It was not the first time that I had cast a glance in the second hand shop. Passing by the front doors, I saw it straight away – a traditional, upright piano standing among all the sofas and other furniture. Pianos have fascinated me ever since I was a kid, not just for their expressiveness (try playing one – you can be as powerful as an orchestra), but also because a piano is an instrument of fine craftsmanship. So much skill and engineering achievement goes into making an acoustic piano that I felt just a little sad to see this one waiting unloved in a second hand shop. Perhaps the people of Swindon do not have the space for a piano like this, or rather no one has the time or patience to practice their scales and decipher music scores, as tricky as they can be.
As a pianist friend reminded me, there was a time, before the first TVs came out, when most British homes had a piano in their living room. It was a status object, a familiar piece of furniture, and a source of amusement for the family as a whole. The piano in the shop here was on sale for the discounted price of £50.
Just as certain musical instruments lose their value at times, so too can works of art fall out of fashion and become less popular. Nevertheless, I would like to think that the more the world becomes digitalised, the more we will appreciate those items made by hand, both for their capacity to enrich our daily lives, and for the skill invested in them by their creators.