Consummate Professional

by Mothership on November 8, 2009

This last week I have written very little, either for my book or for the blog, as I have been taken up with either looking after the children – Husband was away on a business trip – or else trying to prepare for my upcoming show in London.

Although it’s not quite a “This Is It” Michael Jackson production- it’s only going to be a couple of songs to a backing track at a nightclub – there was still some musical prep. to do which involved sending mixes whizzing over the internet between myself and the DJ/Producer in the UK, editing them on my music software so they’d be exactly as I wanted them, reeling in horror as my Mac G5 ( main music computer) died a horrible death, then issuing minute, obsessive, down-to-the-millisecond instructions to the poor DJ to do it for me which he did perfectly with utter professionalism and good cheer and even called me a Fabulous Diva while he was at it.

I like the way he thinks!

After all that malarkey was sorted out I wanted to sit down and have several cups of tea to recover from my computer-based trauma, but  I had to concede that as it had been some years since I performed these numbers it might be a good idea to have a bit of a singalong instead.

When I used to do proper concerts with my band I could always rely on there being a bunch of musicians on stage to create some kind of dynamic. Our songs were never mega-fast, ranging somewhere between 100bpm and 118bpm  – fairly standard pop radio tempos – so you got lots of time to stand around, pose, sing, dance, look at your band mates, get from A to B, pick your nose or whatever.
However dance remixes and the resultant club PA’s  are much faster – 130bpm and up.  As the singer you are up there on your ownio trying to sound as good as you can on systems not set up for live vocals, to a track that has been vastly speeded up from the original and you also have physically to cover quite a bit of space, all the while moving in time to a fast pumping beat.
Often you get a great reception from the crowd, particularly if your track is popular. But sometimes nobody pays a blind bit of attention and you can evem get open hostility from aggressive clubbers. I did one PA up north many years ago where the bouncers hustled me on to a stage surrounded by a cage of chicken wire to protect performers from being pelted with flying bottles – charming!

I do not expect any of this to happen at this show – after all, quite a lot of trouble has been expended to bring me there, and the size of my guest list is currently exceeding the capacity of the club so I can’t really lose. But by the same token, many people in the audience will know me personally and I’ll have to face them afterwards, so I can’t really do a half-assed job.

I am a consummate PROFESSIONAL!

Miked up with my trusty hairbrush and using the living room windows as a source of reflection I pushed the table back against the wall to create maximum floorspace and pressed play.

FAIL ONE: I did not remember the words. I had to look them up on the internet.
wrote these songs, you know.

FAIL TWO: I kept on missing the cues. I had to stop the track at least 15 times and write down the number of bars in between the singing.

FAIL THREE: I choreographed some sick moves. I was well pleased. I forgot them immediately.

FAIL FOUR: I have been spending too much time doing hip-hop dancing and not enough time singing over the last year and I had forgotten that it is very difficult to do both at once without getting hideously out of breath.  I made the wrong choice and couldn’t sing the second song because I was hideously out of breath in a wheezing heap on the floor.

I think it is time to have those cups of tea.

After that I shall dust myself off, pick up my hairbrush and do some more rehearsing.

I will not rest until I know every single word, catch every single cue, remember how to dance (sort of) and sing at the same time.

By the time I hit London, I will be PERFECT! Better Than I Am Now!


1 TheMadHouse November 9, 2009 at 1:07 am

Love it. I am sure that everything will be perfect

2 Eva Maria Chapman November 9, 2009 at 1:23 am

Good luck. I am in total admiration.

3 amjustme November 9, 2009 at 1:49 am

I’m sure you WILL be perfect on the night. You can do it!

