Catrin needs a new piano. One with 88 keys.
Frankly, it's about time. She's been working with an electric piano that must be about 20 years old or more and only has 76 keys. More than enough for Bach, but this is the 20th century.
So a while ago I sent her with a friend to the Piano Shop in Bordeaux. She talked to a young salesman with an amazing piano technique. "This is what you need, this is what they use on that course", said the salesman, smiling as he showed her a model that cost almost double our budget limit.
I looked at the thing on the internet. It did look very impressive. It was also very expensive.
I contacted a friend who knows these things. "I would find your budget very restrictive", he said.
No sweat. There's a knack.
OK, listen, this is what we'll do. We'll wait till you start your course and see what they use.
Catrin has discovered that they use a miscellany of rag-tag and bobtail keyboards and pianos, some traditional, some digital, most in a worse state than our old one.
So back online I went. What could we get within our budget that would do what we need and have a good piano-style keyboard? I found a model by Yamaha that seemed pretty good.
Off I went to the other piano shop. It wasn't there. The guitar shop across the street was still there.
Where's the piano shop now?
But you still sell keyboards on the quays?
No. The shop on the quays has closed too.
Oh! So now it's just guitars and winds?
Yup. That's it.
But you guys are doing OK?
Yes, we're fine, though it's tight.
Who sells keyboards in Bordeaux, then?
Well you could go to the piano shop or to a keyboard shop near the Pont de Pierre.
I went to piano shop number one (see above). There was the model I had identified. I poked it and prodded it. A salesman appeared, smiling.
"It's a good one, this. Let me show you what it can do."
He gave me a ten minute recital including:
some piece or other by Chopin on piano,
Bach's toccata on Organ (sounded ghastly, but I didn't tell him that),
99 Red Balloons played by a synth band and
The Girl from Ipanema accompanied by a funky bossa-nova rhythm section.
I am sure that you get the idea. He obviously had quite an accomplished piano technique.
"And the keyboard?"
"Yes, it's good."
I thought that the quality of the keyboard was probably of more importance than the multiple speeds of bossa-nova that were available.
"Now tomorrow is the first of October and all the prices go up."
"Yeah, yeah", I thought. Usually my reply to that is, "Oh dear, now I CAN'T buy it. I promised my father NEVER to respond to that tactic."
"So what is the price now?"
"Come with me and we'll see what we can do."
He looked at his price, then at what Thomann, Amazon, etc. were selling it at.
"I'll match their price", he said.
"Done", quoth I.
So today I hied me away into the heart of Bordeaux in the Citiz car to collect it.