Originally posted: 1 November 2015
A couple of days ago, I received a text message from my worried mother. I hadn’t posted a blog about our shows last weekend. It’s a bit unlike me not to write about a show, which is why my mother asked if I was OK. Don’t get me wrong: I usually speak to her several times a week, so it’s not as if she has to read my blog to know what I’m up to. But she takes comfort in reading my stories; they confirm that I’m OK (and haven’t fallen off a stage).
The truth is that that Friday the whole universe seemed to be in a bad mood. People were late, props were left behind in Liverpool, I wasn’t looking forward to doing shows without Jerney AND without some of the props, people were cranky, traffic was aggressive and even the discussions on BBC radio 2 seemed annoying (among other topics, someone was complaining there were some pensioners skinny dipping where he was fishing, but it was never clear if he was annoyed because they were swimming, because they were naked, or because they were pensioners). We played a show in Bishop’s Stortford, which was a long drive. I couldn’t imagine the show being any goo that night, but it was actually an amazing night!
After the show, we got caught in road works and traffic and it took us four and a half hours to get to our hotel near Tewkesbury. Although I had a good night’s sleep, I could have done with more hours. The weather was depressing, our van had a flat tyre and more of us obviously suffered from the dreadful midnight journey. But the people at the theatre were great, we had a very constructive sound check (in which we could actually improve some transitions in the show) and the audience was amazing (again).
The next day, instead of finishing the blog, I decided to watch a documentary a friend of mine had posted on Facebook. I was about young, creative, successful people, and how they suffer from anxiety and depression because of the constant pressure of having to succeed at what they do. The fact that it took me four days to find the time to watch it was quite worrying to start with, but after watching it I decided to give myself the rest of the day off and relieve myself from the duty of writing about my work. I watched some movies instead, something I hadn’t done in a long time. And I fell sleep watching them. And it felt great!
After a week of constantly being behind either a piano or a computer, we had a show in Chesham last Friday. I was tired, a bit dizzy and doubting my life decisions and the effect they have had on myself and other people, and we had to start our day by getting some tyres changed. The tyre place was one of the grimmest places I have been to so far. While we were standing between the rusty containers filled with tyres, keyboard player Barney said “If you’ve come to England thinking it’s all castles, you’re wrong; this is England!”
We tried to continue our journey, but the traffic made it very, very hard. Traffic reports on the radio were endless, and we arrived at the venue late. I immediately locked myself in the dressing room with my costumes and an ironing board. I had to hurry to get ready in time; I even did most of the sound checking while prepping my props in the dressing room. The show seems to be consistently running smoothly now, and once again the audience was great! I loved singing the line “What was the question?” to one of the young kids in the audience. I enjoyed watching the people in the front row enjoying watching us. By now, we have some returning fans, and we are starting to recognize some of them. It’s hard to remember all the faces, but we do try! It was lovely speaking to the crowd, there were some really lovely people out there!
That show, that crowd confirmed what I had been doubting for a couple of days: I do need to be on that stage. No other job has ever fulfilled me the way music has. I need to create, and I need to perform. I have no other option.