Friday, 18 June 2010

I heard you broke a string?

Yes, but that's an occupational hazard.

It's what you do next that's important.

In Toulouse we would occasionally allow people to sleep in the chapel, upstairs in the office. We allowed Tadzo to do that for quite a long time.

He was an illegal immigrant: he'd turned up with a passport photocopied on an irregularly shaped piece of what looked like grey blotting paper.

He had no French and no English but pretty soon he'd taught himself French with the aid of a Rumanian Bible and a copy of John's gospel in French.

He had toured with a Rumanian orchestra playing double bass but like lots of the homeless people he was a great guitarist.

I'm a big fan of Bartok's Rumanian folk dances suite so I jumped at the chance of learning some of Tadzo's music.

Then, one day a string broke on my guitar. I reached for the case for the spare set.

"No, no, I repair it."

And that's what he did - he repaired the string with fuse wire. Waste not, want not.

Later on, Tadzo got arrested by the border police on his wedding day. At the ceremony itself.

Later still, he was killed in a car crash.

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