In a way, it closes a chapter: The guitar was used as a dance floor by a woman who was told to watch out for it, while I was waiting to take a piss, in the the back room by the toilets at the Pigalle Country Club, where I was intending to play in the open mic. I had left the guitar in its case against a pillar where I always leave it. It was a soft case, and the guitar got knocked over and stomped on by the manic woman. The Pigalle Country Club is the bar where the guitar features on the cover photo of my CD. The CD consists of songs from my life over the last few years, all of which were composed on that Seagull S6. The guitar actually features on only four of the songs, however, with the rest of the songs being performed with my Gibson J200.
Johnny Borrell sings Vertical Women with my Seagull S6
What is certain is that I will attend even fewer open mics in the future with my J200. For if the Gibson had served as a dance floor to this drunken woman, then I’d be finding it even more difficult to be light-hearted about it. And come to think of it, I’m not really light hearted about my Seagull. I’m as broken as the Seagull is.
Daniel Haggis of The Wombats playing my Seagull S6
This is the Seagull that has been played at various times and in various countries of the world by people like Johnny Borrell of Razorlight; by Daniel Haggis of the Wombats; by one of the guitarists of The Cribs; by many of Paris’s former “baby rockers;” by Andy Flop Poppy of the Flop Poppies; and by countless other great musicians both known and unknown, around the world.
Andy Flop Poppy using my Seagull S6
Having said all that, I seek solace and attitude in the memory of my meeting with the great, wonderful and hugely human singer-songwriter Harry Chapin when I was 18 years old. I’ve frequently recounted the story of how this fabulous performer with the hit “Cat’s in the Cradle,” and I met while he was performing on a television show in which I was both performing and working backstage. Called “Bang, Bang, You’re Alive,” it was recorded in Ottawa, at the CJOH studios. I met Chapin backstage and we were talking in his room while he awaited his moment taping in front of the cameras and live audience. We learned we were both born on the same day – December 7 – although he was maybe 15 years older than me. We learned we both wanted to get into acting school.
Chapin reached out his hand and said, “Let’s make a wager to see who gets to acting school first!” I don’t know if he was just trying to encourage me, or what. But we shook hands. Soon, an assistant producer came and told him that he had to go on stage. He leapt out of his chair, grabbed his Ovation guitar, lost his grip, it fell on the floor and a rib broke inside the guitar. Where I would have been furious, and frustrated and sad, Chapin broke out into laughter and said, “Well, I’ll just have to use it like that!!!” And he ran off laughing to the stage….
After all, it’s just an object, right?!!!? Still, I could never imagine using someone’s guitar as a dance floor.
March 23, 2016 at 2:56 pm
I’m so sorry to hear about your Seagull’s untimely and undignified demise, Brad. It sounds like you’re taking it rather philosophically, though — and I’m glad your memory of that chance meeting with Harry Chapin is helping you keep it in perspective, too. But I do hope you’ll hang onto your trusty-but-banged-up Seagull, if only for the memories!
(PS: I’ve got a very clear picture in my head of the woman who used it as a dance floor. I believe it was the same woman who dug into my purse at the Galway Pub in Paris and coated my camera in Guinness and greasy hand prints in the 30 seconds it took me to greet a friend. She was drunk, of course, so she saw nothing wrong with this behavior. Grrr. )
March 24, 2016 at 8:50 am
Thanks for that story Heather. My first thought was very much along those lines. I was saying to myself, “serves you right for hanging out in these places,” but in the end, I refused to let myself reject the downsides to a lifestyle that has so many rewards otherwise….
March 24, 2016 at 11:22 am
In spite of everything, I’m glad you’re still seeing the rewards instead of the drawbacks, Brad. Good for you!
March 24, 2016 at 11:30 am
Yes, except, of course, there was NO reward in that bar on Tuesday night!!!! Well, actually, that’s not true. The reward is that I have been absolutely astounded at the kindness of people in response to my little disaster. On Facebook there have been all sorts of outpourings of sympathy, which does show how people can be so generous and empathetic towards someone’s pain – in contrast to the lack of empathy shown by the woman who destroyed the guitar….
March 24, 2016 at 7:37 am
So sorry for the loss, and thank you for the story… But by rights, She ought to buy you a new Seagull…
March 24, 2016 at 8:49 am
Thanks Lorin. Yeah, well…. This guitar was irreplaceable. I’ll just start a new chapter now.
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