Practise what you will never reach...
Therese, soprano, asked why Royal Marine Stacks would teach me to move off in third gear unless I was the getaway driver in a stolen police car?
See previous blog entry: Driving Miss Crazy
'To make moving off in first easier,' I answered. 'The school of Practise what you'll never reach, Therese. Like Anna Stolli would imitate a duck from the Bronx quacking right up to an F sharp to make sure of secure belt notes lower down her range for Evita's "Rainbow HIgh". Or Beethoven would rehearse those horrifically difficult passages in his early sonatas - that have most concert pianists tempted to ask for a volunteer from the audience - with just his left hand. Or over three decades William Tell would practise shooting his crossbow blindfolded. F.Y.I. Therese, It's a little known fact that William Tell originally fathered twenty-seven children and that by the time of the legendary incident the son under the apple was an only child...'
Like William Tell's bolt over his son's head, that gag went right over hers.
'But you didn't move off in third in your driving test, you would have failed?' Therese stated the obvious.
'No, but I also don't dance the "sash" girl in Ballet Imperial, I just give it my usual pre-show, maybe this time, thirty-six cries of "Oh, for the love of God that fucking step's a nightmare!" run through. Giselle's variation as my opening number is then a doddle in comparison. I don't sing Queen Marguerite de Valois for Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots, but when I hear whoever's staying in the rental property next to my permanent let in Thorpeness leave for their day's twitching, I have a daily roulade through her pastorale, trying to make the last few bars sound as little like "Woody Woodpecker's Song" as possible. Then my "Rose of England" hopefully won't go awry. And I'm not ever a guest on Jonathan Ross, but I still spend a bleeding chunk of my time weekly practising being one, talking about how I became an a-lister overnight after my cameo in De Niro's latest film. Acting graciously surprised when I hear that De Niro himself has been saying that I'm technically one of the great film actor colleagues of his career; playing down the rumours of a romantic dalliance with the oldest Hemsworth brother...'
This last tendency of mine doesn't actually illustrate the not showing the bottom of the purse argument; but it did pay dividends at last Saturday's corporate gig.
It was my return to the Thruxton Memorial Hall; at the request of Mrs Milner Williams, chairwoman of the Conservative Association, chief church warden, staunch Women's Institute refusenik. These days Mrs M M is actually the dowager promoter for the Thruxton Memorial Hall and I was officially booked by Carolyn Head, her replacement/usurper, depending on who you happen to ask.
Mrs M M, laying tables, suspiciously wanted to know from Carolyn why I needed the CD player.
'Oh, really, for that reason, is it? Ballet backing tracks.' Mrs M M's quilted bodywarmer sussurated. 'Do we really have to have your ballerina again? Didn't you do that five years ago? Yes, along with your Tutu's Gone AWOL! Iraq and Afghanistan tour stories, thank you. We've sold this evening as sophisticated comedy and song, please.'
Which I then had to improvise. All two hours of it, using anecdotes from this blog to link whatever songs I could sing from the Boosey and Hawkes Community Song Book found in a cupboard, accompanying myself on the electric piano lent by the Women's Institute. Mrs M M warned me not to kick the piano off its brakes as some of the W.I. would be at the performance and would no doubt complain about it rolling free across the parquet.
And, see, after all those hours and hours of rehearsing anecdotes for the Jonathan Ross show, on Saturday night in the Thruxton Memorial Hall the material flowed on and on.
Just one glitch...
I was asking if religion is the only source of altruism, via the story of Ethel Keane's Christmas Cards, some dolphins, the Aldeburgh second-homers' spare turkey and the kiboshing Kemp Town Mother Superior - taking a diversion through the true story of Dr Harry Bramma shunting the Bechstein concert grand across the parquet floor of the Southwark Cathedral Choir vestry with his feet, when he was in a temper during Darke in F Major.
'Darke in F Major could look after itself, frankly, we choristers thought - poor Carrington Minor, sitting directly in the path of Dr Bramma's piano, narrowly escaped becoming Carrington Flat!'
Still with me?
I realised that it would going too far with this audience to use the proper tagline to the altruism/religion material: that non-religion-indoctrinatous dolphins shouldn't actually be used as examples of default-setting altruism as they so often are because they commit gay, revenge gangrape.
Instead, I -
'What, Therese? Yes, thank you, I am able to verify that dolphins behave in this way. I was snorkeling with Luke Hemsworth in Tangalooma last week and he pointed to an incidence of it just then occurring slightly further into deeper waters.'