13 August 2005

Touching Coat Tails

Thanks to Doris, who commented on my last post, I was going to crack a few jokes about seamen (you know, the girl whale who would blow, but not swallow seamen, Captain Pugwash, Seaman Staines and Roger the cabin boy, - old stuff.)

A full example - Bill and Ben in bed together - Bill says: flobadobadob. Ben says: If you loved me you'd swallow.

Yeah, right, sorry for dusting that old one off, especially if you still got a face full of cobwebs. Better that than woodworm.

Instead, facing the (probably pre-menopausal) dissatisfaction with my life choices that the last post highlighted, I went off on a kick self session, aka belly-button staring.

When it comes to claims to fame or brushes with opportunity, I'm pretty much a 'glass half empty' kind of girl and thinking back on some of the opportunities I not only refused, but sniggered at in girlish disdain, well, older and wiser I find my inner lioness starts banging her head on a brick wall, which is a tragic thing for a majestic creature to do. I am not in a position to say 'wow I did that', because there was always more I could have done, and didn't.

I can sing. I know I can sing, and mimic. You want someone else's singing voice, I've got it. Classically trained for a while, I am only now skimming the top off a full three octave range, due to the fags (ciggies to my US friends). Did I do anything about it when I was a UK size ten (that's US size 4) who could stick one leg behind her ear standing up? Did I heck, I went chasing bikers up Box Hill.

I know I can stand on stage in front of thousands. Its amazingly freeing, like performing a piece to the clock on the back wall - like talking to a stranger on the phone, or anonymous blogging, you can be who you damn well please, ride the atmosphere and run with it, like being in a nightclub you are NEVER going to go back to, with people who are never going to recognise you, you can let your inner daredevil out to play. Somehow performing to half a dozen people involves being yourself - being vulnerable - much harder to do.

We did a play at senior school (yes ok big cringe but theres a point) and I had one of the smallest parts, got all the laughs and had half a dozen teachers who normally ignored me, come up and suggest RADA. Did I even look the prospectus up, in the library? Don't make me laugh.

I did an audition for one of those 'star maker' blokes in Ealing, late seventies. He made a million constructive comments like 'we'll have to work on your sight reading', and then invited me back, started talking about finding my style and getting me work. Did I go? Hah.

Early eighties, boredom and lack of cash meant catching the bus to the BBC bar at White City - free entry to employees and subsidised drinks. Three times, some promoter sent his heavies over to say Mr 'somebody' would like a word, would I join him at his table. Nineteen years old and terrified of Mr somebodys - the kind that wore expensive heavy overcoats and kept them on in a bar - I refused to go, saying I had never heard of him, or that if he wanted to talk to me, he could come to me, same as the minders had managed. Bye bye whatever opportunity that was, although at the time I suspected it was the chance for a quick trip to the moors in the boot of someone's car. I was with a particularly narcissistic friend - I was meant to be her tag-along, not the other way round, and she refused to come with me so I'd be safe, so I bottled.

Dancing in the aisles at a Duran Duran concert I had the chance to go backstage after - I didn't do it.

Same again at Nine Below Zero.

Heres the capper - Status Quo, four of them, had the bench on the BBC bar balcony one night. We didn't know, and a friend and I wandered out there for some air. Heading for the edge of the balcony, we were interrupted by a cheeky comment - "Nice view!" and turned to see these beautiful, piercing, laughing eyes; two gorgeous, very famous faces tongue-in-cheek and looking for banter. I may have raised my eyebrows in respect for their nerve, but thats all I saw - nerve and brass neck, and my own panic. I think my smiling reply was something along the lines of 'dirty old buggers'.

Thats my claim to fame. I once stared down Status Quo and called them dirty old men. What a clever girl.

Okay so I didn't really want to be a groupie, ta very much. Not my cup of tea, but thats an awful big jump to a conclusion, and what I suppose I mean is that I erred on the side of cowardice, calling it rigid propriety, far too many times.

It doesnt matter now. Well it matters, I'm older and way more daring, but how shall we put this - not dressed in such saleable packaging any more. The time is past.

At 44 years old I am slowly letting go of the last wish not already deleted from my fantasy 'one day' list - to learn to play the alto sax. Someone found a way to take a lump of metal and pour pure sex into the sounds it makes - I adore the saxophone, its just beyond sleazy, but would you pay to watch an unknown granny strut the stage making hot sex pour from an instrument?

No, thought not!

The strangest, most condemning factor in all this is the freedom, that its too late to berate myself for all the chances I turn down from here on in. Its like this whole amazing, wonderful world with a siren call has been there through a wide open doorway, waiting for me to have the guts to step through and see if I sink or swim. Its almost like someone has closed the door now and locked it, and instead of mourning, I am relaxing that all that 'shall I - shan't I' business is over, and I can go and make the tea.

I wonder if the word 'chicken' is going to be on my gravestone one day................


anniebee said...

I think I regret the things I did do (often due to hypomania) and shouldn't have, more than the things I didn't do. I'm trying to avoid too much navel comtemplation at the moment because it doesn't help the depression. Slightly off topic but I went to a Status Quo end of the road concert in the early eighties, and they're still around!

Ms Mac said...

"the girl whale who would blow, but not swallow seamen"

Hahahaha! If only you knew how accurate that description is of someone I know. Not me, like. No really! ;-)

ella m. said...

Infinitely jealous of three octave range....since at best I've only got two :(

I'm still going to be a rock star one day I hope.