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This is a question On the stage

Too shy to ever appear on stage myself, I still hung around theatres like a bad smell when I was younger - lighting and set design were what I was good at.

Backstage we'd attempt to sabotage every production - us lighting geeks would wind up the sound man by putting the remote "pause" button for his reel-to-reel tape machine on his chair, so when he sat down it'd start running, ruining his cues. Actors would do scenes out of order to make our lives hell. It was great and I don't know why I don't still do it.

Tell us your stories of life on the stage.

(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 11:02)
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Aged 15, a 600-strong audience of peers, and a trombone Solo.
Put yourself in my position. Here's a moment from my past.

Imagine for one moment that you're not exactly the most popular kid in school. It's school that revolves around sport. The vast majority of the well-monied pupils eat, breathe, shit and wank sport.

You however, are not a born-and-bred sporting egoist. You're not floating on Daddy's bank-balance. You are a music Scholar. You in for for free. However, you're in way over your head. Will "I poked Di" Carling went to your school, and your ability to play cricket and rugby comes a close second to Your equally non-existant ability to shit Tiffany cuff-links

To all around you, you are nothing. A waste of space. Something that crawled from the abortion bucket in the corner of the clinic's most dank room, and survived when rightly, your life should have never been allowed to start. This vicious and blind view on life has earned you the nick-name: "Bucket".

*************

You're on stage. Alone. It's 6' high. Infront of 600 lads who hold you with a special kind of disdainful contempt. Infact, It's the social equivalent of shoving O.J.Simpson up on stage at the KKK's annual NRA supporter's meet.

Your tutor has said "Go on... It'll be good practice for your Grade 8 exam" (Here Mr Christie... We're going to drop you off in the Savannah, just ahead of these rabid cheetahs.. it'll be great practice for the 100meters sprint)

True.. there's a big exam coming up and you've been playing this damned thing for 10 years. Your party trick which, though lost on the rugby toffs, will yeild ladies at university: 10 years of tonguing the steel has lead to the ability to push your tongue through a slightly yellow un-peeled banana... It doesn't matter now though: these guys don't give a shit. They want to see you fuck up.

This isn't a concert, this is morning assembly, there is no back-up act. The time is now. You're it.

Expectant silence... A couple of jeers, and you're sweating. You're the Beta-Male in a heard of Alphas. You can feel the sweat running down your spine, and suddenly seeping away into the shirt: Even your own SWEAT doesn't want to be near you...

You've been warming the trombone for 10 minutes now.. each and every breath you take has been ex-haled through the cold tubing... calmly trying to control your heart-beat with smooth breathing. There's good deal of condensation in the bottom of the trombone's slide.. people think that it's spit that brass players blow from the "water keys" on thier instruments.. it's not. It's condensation.. but that Doesn't stop you from blowing it all over a smirking brat in the front row... but as you blow you can feel your breath shaking: about as good as Kasparpov developing a migrane just as his opponent sends out the first pawn...

Silence.


Raise the trombone, and Autopilot kicks in. Eyes closed, instrument raised high; years of practice launch you into one of the most complex and mixed trombone solos ever written. Ranging from ear-battering bombaste, to erie and spine-tingling melodies.

My Eyes stayed closed, all 7 minutes of the solo memorised after hours of playing it through.

Right at the end just after the last note rang itself out in the high beams of the building. I opened my eyes because I was suddenly aware of a the wind outside, and the gentle scrunch of the gardeners boots in the gravel. I could hear the smallest noises that the world had on offer... but not the people infront of me... A room full of 600 lads, and not ONE of them was making a sound.

A Seat creaked, and someone stood up and started to clap. Then the noise was deafening as hundreds of seats were pushed back and everyone else followed suit.

It blew me away. Completely.

My legs felt like jelly as I left the stage, but it didn't show.

*******************************************

Most of the special people from that school are living out of Daddy's pockets now, or sponging from better-off friends. Some are Lawyers, Some are brokers, but they're all still cunts, grumbling about how hellish london is.

The underdogs from that school have excelled. They're flung to the far corners of the earth living life to the full. I know of two who are surf instructors and life guards in north-east Australia. Some in Barbados, and others happily married in exotic countries.

***********************************

I quit the trombone the day I walked out of that school. I keep my Tenor Trombone as a reminder, and nothing more.

Swings and roundabouts kids. Swings, and big fucking roundabouts.
(, Mon 5 Dec 2005, 11:58, closed)

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