Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Against the Tide

I woke up this morning and instantly embroiled myself in admin, whilst, at the same time trying to learn how to sing Against The Tide from Em. The plan had been for me to sing it at the new writers' cabaret this evening, but the best laid plans always go to pot.

I'm sort of relieved that I didn't end up singing it. Having had a cold for a week, my voice is feeling very tired, and, as I sang the song through, I'd find myself getting to the last chorus unable to sing the top notes. 

Anyway, the plan had been to get Jade, one of the regulars at the cabaret nights to play piano for me, but I was waylaid by a phone conversation with the BBC, and when I texted her to say I was on my way, she was already leaving the house to go to another rehearsal. So I got as far as Tufnell Park, and had to turn around. Thank God that modern day technology enables us to text whilst we're on the tube, or I'd have been at London Bridge before finding out the rehearsal was doomed.

At that point I decided someone was trying to tell me that performing the song was a bad idea, but when I texted Nathan, he said he'd have a bash at singing the song if I'd have a bash at playing the piano. So I spent a couple of hours learning an approximation of the piano part, and by the time he'd got home from work, he'd managed to learn the vocals. Quite how a man who was feeling as ill as he is, and coughing up lungs, managed to make such a sweet sound I've no idea.

We were on second, and things went surprisingly well. When there's no time to worry about making something perfect, the pressure has a habit of disintegrating. I knew there would be mistakes and I knew I didn't have the time to learn any fancy figures, so I stuck to what I knew I could play, and busked my way through the song. I royally screwed up the opening bars, but Nathan styled it out to make it look like I wasn't repeatedly looping a four-bar phrase. Nathan couldn't see the music, so ump-ti-tumped his way through one section but I think we just about got away with it. The crowd seemed to enjoy it.

There were some lovely songs from other writers, as usual. Michelle hit all the right notes with a song sung from the perspective of a woman battling cancer singing to an unborn child, and my new friend Seánna's musical set against the back drop of the Belfast troubles is shaping up to be a very fine project. There was even a flash mob where one of the writers had placed students from a Brussels-based musical theatre school in the audience, who suddenly burst into song. It was all very exciting.

We talked musical theatre and gay rights long into the night.

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