I can’t remember if I told the blog that I’d been blowing off my mouth to Aloysius six weeks or so ago, after the gratuitous extra-fancy swearing-in of my intake of Street Pastors last January, with the forty-seven bishops and a miracle or two*, and which Aloysius and Alfrick had attended. Given the forty-seven bishops and various other bits of high-churchery I was startled by the music, which was the Modern Christian Whatsit we sing at St Margaret’s and which drives me to despair.**
But I sang it, because singing is better than not singing. And what I noticed—and what I imprudently said to Aloysius—is that while it used to be that when I was in a mob and wanted to feel that I was contributing, I dropped down to chest voice and BELLOWED . . . now, after getting on for three years of Nadia’s elegant mercilessness, I make just as much noise in head voice and I suspect it’s more penetrating.*** And Aloysius responded promptly that if I ever felt like singing with the band† I would be more than welcome.
Hmmmmmm . . .
It had occurred to me some time ago that the only way I could, you know, validly try to have some effect on the music at St Margaret’s evening service is to become one of the people who produce it. So I didn’t laugh like a drain or whap Aloysius up longside the head. Or run away. I said, Ah. Er. What an interesting idea.
And he said, If you want to give it a shot, I suggest you try it the next time I’m in charge.
Okay, I said.
. . . Which was last night. AAAAAAAAAUGH.
Where do I BEGIN? For example . . . they don’t even much have sheet music. It doesn’t actually seem to exist for a lot of this Modern Christian doodah?? It is no longer assumed that makers of music can, and might possibly want to, read the line they’re supposed to be performing? Or possibly take it home and nervously pick it out on the piano first? What? And at St Margaret’s, for example, the regular keyboardist†† doesn’t read music—he plays by frelling ear.††† Buckminster doesn’t read music either—he has a chord sheet, as does the church office guru who I think usually plays bass. There’s a rota, and Samantha, who is a volunteer,‡ organizes folders of music for all the regulars, in whatever form the recipient of the folder prefers—so Aloysius gets sheet music (when it’s available) and Buckminster gets chord sheets. Ugly, I think, just gets a playlist and maybe lyric sheets, although the lyrics are also computer-projected on the walls. Samantha was a trifle startled by my vehemence on the subject of sheet music. . . .
Apparently you only get your playlist a few days before you go on. GORBLIMEY GUYS. THIS IS HARD ON A NEWBIE. Aloysius emailed ours out on Thursday in the form of a title list and some YouTube links . . . and there went any possibility of my practising Italian art songs or German lieder for the rest of the week, while I got a lot of knitting done listening, relistening, and re-re-relistening to YouTube, whilst simultaneously moaning and chewing on the furniture.‡‡ St Margaret’s spends quite a lot of the evening service singing, so there were a lot of YouTube links. Long YouTube links. Fortunately about three of the songs are half familiar from regular evening-service use but the one that I’d never heard before in my in-hindsight-privileged ‡‡‡ life also had the worst performance, the one that made me want to stick my knitting needles through my monitor.§ The lead singer was having oral sex with her microphone, the massed electronic instrumentation was making drooly Technicolor-sunset noises which made me feel I was being hammered to death with fluffy bunnies and there was some escapee from the Swan Lake chorus line gambolling at the front of the stage WHAT IS THIS. ALSO, WHY. —I failed to learn this one. I failed to go on trying to learn this one because I don’t really want to buy a new laptop just now.
But I put my time in on the others. God help me, God, you got me into this. And I’m supposed to trust in him, right? Old habits die hard. Because I am a hopeless wet dweeb I didn’t sleep very well Saturday night because I was going to have to sing from the wrong side of the microphone the next evening. And . . .
TO BE CONTINUED.§§
* * *
* I could have sworn I had, because I remember remarking on the plentifulness of bishops, but I can’t find it in the archive. It’s probably in a footnote somewhere.
** Alfrick, given the setting, hadn’t been expecting it either, and commented drily that it was out of his comfort zone. I thought of the antiphonal chanting—and the little square tail-free notes of the music—at the abbey and tried not to laugh. Or possibly cry.
*** I do not say this is a good thing. I merely make note of it.
† Sic. It’s not a choir; the instrumentalists usually outnumber the singers, and said instrumentalists include the vicar on guitar or bass, the curate on guitar—he’s got more than one guitar, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play bass, but he has at least once played ukulele—and various admin and ordinary congregation members on electric keyboard, drums and the occasional woodwind.
Sigh . . .
†† Who I’m about to name Ugly, because he doesn’t approve of singers—and we are, furthermore, not singers but mere backing singers—and has declared that there are never to be more than three of us cluttering up the stage. THREE? THREE? That is nowhere near enough bodies to hide among when you’re one of them. I had noticed that there weren’t very many, week to week, but I hadn’t caught on that there were EVER only three. I’m going to start putting peanut butter on the keyboard when I know Ugly is playing. Hmmph.
††† Another reason to LOATHE HIM, just by the way.^
^ No it does not count that he probably doesn’t have a clue how to write a novel. Or that he’s kind to his mother, has adopted six stray dogs and has solar panelling all over his roof.
‡ The kind of volunteer without whom a lot of things like churches and underfunded charities would not be able to function: dedicated, competent, intelligent, and mad.
‡‡ Not the knitting needles. Never the knitting needles. TOOTHMARKS ON MY PRECIOUS ASH AND ROSEWOOD KNITTING NEEDLES? ARE YOU KIDDING?^
^ I might chew on bamboo needles if I were desperate. Fortunately the current project is on ash, because Hey God You’re My Bestest Bud, which I describe below, might have driven me to intemperate behaviour with bamboo.
‡‡‡ Ignorance is bliss.
§ Which would be one way of deciding it was time for a new laptop.
§§ Sorry. I have to go to bed. Raphael is coming tomorrow to discuss why Outlook occasionally decides to send a crucial email to perdition instead of to me^ and various other variations on a theme of technological havoc and I may be looking at a new laptop after all. I need to be well rested for the conflict.
^ Maybe the hellgoddess shtick confuses its tiny solid state unmind?
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