'My bassoon Grade 5 has served me well in life,' muses middle-class man

A MIDDLE-CLASS man forced to learn the bassoon as a child has reflected on how useful that skill has been to him in adulthood.

Joseph Turner spent countless hours aged between eight and 16 learning the wind instrument, and now as a 49-year-old is recognising how worthwhile that was.

He said: “The bassoon is a harsh mistress but a rewarding one. Where would I be without her?

“I’ll never forget the thrill of making it through Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze without a single wrong note. While my peers were partying and making sweet love, I was coaxing beauty from my instrument. No regrets.

“And it’s stayed with me ever since, in the loft. Do I still play it? No, not these last 33 years, but I remember the lessons it taught me. Controlled breathing. Accurate fingering. Reading music.

“Admittedly none of those things help in my career as an actuary, but all my middle-class peers have flute, guitar, piano or French horn to grade 5, so it must contribute somehow.”

He added: “Of course I’m passing it down. Elbert is learning classical guitar and Lark’s a whiz on the harp. They’ll thank me for it.”

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Single point of commonality between two best friends' husbands means they are eternally condemned to hang out

A SINGLE area of common ground between the husbands of two best friends means they are condemned to endure each other’s company for eternity.

Both Tom Logan and Steve Malley are football supporters, which according to their wives means they are close mates who like to see each other twice a week minimum.

Malley said: “First he’s a f**king United fan. Second, that’s literally it.

“That’s all we have in common. He reads massive thick history books, I watch telly. I go out mountain biking, he likes gardening. I love a curry while he’d always go for a Chinese.

“However he’s married to Kelly and I’m married to Abby, so every f**king weekend we’re parked together like kids in a soft play. ‘Oh, there’s a game on so we thought we’d leave you two to it’, ‘Oh, I told Kelly you’d join Tom in the pub’, et bloody cetera.

“I’ve tried to tell her we’ve got nothing in common and hours in his company feel like days, but Abby just says, ‘You like football, don’t you?’ But that’s not enough. Not with him.”

Logan said: “Steve and I are on a lads’ weekend at Cheltenham Races soon. Christ, I hope we can get through the three days without speaking.”