One of my ambitions when younger was to be the sort of romantic soul who plays the violin at an open garret window above an antique city square; my only audience the maid next-door; my only accompaniment the mewing alley cats. A moonlit virtuoso, my graceful silhouette would inspire sensitive Italian shadow puppeteers and German woodblock printers.
Alas, this ambition was never fulfilled.
At school, despite being the only applicant for an idle violin, I was denied instruction on my chosen instrument. The excuse given was my left-handedness. A rather prejudiced prohibition it seems now. Nevertheless, my youthful dreams were shattered and I was forced to play either the triangle or marimba during music class; percussion apparently being regarded as an ambidextrous section of the orchestra more suitable for a southpaw.
There was always the availability of private lessons, of course, but what self-respecting juvenile organises his own extra-curricular tuition in anything, except a budding masochist asking to be bullied?
And so the world is bereft of a potential Paganini: for if I played the violin I would call myself Americo Fezzerini; hair swept back off my forehead and hanging around my shoulders, I would wear a satin burgundy cravat and a black tailed coat with patent leather riding boots; perhaps a pince-nez, even.
Then again, there's always the possibility that some philistine ruffian from across the square, jealous of my virtuosity and gallant charm, would repeatedly beat the living daylights out of me if I played the violin in such a manner. So perhaps it's better that I don't.