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Words Words Words

Retrospective blog from 2010

Well I have been accused lately of being shy of the written word. Well, I have been listening to words, taking notes on words, speaking words, in order to meet new people and most importantly, singing words. For a while, there were no words left. It’s enough that I had to remember words and that was my biggest fear of the last fortnight.

When I commit a promise, I see it the whole way through and give it my best effort. I spent weeks listening to Dinah Shore and Peggy Lee songs just to make a good selection for my performance in the 1940’s concert. I even set my schedule to fly back from Argentina to make it back in time for the show. I would have stayed longer and made many more friends. One of whom made a timely introduction into my life. At first I called him, ‘Marmite Man’, (special powers to eat Marmite and cheese), but I thought this was a little derogatory. Thinking a little more about it, Paddington Bear came to mind. As a few of us met together for dinner one evening, Paddington asked me if I am spy due to all the travelling and because I wouldn’t refer to some people by name. For example, I couldn’t and wouldn’t fully explain what on earth I was doing in the city. So, he concluded that I am a spy, especially when I wore my red beret. From that we developed the code names of Agent Arrow and Agent Bear.

When I arrived in Argentina, my host was bemused by the presence of the largest pot of Marmite I could buy. But if you have read my blogs, you will know that this gift was a year overdue for Agent Bear. It was the best trade off I could ever imagine. I was taken out for a steak, which we ordered for one. The two of us together couldn’t tackle it and I was told lots of stories about the city by my Brazilian friend. But I think fate had a plan, the timing of our meeting was more than coincidence. Agent Bear just happened to know of an open mike night in San Telmo. I was already having singing lessons in the city to help me with my breathing and delivery, but the real problem I have is performing in front of people. I spend much of my professional life trying to help people gain confidence, that’s it’s odd I don’t have enough in this area.

The thing is, I know I can sing very well, in my house, in the shower, when I am ALONE. In these places I am relaxed and no-one can judge me, but performances are better on a stage, and performers better with an audience. In the back of my mind, I imagine Simon Cowell type criticism for all the wannabes that appear at the beginning of shows like, ‘The X factor’. It would be simply awful to discover I might be delusional. I can cope with being terrible and then I can move on. Those that are delusional bark up the wrong tree for many years. Coincidently, barking is often the noise made by wannabe performers

As my motto to others is to be brave, I knew this had to be my ‘carpe diem’ moment. So I seized it, Agent Bear fortunately played guitar and sings, he offered to accompany me on stage to perform, ‘Blue Moon’. The chords we worked out just minutes before. I also decided to sing a verse from’ Feeling like someone in love’, at the end of Blue moon, acapella. I had listened to a female singer murder the song earlier in the week. I declared it would have to be rectified if I was ever to lose the horrifying memory of her performance. So I sang it, I am aware that I sound conceited to decide that I did a better job of it. It actually went very well, apart from my left leg shaking like a blender. I had to shift my body weight from time to time to control it. I had enough power left in my body to say “Muchas gracias”, before I stepped down. By that time, according to Agent Bear’s friends, I had become as white as a statue.

The following week was equally as interesting. I had chosen a new song, ‘Feeling Good’ and I mailed the song to Agent Arrow, who promptly forgot to turn up with the chords. This time, his friend, who he admitted was a better guitar player, accompanied me on stage. But without the chords we needed somewhere quiet to practise, so all three of us trundled into the girls’ toilet. It was not my finest hour, but at least I can say I been to the bathroom with two men. Whether our activities were pure in nature or not, we were promptly told off by the management. It all went rather well, except that he didn’t know the tempo of the piece and started to speed up, by which point I fluffed my lines and it was noticeable. The valuable lessons I learned and managed to put into practise later in the real performance was to make up it. Don’t let anyone know, sing some words, any words and keep smiling.


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