Why “Bugleboy”?



Why have I called my blog “Bugleboy”? Well there’s a bit of a story behind this. Something happened to me when I was a teenager at school which taught me a lesson. Unfortunately I failed to apply what I learnt to my life. I’m now 55 years old and not quite where I want to be. I’m at a point where I have to do some rebuilding in my life and i’m going to call upon that lesson, learnt forty years ago, to help me on my way.

The story goes like this. i was the trumpeter in my School’s army band. At the end of the year the band was called upon to perform for an important end of year parade in front of parents, teachers and dignitaries. We had a rehearsal a few days before the actual event and my bandmaster surprised me by coming up to me just before the rehearsal and telling me that I would be playing the ‘Last Post’, solo. ‘But Sir’ I said, ‘I haven’t had time to practice’. He replied, ‘You’ve done it before, you’ll be OK’. ‘Oh shit’, I thought.

The whole school was lined up at the rehearsal and the stage was reached where I had to march out by myself. I lifted my trumpet nervously and put it to my lips. I did my best but many of the notes which came out sounded as though they were coming from a  fight between a chicken and a cat, with perhaps a drunken ferret thrown in. The embarrased looks from teachers and the stiffled laughter and guffaws from my fellow students and ‘friends’told the story. I marched back to my place, my face red from a mixture of embarrasment and rage.   The portly Vice Principal rolled his eyes and said to the teacher next to him “Oh my God, What will we say to him?” My music master came up to me later and said, ‘Well, Wiliams, let’s face it, it wasn’t exactly your best performance was it?. Do you want to go ahead with this or will I find someone else?’ One side of me said “Go on, give this up and save any further embarrasment”. But another side said, “No, teach these bastards a lesson, practice this thing and blow it right up their arse”. I resolved to do the latter.

I practiced furiously over the next couple of days – I must have played it over a hundred times.  Sometimes i would play it perfectly, the next time it would be a complete mess. Voices of doubt rose within me saying “You can practice it as much as you want, you’ll still screw it up on the day”. Somehow I pushed those doubtfull voices aside. I wanted to deprive my fellow students and teachers of the  light entertainment they were expecting on the day. More than this I really wanted to prove something to my self.

The day arrived and I put on my uniform and packed my trumpet. Just as I was going out the door, my father said,’ Hang on, wait for me”. ‘You’re coming?’, I asked nervously. ‘I certainly am, I want to be the proud father you know”. Oh God.

I stood in line with the rest of the band, playing along and listening to interminable speeches.  The sweat ran off my hands and my heart thumped harder as my time drew near. Finally it arrived and I found myself walking out to the microphone. I looked at the sea of faces. My better friends looked sympathetic and encouraging. The Vice Principal looked ahead, stoney faced. My not so good friends looked expctantly, hoping for a complete screw up. My shaking hands brought the trumpet to my trembling lips and I blew………..

It was as though somebody had pushed the nervous, trembling me aside and had gently taken over. The notes slid out smoothly and sweetly. The pauses were just right and the last long note tapered off perfectly into the crisp autumn air. I walked back to my spot amidst the stunned  silence.

My music master walked over to me after the parade and said “Williams, was that you, was that really you! That was perfect! It was as though it was a different person playing from the one on Friday”

Oh I felt good. I felt sooooooo good – I’d really blown it up them.

So I learnt something from that  – have faith in yourself and blow it up the doubters.

If anybody has a story about something that had a major impact on their lives, i’d love to hear it, and i’m sure others would too.  See ya later.   Bugleboy.


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