I finally, and just barely, managed to get out there and do my thing in front of people!
I've been working on a few things for a while with a mate of mine, Neil, and two weeks ago somebody cancelled at a local open-mike-ish kinda gig, and we got their half-hour slot. Since that point, I'd ditched running through the things I play by myself in favour of getting every spare minute into the things we play together, and there's never many spare minutes in my little world
We worked out 10 songs, with him singing 6 and me 4, and a couple of solos which I'd do. I got a half-day holiday from work so we could practice on the day too. Turned up at his house at 4pm (gig was at 9pm, wanted to be there for 8pm) and no answer at his door. Tried his phone, switched off. Swore rather a lot, went to my local music shop around the corner to get myself off the street. (The owners are practically family, it was nice to have a whinge there too
At 6pm when the shop shuts I finally get hold of him on the phone - he's not well and can't do the gig. An affliction that prevents the use of a telephone too, apparently
I couldn't cancel because it's a good mate who runs it and I didn't want to let him down, so I'm slowly making my way over there, frantically trying to remember which songs I can do comfortably by myself, which of the ones I do with Neil that I can just drop the solos to and do by myself, and more importantly, what order to do them in so I don't blow my voice before the end.
Did I mention I've been getting over a nasty bout off flu-like something or other, and coughing non-stop for the entire weekend? And that I'm petrified of doing anything when all the attention is on me? I even get uncomfortable when I'm with a big group of friends and everyone stops talking to listen to something I'm saying
Anyhoooo, I got there in the end with a list I thought I could pull off (technically), met my mate and he tells me there's a panto on first. I was absolutely dreading it by now, I could just imagine a panto-crowd being noisy and boisterous and it was going to be more people than usual to play to too. We had a couple of games of pool and a couple of beers to wind down while the panto finished and then packed up, met two guys playing pool on the next table who were just waiting for the music. All three of them were really supportive, calmed me down a lot.
Finally, I get out there and just shut my eyes and go for it. I've never sung through a mike before either, that was just weird and took a bit of getting used to. You kind of feel the pitch rather than hear it, if that's any good as a description? The setup was a bit odd as the panto people had moved everything around - out front it was apparently fine, but from where I was it just sounded thin and echoy. Got used to it soon enough though.
Got to the end of the first song, and everyone clapped, so all was good. The panto crowd weren't really paying attention, which I actually found quite comforting, and the guys I was there with were really good and vocal in their support. I even felt comfortable enough to do a slightly-less-than-serious song (the theme tune to the littlest hobo), and that's really saying something. It's like a corny joke - in the right setting it goes down a storm because it's so corny, but you never know if you just going to get that tumbleweed moment of silence
Anyhoo, long story short: There are no excuses
. If somebody as petrified of performing as me can do it with all that went wrong on that day and get through it (and thoroughly enjoy it too!), anyone can. Just give yourself a kick and do it
, you can worry about it later. You'll be glad you did