Friday, 19 October 2012

So, I have a cold.  Or the sniffles.  Or whatever it damn well is.  Something is irritating my vocal cords, the upshot being that I can't sing at present.

Well hey, you say, make a good strong batch of your patented Singers' Soup (bashed-up chicken wings, ditto masses of garlic, ginger, and as many chilis as you can stand; boil for hours, allow to cool, reheat, strain, add soy sauce to taste, sip endlessly) and go to bed.  I DID.  Whatever this is managed to live through that and continues to plague me.

The trouble is, I am flying to Lisbon today in order to give a concert on Monday, and I don't know whether the voice will be there, and even if it is, how it will behave.

It's hard for non-singers to grasp just how terrifying this is, I know.  Imagine that you are going to play tennis at Wimbledon, for example, but you won't know until you get onto the court and the first serve is flying towards you whether the racket is sound and the strings taut.  There might be a satisfying thwack as you demolish your opponent's serve; there might just as well be a nasty soggy little tearing sound as the ball goes through your racket and the crowd falls silent in sympathy...  You just don't know what state the racket is going to be in as you pull it out of your kit bag.

Such is the uncertainty that a singer faces when nobbled by something as simple as a cold, or allergies.  Then there is the tendency to allow that uncertainty to affect the psyche, which can be fatal to a performance.  Some days you need to accentuate the positive and believe the voice will be sound despite all the gunk on your vocal cords, and lo!  all is well.  Some days you do the same and your voice gets progressively hoarser until you know that if you sing any further you will do some serious damage.  It's a judgement call based on the throw of the dice.  And people wonder why we singers can sometimes come across a little neurotic!!

I am therefore setting off armed with cold medicines, positive thinking, lots of water, my trusty Humidiflyer for the plane, my fingers firmly crossed... and my very flashy "diamonds", given that a nice low-cut dress combined with madly-sparkling jewellery can distract at least a fair proportion of the audience if the voice is not 100%!

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