On flying solo
Testing, 1... Several lyrics ago there was this musician. He had heart. He had soul. This would be great, I thought. The night after I saw his first gig, he drove me back to his place where I left my car. (Actually, it was his friend's place.) He gave me a tour before I headed home. His designated living area was a small room (actually, it was a basement) exactly large enough for one large bed, a small nightstand, and a closet. "Nice room," I said. "Oh, this isn't my room," he replied. "This is my kids' room." Then he opened the closet door, revealing a cramped space exactly large enough for a twin bed and nothing else. "This is my room." ...
Suddenly I wondered if heart and soul amount to much, sans backbone.
Just as I would give an unpleasant song another listen, I agreed to meet with him another time.
This time he said he'd go with me to to a spoken word event where I could introduce some of my new poetry. He could even sing a song or two. The event was taking place at a coffee shop.
"Can I come to your house first?" he texted.
"I'd rather we met there," I answered.
"In that case, I can't," the performance artists admitted. "I'm afraid I have anxiety."
Man to Man
Somebody’s got to be the man here,
and, Man, if it’s me,
I’ll tell you now
this isn‘t going anywhere,
no matter what, I swear.
Being a dame
is already a full-time game;
adding your role to my part
is our relationship’s suicide
and another one’s start.
So, man up!
There’s room for only one
crazy ex-girlfriend here,
and I was really hoping that’d be me,
but you beat me to the punch, you see.
People can really put on an interesting show.
Some relationships, like a bad concert, you want to stop entertaining, but you figure since you've already paid for the seats (or lack thereof), plus the drinks and souvenir tee, you've come too far from the exit. So, you wear the shirt anyway and keep drinking until you forget what you're even listening to. However, if you observe closely, you'll notice the exit sign is never that far away and is often the largest and/or brightest object in a given space (though it may not be the loudest).
Bad performances do make us appreciate the good ones, yes. For the great ones, you stay even past the last song and clap until the band comes out for just.one.more. But that doesn't mean you have to sit through a show when you're no longer a member of the audience. You may never be able to get your money back with some, but it'll still end up costing you more in terms of entrance fees, parking, and one-on-one studio time to stay with someone whose lyrics don't offer up enough emotion (in any direction), or aren't tunes you don't even care to dance to.
It helps to turn the microphone to yourself more often to enunciate your requests. (You've always wanted to start your own band anyway!) However, know that this might mean you'll have to sing solo for a while. Just remember that a duet comes together nicely only because of two separate, but intertwining parts, so practicing your own is always the first step.
If the solo act has you feeling down, head to your nearest karaoke bar where you can typically find someone to cheer you on, no matter how poorly you know a melody. Chances are, there you'll also find others similarly out of tune. (Just stay clear of events advertising "America's Next Top Karaoke Star - Tuesday Nights!)
There are a lot of songs out there, but keep listening. Keep shuffling. Eventually you learn your favorites by heart.
Liam Brazier is a freelance animator/illustrator from London. He's drawn images for impressive clientele, such as Apple and Samsung, and has been featured nationwide in various cinemas, gallery shows, and even at the Glastonbury Festival.