To set the scene, it’s a dark and smokey room. There are maybe twelve, fourteen chairs arranged in a circle, looking towards the middle. Five of them are taken as I walk in, avoiding inquiring glances as I choose the chair with the most empty spaces around me. Three more people appear before someone stands up, walks to the center to the circle and asks me, the new guy, to introduce myself. I take a deep breath and stand up. Hi, my name is Nathan and I have never sung Karaoke.
OK, that has never happened but it is true all the same. I don’t sing in the shower in case there are spiders who while avoiding the water hear my sweet tones. I have sung songs with my kids, real songs rather than nursery rhymes or such, but a handful of times. I play guitar, yet, without a few beers to begin with, I won’t even pick up a guitar, let alone play it. Come to that, I have never played guitar in front of people other than one time, a long time ago in another lifetime, where I was put into a situation that could not be avoided.
When I am alone, things are very different. When I am driving, alone, I tend to have music playing, and I am often singing loudly. For reference, Tom Jones will make anyone drive faster. “I am sorry officer, I was singing Delilah with Jones the Voice and that is why I was speeding that fast”. I can’t wait to use that one in court. Again, when alone, I play the guitar a lot, sometimes it even sounds half decent. I play songs on the computer and play away, with a widdle here and a whammy there! I even write incredibly bad tunes. Whatever I ‘record’ tend to end up sounding like Tangerine Dream, Larry Carlton and Jan Hammer were put into a blender, mixed for three days, strained, and then the crappy residue that was left in the strainer was made into a tune. Yep, and I am proud of them too!
As with most unimportant, trivial things, I tend to have a very good memory for lyrics and tunes, whereas my wonderful wife, hello Julie, who will sing any where, any time, any place (we just call her Martini), most of the time will hit the notes and most of the time will get the right lyrics, just not usually at the same time. I have all this talent and yet I cannot share it with the world. There has to be something wrong with me, right?
OK, something more wrong with me than previously mentioned.
I am not what you would consider shy. If you have met me, you will know that within a few minutes s I am making jokes and being my normal annoying self. Is it confidence that I am lacking then? Well, no. Or I mean yes. I don’t know. There are moments of supreme self confidence, and then moments of extreme doubt. This has already been covered with Bi-Polar so enough of this. What else is it? Could it be that there is a gene that only some people possess that allows them to perform in front of others while those lacking the gene just hide in the shadows?
Let me go back slightly, when I say I have never sung in public, what I mean to say is that I have never performed in public. I have garnered a questionable reputation at work for enjoy songs from musicals such as Music Man, South Pacific and West Side Story. This has caused my sexuality to be questioned, in jest I hope, but I have walked into the main office and begun singing Trouble in the same style as the great, late, Robert Preston. To me, that isn’t really singing, that is just being silly, something I have an overflowing ability to do.
We had a wonderful couple pay us a visit on the weekend, and the man, although drummer by nature, was more than able to pick up a guitar and start not only strumming but singing as well. I watch in wonder when someone can do this because it seems that they have crossed a barrier that I not only cannot cross but I cannot even find. Again, alcohol helps but by the time it has mellowed me out, my brain has forgotten how to play the guitar. It’s the classic catch 22 situation!
I am not saying that I am jealous, but I am sure having the ability to play, sing, and perform in front of a crowd would be a good thing to have. The crowd singing along, the women throwing their knickers at me (I did mention I like Tom Jones, didn’t I?) and the whole place rocking. I bet it would be a cool experience. It will never happen, especially now that I am on the downside of 40. I am too old to rock and roll, and I am much closer to hip op than hop hop.
These facts are driven home when I see how many talented professional singers, songwriters, singer/songwriters and musicians live and perform around here. St. Thomas, home to less than forty thousand people has a lot of talent that is on show regularly. There as lots of gigs going on each week and the local talent needs your support to go out, listen, drink, sing, clap and everything else that goes along with hearing a good live band.
It will never be me up on stage, I know this to be true, but there are so many worthy acts who are on stage regularly and it is always an enjoyable time had by all that attend! So go support your local bands and help keep great music live in St. Thomas.