Sing a song of sixpence

Two musical challenges completed, just karaoke to go – and that should be happening this week if I manage to shrug off this horrible cold. I am SMASHING IT.

I was planning to learn a song on the banjo for Jose’s challenge but I ended up borrowing my Dad’s melodeon to make my stage debut at ‘Staff SFX’ – a festive collection of music and poetry performed for the entertainment of the general public by my colleagues at the theatre. Melodeon-playing apparently runs on both sides of the family, something I learnt whilst doing Tracey’s challenge, so it seemed quite appropriate. I’ve stayed firmly on the organisational side of SFX until now, but this year I furthered my nefarious ends by encouraging the formation of a house band and forcing everyone to play Fairytale of New York with me as an opener.

Apart from a very creaky Danny Boy, my melodeon skills are non-existent, so I spent a fair chunk of time trying to figure out the notes. Remember that melodeons are LOUD, so send your thoughts and prayers to my neighbours. Most of what I learnt flew out of my head as soon as the bright lights hit so I was slightly more discordant than intended, but performing with Mike, Rachel, Simon and co. was a great deal of fun and spurred me on to musical challenge no. 2…

I played a lot of music with friends throughout college and uni. Quick shout out here to my uni band ‘The HMS Rod Stewart feat. The Sam Turner Experience’ – we had 4 guitarists and one lonely snare drum and played terrible covers of Fleetwood Mac in the local pub. Good times…

After uni finished and we all scattered to different corners of the country, playing together became more and more infrequent and disappeared completely when I moved to Manchester four years ago. My guitar has been hanging on the wall ever since as a sad reminder of that lost part of my social and creative self.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that Hannes gave me this busking challenge, nor how thankful I am to Bryony for coming along for the ride. It’s been a whole heap of fun getting together and learning some tunes, and there’s a kind of vulnerability and lowering of boundaries that happens when you sing with someone else which I’ve really missed. It was that, or possibly the many bottles of wine, which led to some DEEP conversations, misplaced memories and the worst hangover I’ve had in YEARS following our final rehearsal. SERIOUSLY, it was so comically awful that the details would only shock and horrify you.

On the big day we ended up cutting our setlist down to three solid tunes: Johnny Flynn’s The Water; Fleet Foxes’ Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (ripped off from the First Aid Kit cover); and a true song of our times; Miley’s Wrecking Ball. We grabbed a spot in a chilly St Ann’s Square and you know what – we made SEVEN BLOODY QUID in TEN MINUTES! I’ve finally found my path to fortune and riches!

We may not have had perfect harmonies and bloody hell, I was playing that far too fast, but it was GREAT and we’re planning to keep practising and try our luck at an open mic night soon.

Hooray for music! Hooray for challenges! Hooray for Miley Cyrus!

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