"Gordon you are a musician aren’t you?"
"…well I’m not sure about that, I like to play but that doesn't necessarily define me a musician" I say to Victor secretly preening my ego.
Victor carries on with his unrelenting praise "well when you play your guitar you really make that thing talk…", "Victor... you are really kind – no, no.. really ..well …I.." Ok sad as it is - I am beginning to enjoy this. False modesty is beginning to kick in.*
The conversation takes a twist "I made my flute talk last night". Victor has been buying second flutes and is learning to play. "Really!... that is great Victor" I say encouragingly . Victor looks at me and leans closer. His gappy teeth. The smell of tobacco, stale BO – all a little too intense, a little too close. He looks carefully around then whispers "I was playing it and then it came out with it…"..."what" I say pinned to the wall – nowhere to go. "It said …James Galway is a f**king w**ker!!" Victor leans back - I breathe again. "It shocked me too" he nods in empathy!
Later I think back to a moment with Bethan my 8 year old daughter. She is doing that stalling for time thing that kids do so well at bed-time. "Tell me about someone from history…". I’d just read about Ghandi going to church for the first time in South Africa – but being told by someone at the church that there was a church for his type around the corner. So I tell her. I finish and she thinks, then looks at me and says "shame – he should have come to our church – we’re a church for everyone!"
I fear that with the emergence of designer churches - I’m not sure where the Victors of this world will fit in.
[* actually I am a very poor guitar player – anyone in our service yesterday would pay testimony to my butchering of several songs that were used!!]