Thursday, 20 November 2008

A non-good moment: very very nearly being late for Remembrance Sunday

Sunday, 9 November 2008


PLPoppies2I was SO nearly late to play the Last Post for the Remembrance Sunday service on November 9th at St James, the big parish church in Muswell Hill. Fool, Vogel, fool.

This self-inflicted Idiocy Wound was so traumatic that I am not sure I can stand writing about it much. Please bear in mind that I like to be at least half an hour, and preferably much more, early for any gig, and that I am the person I know who most goes on about punctuality and The Six Ps and who most frequently quotes this:

Remember - you can be two hours early for Taps but you can't be two minutes late!

- from, the site run by star US bugler Jari Villanueva and dedicated to Taps, the US near-equivalent of the Last Post. I've quoted Jari's line so many times that for me to be nearly late for the Last Post is beyond hypocrisy and actually reaches into some new wavelength out the other side. Gah!

I had had a terrible disorganized morning. I think my brain wasn't working well as I'd got to bed at 4.00am after the Infanta Marfs's 18th birthday party. Not that I was drunk or anything, just tired and a bit frayed round the edges. I made a very stupid decision that the dog's walk, one of my other duties that morning, had to be done before church - oops, no time. The doggie would have been fine with her walk later and I'd have had a leisurely time and still been up at St James nice and early. There's NO excuse for any of this, but none - it's just total stupidity. I left home in a real flap, and as I turned onto the southern half of the Broadway it was 10.53, with the service starting at 10.55 and the Last Post scheduled, natch, for 11.00. Oh oh oh oh oh not good.

Walk faster, Vogel. See, children, the trumpet player is walking fast. See the fast trumpet player walk. See the fast walking trumpet player's red face. (Pant, pant, pant. Wheeze.)

I hit the church with a few seconds to spare. The director of music and the vicar came haring down the nave for a quick briefing and off we went. As last year, the first hymn ran for a few verses then was interrupted for the act of remembrance itself. During these early verses I was still unpacking the trumpet, putting up the stand, taping the music on and so on with a very loud and insistent countdown going on in my head. How marvellously relaxing.

Amazingly, it actually went OK musically despite the fact that I felt very very far from OK. A gibbering sweating wreck, I then went stumbling off for breakfast in Muswell Hill and tried to calm down a bit. Indeed, I am still trying to do so.

I have grovellingly apologized to the church and had charming and very funny replies (apparently I have been a useful source of anecdotal material for the vicar's teachings during the week!) so I think/hope that I am forgiven there. But I tell you I never ever ever want to feel like that ever again thank you so very much. What a twit. Goodness. Remember - you can be two hours early for The Last Post but you can't be two minutes late!

Picture courtesy of The Royal British Legion who, I think it is safe to assume, would prefer their buglers punctual ...

1 comment:

Strawberryyog said...

Eventually I dropped a line to Jari Villanueva (see above), since I like quoting him so much, about this near-debacle. A sort of confession, in effect. I received a charming reply which pointed out that, despite all the rest of it, the further adage better late than never also comes into play at some point! This made me feel a bit better. What a nice man.