The George Formby Society (GFS) weekend in Blackpool ... we did make it - eventually.
On Friday night the revenge of something or someone had me out of bed for most of the night, holed up in the smallest room in the house, doubled up, puking.... that's all the detail you need folks, it was not nice. But on Saturday when we should have been enjoying the music and the incomparable atmosphere in the Imperial Hotel, I was sleeping, exhausted - the whole day.
And to add insult to injury, the wasted hotel booking for that night was, of course, forfeit.
But Sunday morning I felt better, and fit for the journey up the motorway to Blackpool, "The Last Resort".
Caroline had been there all along, of course. My uke/banjo-uke kindred spirit, we met at the June meeting... last Friday we had suddenly planned by email, to go for a duet in one of the free-and-easy concerts... Lili Marlene. In harmony. But firing on only two cylinders, as it were, I'd got decidedly cold feet. And Caroline had had a nasty attack of stage fright on the Saturday. So we both decided to attend the mic class on Sunday afternoon for the "Up-and-comers" - very useful experience for anyone who has never sung into a mic before. Well, I sang Lili Marlene, doing strums on my little Slingerland... I got through it, just. Then we tried a verse together, in harmony - totally unrehearsed. Not too bad. A small and gentle audience in a small, cosy room - but an audience, nonetheless.
What is it that happens between brain and fingers when you're nervous? They say goodbye to each other, that's what. It has always been one of my weak points, in music - any sort of performance - nerves. And why is it that it just doesn't seem to affect the youngsters?
Take Eric, for example. A young lad of seven, with a beautiful head of long wavy hair that any pre-Raphaelite beauty would have been proud of, a cherubic face and a banjolele almost bigger than himself. He sat down at the mic with his uke and played and sang "What a Wonderful World", faultlessly, fearlessly... and there are lots of quick chord changes in that - and at the end we even had the gravelly Satchmo "Oh yeah...." and a mischievous grin - we'll be hearing more of Eric, I have no doubt.....he was a Star.
But the reason they have no fear at the mic is because they haven't learned fear in this context. They know they can do the performance, and they know it will be rapturously received... a confidence that you just lose as you get older. They are not thinking "What if they all think "who does she think she is..." Which is precisely what I think, and why I begin to turn to jelly from my finger-ends.