Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Home Again

And so happy about it.

The gig went well, better than I had expected. I did nearly three hours of singing to a quite small audience. Not only is this a lot of songs to remember words to, it is also a long time to be standing up, not drinking wine. I am, however, an artist, and therefore must suffer for my art. If only drinking wine between songs is what is called for, then that is what I must do. I am very brave, indeed.

I did my own songs, many of which I have not uploaded onto the MySpace Of Annoyingness because although they are ready in acoustic versions they have not been suitably dicked about with in a studio to go public. I did plenty of jazz standards, some Paul Simon (America; Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover; 59th Bridge Street Song) some Leonard Cohen (Famous Blue Raincoat; Hallelujah) and some random ones that I just happened to feel like singing (Downtown; Son of a Preacher Man; Moondance).

All in all it was fun for me and the audience seemed to enjoy it as well. I feel so relaxed and comfortable singing songs I haven't written, but when it comes to my own songs my ability to sing cabaret-style seems to dry up and the nerves flood in. I imagine that this is, of course, only natural. Not only do I have a lot more invested in my own work, but I have much less experience of presenting it as such, so it is inevitable that it is much harder to relax with. I also understand that practice will make if not perfect then a lot better. If I'm standing on stage singing Summertime or Ain't No Sunshine I can ramble on for bloody hours, experimenting and playing, and I sometimes genuinely forget the audience is even there. With my own work, on the other hand, I inspect the sea (or small puddle) of faces for signs of approval or otherwise, and I have to consciously tell myself to relax. Physically I relax my shoulders, search out eye contact, smile, all to prove that I am comfortable on stage. Because if I'm not then nobody watching me can possibly be. It is bloody scary and I never know whether I am fooling anybody, but I suppose that's part of the game.

At one point on Sunday there was a small child of about four dancing along to the music. The parents and others were standing around laughing at his antics, everyone encouraging him and suggesting dance moves. I sort of knew at the time that I should somehow use that situation to my advantage, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out how. If I had taken the mic over to him and danced along I might have scared him, or worse I might have stolen his limelight and alienated myself from the crowd. After the gig at least three people told me that I should have made something of the situation, but nobody told me how and I am still wondering. What would be appropriate? Would it really have been anything other than painfully obvious that I was trying to use the innocent enjoyment of a small child for my own ends? I'm still not sure. Any imput would be gratefully received.

So, I am home now. I have been scouting around to get a bit of temping work as I have some holidays to save for (last year: Biarritz and New Zealand, this year: Portugal and Malaysia! I kid you not) and bills to pay. I also have some heavy and scary re-evalutaing to do, about which I cannot really speak at the moment.

I feel like I never stop thinking about my career. If half an hour goes by during which I haven't schemed or planned I am very, very surprised. I know this has to be a positive thing because I am the only one who can make anything happen for myself, but I admit it is a little draining. What this realisation does confirm, however, is the fact that it is an extremely good thing that I have nobody else to be thinking about. I have been on a few dates, which is fun, but nothing to be taken seriously, and I plan on keeping it that way. So sorry, hoardes of beautiful men, you are just going to have to bugger off home (although I suppose you can take me for dinner and dancing first if you like.)

This weekend I am off to Cardiff. My friend Dan's parents live there and they are away at the moment so a few of us are going across to brave the Welsh and chill out for the weekend. (Maybe I will see Curly for beers?) Before that I am going to Warwickshire to do some babysitting, and then going to see the beautiful tassel-twirler herself, Miss Lily Dumont. An eventful few days leading up to some Wales-based fun, but I am certainly going to take some time to make some pretty major decisions and get my head together. Let's just say that 2007 has been rather eventful so far. I suspect it is the magic freckle doing its work (it does not always work for good).

Speaking of things that are magic, has everyone seen this:

Can this be coincidence? Amazing. I am in awe, and so is Sparkle.

I have yet to speak to Impish Little Sister Sophie about it, but I think she is far too busy being Parisian and wearing cool clothes to have time to do something like that.

I am going to go and ponder it further for a little while then go to bed and try to silence the whizzing sound of my confused brain.


Blogger Adz said...

Congrats on the gig, sounds like it went well!

Have fun in the Kingdom of Cardiff

11:29 am

Blogger Curly said...

I'm not sure how you could have done something with that situation either?

Perhaps you could carry a box of small children around with you and send them out to dance when you see anyone else initiating it?

Curly is always around for beers.

11:30 am

Blogger Léonie said...

Adz - Thanks. I didn't know Cardiff was a Kingdom! Amazing.

Curly - I do carry a box of children around with me at all times, but I mainly get them out when I want things carried for me, meals prepared, chimneys cleaned etc.
Hurray for beers! I'll call you when I am in the Kingdom.

11:57 am

Blogger Anthony said...

I attend a lot of outdoor festivals in the summer and have witnessed "the dancing 4 year old" quite often. I find the most seasoned of singers/songwriters take advantage of the situation by making a witty comment or singing something appropriate into the song. The 4 year old will have the oooo's and aaahhh's but the great singer/songwriter has had them all along and will solidify it with a good sense of humour. I'm sure it all takes practise. Good luck next time around.

1:43 pm

Blogger Betty said...

That Sparkle thing scares me a little. I feel like I have been hypnotised, and sometime later this week I will hear the secret magic word and start riverdancing.

Or something.


3:19 pm

Blogger Huw said...

You should have shouted "SIT BLEEDING STILL!" and made him cry. That would have been ace.

Note to self: have a think why it might be that Léonie gets babysitting gigs and you do not.

4:20 pm

Anonymous greavsié said...

No one dances when I sing, I have to say.

10:00 pm

Anonymous impish said...

its a tricky code but once its broken all is clear!

impish xxxx

11:45 am

Anonymous impish little sister said...

ps. sound is essential!

11:47 am

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

I usually notice that singers just acknowledge the child.. say something in the mic to the parents or talk to the child directly, ask how old.. smile/nod.. I mean.. what else are you supposed to do? I guess you could make a joke to the parents that they can pick up their payment after the show, wink wink.. something to that effect.

All sounds very exciting and challenging. Sending all kinds of good vibes your way! xoxo

8:20 pm

Blogger Jules said...

Depends on what kind of song it was. If it was lively and upbeat, you can (carefully) try to approach the child and dance with him/her. If it's a soft, slow song, it could be nice to get down on their level and act as though you are singing to them. They might like that. Then again, you have to approach them carefully because they can be so shy sometimes when they feel they've become the center of attention. You just kindof have to feel it out and go from there.

12:25 am


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