4 Brit in Bosnia November 9, 2009 at 2:30 am

I love this post. You totally bring it home that even the glamorous pop star life is lived by real people, who can’t remember the words and use their hair brushes and can’t remember their really cool bestest moves. You made me smile. Thanks! x

5 London City Mum November 9, 2009 at 2:40 am

Wasn’t there a scene in the Blues Brothers where they sing on a stage behind chicken wire and the rednecks audience pelt them with bottles until they start on a version of ‘Rawhide’?
Am certain you will not be subjected to something similar, given your practice methods above! Love it. I’ll hold your hairbrush for you if you need to free both hands up for your ‘moves’ 😉


6 Caroline November 9, 2009 at 4:15 am

It’ll be Alright on the Night as Denis Norden used to say. Isn’t there some sort of cosmic rule about bad rehearsal, great performance? :)

Relax and have fun! It’s going to be a blast.

7 Mrs T November 9, 2009 at 4:20 am

Terrifying as it sounds, I’m sure you’ll be absolutely wonderful. Do remember not to bring the hairbrush on the stage

8 Potty Mummy November 9, 2009 at 6:13 am

Fantastic! I am laughing, full of admiration and a little (just a little) nervous for you all at the same time. What it is to lead a rock and roll lifestyle for real!

9 Expat Mum November 9, 2009 at 7:10 am

Ah – the signs of ageing. Half kidding – but it does get harder to do things simultaneously and trying to remember lyrics (I don’t care who wrote them) is an uphill battle. Good luck!

10 nappyvalleygirl November 9, 2009 at 7:23 am

I bet Madonna still practises with her hairbrush….

You will be fantastic, I am sure. Good luck. x

11 Peggy@ Perfectly Happy Mum November 9, 2009 at 8:31 am

Good luck! I am sure you will be great!

12 brenda November 9, 2009 at 11:58 am

You will be fab, all the greatest stars need to practise and all have moments of blankness, good luck and remember to enjoy it!

13 Mothership November 9, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Thanks for all the support, people. I’m sure it will come right on the actual night, but it’s quite shocking how crapola it is right now. But hey, I started out with a hairbrush and my mirror and it is only fitting that I should be here at the fag end of my career, too.
LCM You are quite right about the Blues Bros. scene. That club was actually much swankier, decoratively, than the one in the movie as it had strobe lights and a flashing disco floor, but it was very disturbing to have to be protected by a fence from punters. Also the bouncers were terrifying – grinding their teeth to nubs from too much bad coke and straining at the leash for a good stomping on somebody’s head. I could not WAIT to get out of there. Good thing the PA’s are not very long. Whew!

14 angelsandurchinsblog November 9, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Look at what a great performance you gave in this post. Required reading for anyone about to do anything scary-but-wonderful-and-adrenaline-raising. Only two things left to say – where and when? Oh, and best of luck!

15 A Modern Mother November 9, 2009 at 11:25 pm

I have no doubt you will bring the house down (not literally). Good luck!

16 shayma November 10, 2009 at 5:03 am

you are going to be absolutely brilliant, darling, and i wish i were in london to support you and be there with a glass of champagne to congratulate you. is Two your biggest fan at the moment? surely you need some fans, too, along with the hairbrush routine. xoxo

17 geekymummy November 10, 2009 at 8:50 am

Very best of luck, it sounds very exciting. And if bottles are thrown, break into “rawhide”! (I’m still intrigued as to who you are/were in your previous life!)

18 So Lovely November 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I will be with you in spirit and hairbrush, singing along and smiling at you. You’ll do brilliantly and it will all fit right back into place. Its only because you haven’t use this side of your life for a while that it feels foreign. My dearest friend who was very well known in her late teens and 20’s deals with this constantly. I see her fear and nervousness just as she’s walking on stage and then it seems to slot back into place. Your fans follow you wherever you go and will be so excited to sing along and danced to the tunes that bring back such memories from them. xx

19 Metropolitan Mum November 11, 2009 at 3:01 am

You had to look up your own lyrics on the internet? This is hilarious. A bit like googling yourself.
I always wondered how performers could sing and dance at the same time. When I put little L to bed and make an attempt to sing a lullaby on the way up to the nursery, singing sounds like wheezing by the 1st floor.
All the best of luck for your gig. You rock!

20 Rosie Scribble November 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Good luck. It sounds fabulous. Do you need a backing singer?!!

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