I can’t remember exactly when I noticed the rusting dentistry chair and surgical tools in the corner of the workshop, but I remember the subsequent feeling of dread that washed over me. Matt had seemed like a nice guy when we first met, but I’d seen enough low budget horror films to know where this was going.
Obviously, the cymbalsmithing was a ruse – little more than a deception. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. The workshop, with its white, windowless arches suddenly seemed like an inescapable cave. With tracks running overhead, the walls shake with each passing train and the workshop fills with the sound of countless cymbals and miscellaneous sheet metals reverberating against their metal shelving. It may as well be the sound of a high-pitched, staccato string section. I notice the large dull apron; a face obscured by a gas mask and goggles; an angle grinder swinging at his side. He’d locked the shutters when I entered. An innocently industrial setting. I was never leaving this place.
I left at 18.15. I didn’t ask about the dentist’s chair. I didn’t have to, really. It turns out Matt Nolan is genuinely a cymbalsmith. He’s not a serial killer. Statistically, however, it’s probable that there are more sociopaths than cymbalsmiths in the UK. Cymbalsmithing is an unusual profession. It’s so unusual that Matt is the only person in the UK independently making cymbals, alongside only a handful of other individuals worldwide. He takes a lot of pride in this fact and this is reflected in the quality of his work.
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