40 year old scarf donated to CBSO
If you've read any of my contemporary crime books, you'll know how much I love Birmingham and the Black Country. I love the Art Gallery, the Jewellery Quarter, Soho House, the Rep – even the still controversial Library. And most of all I love the dear old Town Hall and the superb Symphony Hall.
I've spent some of the best hours of my life in the last two, listening mostly to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – which made an appearance under a slightly different name in my very first novel, Dying Fall, in which I killed off the principal bassoon. (Happily the real bassoonist, Andrew Barnell, a dear friend of mine, is still alive and kicking.)
During lockdown, like everyone else I had tidy-up moments. Under the stairs. The back of the jam cupboard. That sort of place. Oh, and the wardrobe. There was one item I found there, right at the back, that couldn't join so much else on a trip to a charity shop. A silk scarf – the sort of headsquare the late Queen used to wear. But I doubt if Her Late Majesty had one of these. It was a CBSO scarf, sold back in the Town Hall days and thus some forty years old. Its location had kept it as bright as the day I bought it. But would I ever wear it again?
Eventually I had to admit the answer was no. But it meant too much to me to it to go to Oxfam. It needed a home with people who would know excatly what it was and keep it safe. It needed a home with the CBSO. And this is me handing it over to Rachel Cooper, one of the orchestra's admin team.
I can't get to as many concerts as I would like, but I beg you, if you're ever in my beloved Brum, go and hear the orchestra for yourself.