Amérique du Sud, septembre 2005, séries ES et S, LV1: Jonathan Coe, The Dwarves of Death, Penguin, 1990.

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This sentence suggests that he knew his professional life wouldnt be steady, that he would change job many times: "I never did play there again, as it turned out." (1.34); "...the reason I never made it as a cocktail bar pianist was that my répertoire was never wide enough, and I was hopeless at playing by ear." (1.40-1.41)

« Sujet 7 ♦ Amérique du Sud, septembre 2005, séries ES et S, LVI Ail the time I knew Madeline, there was always the sense that she didn't fit -with me, with London, with the rest of the world.

I noticed it the first cime I saw her: she looked so out of place, in that gloomy bar where I was playing the piano.

l'd been in London for nearly a year, and l'd thought that this might turn out to be my first break.

A place in some side street just off the s Fulham Road that had a clapped-out baby grand 1 and called itself a "jazz club": I saw an advert they had placed in The Stage and they offered me twenty pounds cash and three non-alcoholic cocktails of my choice to play there on a Wednesday night.

I mrned up at six, scared out of my mind, knowing that I had to play for five hours with a repertoire of six standards and a few pieces of my own -about fifty minutes' worth of material.

I needn't have worried, because there was only 10 one customer all evening.

She came in at eight and stayed till the end.

lt was Madeline.

I couldn't believe that a woman so well dressed and so pretty could be sitting on her own in a place like that all night.

Maybe if there had been other customers they would have tried to chat her up.

In fact l'm sure they would.

She was always getting chatted up.

That night there was only me, and even I tried to chat her up, and l'd never done anything like that in my life before.

But when you've 1s been playfog your own music for nearly an hour to an audience of one, and they've been clapping at the end of every number and smiling at you and even once saying.

"I liked that one", then you feel encitled.

lt would have seemed rude not to.

So when the cime came to take another break I got my drink from the bar and went over to her table, and said: "Do you mind ifl join you?" "No.

Please do." 20 "Can I buyyou something?" "No thanks, l'm all right for the moment." She was drinking dry white wine.

I sat down on a stool opposite her, not wancing to appear too forward.

"Is it always this quiet in here?" I asked.

2s "I don't know.

I've never been here before." "It's a bit tacky, isn't it? For the area, I mean." "lt's only just opened.

lt'll probably take a while to get off the ground." She was lovely.

She had short blonde hair and a grey fitted jacket, a woollen skirt that came just above the knee and black silk stockings -nothing provocacive, you understand, just tasteful.

[ ...

] 30 Her voice was high and musical and her pronunciation -like everything else about her -showed that she was from some high-powered background.

Her hands were small and white, and she didn't paint her fingernails.


Baby grand: a smaller-sized grand piano.. »


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