I did a cabaret gig today. I arrived at the venue early enough to catch the last 15 minutes of the act that preceded me. He was one of those old school entertainers who seem to be good at everything. I heard him play the piano, sing and even play the didgeridoo within the space of a few minutes. He played and sang a rousing version of ‘We are Australian’ that hit the audience right where they wanted it. He knew his crowd and had them in his palm – they were in raptures. But it was when he pulled out the pan flute that I really started to worry. That little insecure version of me living inside my head was saying ‘All you do is sing! Listen to how they’re clapping and cheering, and you’re going on after him. How are you going to follow that?’
Then that little devil came out of my head and made herself quite comfortable on my shoulder, so she could leer and belittle directly into my ear: ‘You’d better think of something you can do that’s different and special or you’re going to be a big let down!’
It was a seconds before showtime and all I could think of that was special about me was that I had purple hair and a cool collection of carpet photos. I know, I could enter the stage walking on my hands? Except that I was wearing a long sequinned dress. And… I can’t actually walk on my hands.
So with no more time for thinking or listening to internal party poopers, I launched on the stage and into what I normally do. Which is just sing (people really clapped and cheered!). And tell a few funny stories about growing up and dates gone wrong (people really laughed!).
One lady from the audience stopped me on my way out after the show and said, ‘after that young man opened the show today, my friends and I were all feeling really sorry for you, knowing you would have to follow him, and him being so wonderful! Then she squeezed my arm and said, ‘But you came out and we could tell you were just being yourself and it was wonderful in a different way.’ Aww, wisdom from the mouth of…well a wise older person.
I don’t have to spell out the moral of this little story, do I?
Until next time…
PS I happen to play in a lot of venues (RSL clubs for example which are a breed of club particular to Australia I believe) which have particularly vibrant and ah, interesting carpet designs. So I collect photos of them! #rslcarpets
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