The name was all that held them together. Splinter in Your Side: it was considered one of the cleverest band names in the county, and worthy of a band far better than Martin's.
Most band's were better than Martin's. They could improve, he always insisted, if only they practiced more – but practices were difficult to come by. They could never start until two in the afternoon, because that was when Doug liked to get up on weekends, and they had to end by five so that Jason could watch his soaps. As at least and hour and a half of each practice was dedicated to mucking about, and Adrian was always glued to his phone throughout, not a lot got done.
This is what Martin pondered as he leant against the wire fence, guitar cradled in his arms. The tennis courts were generally quiet on a Saturday morning, making them the perfect place to muse or practice a tricky riff – and this new riff was an absolute gem. It had come to him when he was avoiding revising for a chemistry test. He had, of course, failed the test, but that was a small price to pay for a melody like this one.
But even the gentle up-and-down of the tune couldn't lift his spirits. Martin's school wasn't particularly uptight or snobby: it was the average British boarding school. And in the average British boarding school, an easily distracted rock band found it difficult to thrive, even if they had a fantastic name.
The music department was getting on just fine – no problems there. St Violet's School Orchestra was the most successful for miles around, with a trophy cabinet twice the size of the largest instrument. Being a member of the orchestra was a real privilege. Being a member of Splinter in Your Side was not.
As Martin played the riff over and over again, his calm smile started to tweak down at the corners. Why should one musician get a round of applause and another get booed off the stage just because they had different names for their music? In the end, it was all the same.
By the time Martin stood up, he had gained a full-on scowl. People put too much stock in names.