A two screw ‘basic’ ligature monologue
It's the year 2059 ..... and you've got mail:
"Hey, remember me?
I’m that two screw ligature you used to have, the one you refer to as ‘basic’ now…..yeah that’s me. I know it’s been a long time but I heard you’ve been talking smack about me all over the internet, so I just want to clear up a couple of things.
I remember the first time we met, it was way back in 2015 when you got your first horn. It seems like a lifetime ago now.
From the first time you set eyes on me I could tell you just couldn't wait to get your hands on me. After some awkward teenage fumbling about you quickly worked out exactly what to do and when to do it. You we’re young, a bit rough but by god you were keen to get it right, and most importantly of all you didn’t judge me…. you just loved me without question, because I’m a two screw ligature…. and I’m functional.
Yeah, you might have left me behind by mistake a couple of times in the early days, but I was always there when you came back. I didn’t blame you for your neglect, I just slipped straight back on and got back to work as if nothing had ever happened, because I’m a two screw ligature…. and I’m reliable.
Remember that time before your grade 3 exam when you forgot I was in your back pocket and you sat on me?! I felt like leaving you high and dry that day, in hindsight maybe I should have but I didn’t, I stayed, because I’m a two screw ligature… and I’m faithful.
The first time I knew something was up was when I saw you looking at your teacher’s setup with those come hither eyes that I hadn’t seen in years. Then came the hushed conversations after your lessons, those late night internet searches, you thought I didn’t notice, but I did (maybe try clearing your browsing history once in a while). You thought I didn’t even notice that time your tried out your friend’s fancy french ligature with it’s minimalist construction and interchangeable pressure plates, and you did it on our mouthpiece… OUR MOUTHPIECE?! How could you?
Then THAT day came, the day that’s haunted me for almost forty years…the day we went mouthpiece shopping, the last day we ever spent together. You knew exactly what to say to keep me calm, “nothing’s going to change between us” “a ligature’s for life not just for learning”. I think deep down I knew you were lying, even if you didn’t know yourself. And to think, I helped you choose that damn mouthpiece, I actually told you it sounded better than your last one (it did), I was really excited for you, for us, for our future. I’ll never forgive myself for being such a fool.
You just couldn't help yourself could you, you couldn’t just walk out of that shop with ‘just a new mouthpiece’. As soon as those fatal words came out of your mouth, I knew it was all over between us.
…..“Maybe I should try some ligatures too while I’m here?”
I wish you’d just left me there and then, thrown me in that box under the counter with the other discarded ligatures, mouthpiece caps and ill-fitting end plugs. At least then I could have suffered with others who’ve known the pain of rejection.
That would have been the honourable thing to do, make a quick decision and deal with the consequences.…for better or for worse. But being the shameless coward that you are, you made me sit there with all those fancy young ligatures while you undressed them all with your eyes, comparing us all against each other like we we’re just pieces of metal, nylon and highly responsive poly-urethane composite, you had your hands all over them as if I wasn't even there. I’ve never felt so old, so ugly so sonically inferior as I did in that moment while I watched you gently screw them on and off, one by one… a tenderness I hadn’t seen from you in some time by that point.
Even though you walked out of the shop that day with a fancy new ligature, you couldn’t just leave me could you. Of course you couldn’t, you were scared the change might be too much. You wanted to know that you could always fall back on something functional, reliable, faithful.
Once you had the taste of a new mouthpiece and ligature it wasn’t long before you took out a crippling loan and bought yourself a ‘pro horn’ ooooeeerrrr weren’t you a fancy pants.….was it a Mark VI or something? I can’t remember, you didn’t seem to mention it much at the time..…NOT. Everyone who’s sat in a room with you for more than 30 seconds knows you have a Mark VI. Get over it.
So there I sat at the bottom of your old case, for what felt like decades in the dark, feeling discarded and alone, until that day you decided to trade your first horn in for a glow in the dark self cleansing mouthpiece 4D printed from fair-trade kale. Idiot. But finally after all those years I was freed from your dungeon of neglect.
It doesn't matter how many gold plated, cryogenically treated, super responsive ligatures you’ve worked your way through since me. I know you’ll never forget the time we spent together, I know you’ll never forget those early days when things were simple, just you, me and a rico 1.5…fumbling through your ‘tune-a-day’ book without a care in the world.
I know that one day soon you’ll hit rock bottom when it doesn’t matter to you any more how minimal the contact area with your reed is or how much your setup looks like Chad Lefkowitz Brown’s (I can’t believe that fossil can still play), and that’s when you’ll come crawling back to the one ligature who keeps your reed in place no matter what, because I’m the basic f***ing two screw ligature, and I GET THE JOB DONE!
Now before you go trying to track me down I’ve got some bad news for you honey, the only way you can get me back now is if you go on eBay and pay £450 because guess what, it's the year 2059 ...and I’m vintage now bitch."