, impact the rate of playing or producing music? I would certainly love to hear from my readers purely to generate interesting ideas on the subject that I could one day turn into academic research.

Give a shout out in the comments! :)