Monday, 6 October 2014

Cabaret

I'm currently on a 134 bus heading back from Central London with Nathan, Lli and Lli's Mum, Silvia.

We've been at the writer's cabaret all night, where I sang Abba's Happy New Year and Nathan and I sang Love Is Everyone from our wedding. It was a deeply surreal, terrifying, yet wonderful experience. It suddenly struck me, as I sat down to play, that I've never sung into a microphone whilst playing the piano in public before. It's a curious experience. You have to keep your head entirely still, which is useless if you move around as much as I do whilst playing the piano!

The premise of the evening was that each of the writers sang a cover version of a song which has inspired them before performing one of their own songs. My piano playing is so ropey that most of my best compositions (and indeed the songs which have inspired me over the years) were entirely out of the question. Fortunately, Love is Everyone is relatively easy to play, as well as being the nearest thing I have to a hit, and Nathan's being there next to me as co-writer and co-vocalist made me feel a lot less panicky. I was hugely nervous... I think all of us were. Writers are often  just not used to performing, and yet our standards are incredibly high...

Happy New Year was an eccentric choice to perform in October, but it's a song with great significance for me. It's one of the most beautiful ABBA lyrics. "Man is a fool, but he thinks he'll be okay, dragging on, feet of clay, never knowing he's astray, keeps on going anyway..." And those words were written in a second language!

I can't tell you how lovely it was to be surrounded by fellow composers, all of whom were remarkable in their own way. The evening's MC was the lovely Bobby Cronin, a hugely well-respected cabaret song writer from New York. The rest of the writers were Brits, and we all had very distinct styles, from the beautiful lilting folk of Eamon O'dwyer to the Disneyesque joys of Jake and Pippa, who are writing next year's new commission for NYMT. They were the stars of the show really... They have a fabulous working relationship which seems to be entirely based on rather public rowing! Frankly, I could watch them for hours, singing then rowing, then singing then rowing again...

After the gig we went off to the 24 casino at the old Hippodrome, which is a really very pleasurable place to sit late at night. Nathan tells me it can get minging, but food is very reasonably priced and it wasn't too loud.

Top marks of the day go to Perry, who was the ONLY NYMT member to come to the gig, despite it being not just me performing, but Jake and  Pippa. Life, when you're a wannabe performer, is all about networking, and taking every opportunity you can to get yourself out there. Perry's presence was rewarded with a whole room of important people to meet including a top casting director and, of course, all the writers who were there. I hope he gets a decent opportunity as a result. He deserves it for his tenacity.


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