Women have always frightened me. It stems from a concert I was part of when I was ten in 1967.
In a ruse to get off maths at my Balham primary school, violin lessons were offered. The consequences of this was me failing maths O-Level three times, the irony being I’m not first violin at the Royal Opera House.
I have a musical ear: I can sing, and, as a ten-year-old, adapted to playing the violin so proficiently I was invited to attend rehearsals for a concert to be given at an all-girls’ secondary school in Tooting: Garratt Green.
In my formative period of ten-years, I’d been mainly shielded from girls – apart from looking curiously at the covers of magazines (we never had in our house) at the barbers and my mum, twenty-four years my senior (girls in my class didn’t count, I’d known them since I was four, and they were all soppy anyway).
What I’d not encountered were ‘big’ girls – those taller and older than me and, especially the other violinists, more threatening.
However, and for an only child, most of the girls in the string section were like older sisters to me and I was put at ease – I think sharing my rosin helped.
I look back and amaze myself none of them put me inside my violin case. I like to think, being a bit nerdy, they felt sorry for me. Whenever our cross country runs from Bec took us near the school, I look back fondly at those girls, to whom I’m grateful, for preparing me for adolescence, something I’m probably still going through.