SINGING IS WHAT YOU DO when you want to make a noise but haven’t got anything much to say. A lot of animals, birds, and wildlife also sing. Whale song is a particularly good effort, especially when you consider they’re doing it underwater.
Just because you can’t sing doesn’t mean you can’t sing. There’s just as much fun to be had belting out I Will Survive with every note completely wrong because if you can’t sing the right notes, it’s unlikely that you’ll hear the right notes. Others will, of course, notice, and You May Not Survive. If challenged, you can always say it’s the jazz version … because there are two things you can’t argue with in life: jazz and hedges.
The favourite place for people who don’t normally sing is in the bath because everyone sounds like Pavarotti in there, no one can throw things at you in the bath, and the shower head makes a perfect microphone. One has to wonder what Pavarotti would have sounded like in the bath, although one perhaps should also wonder whether a bath has yet been built that could have accommodated Pavarotti.
People always feel safe singing at home because they think they are in a world of their own. You are, in fact, surrounded by neighbours who can hear every note. The only reason they don’t complain is because they previously lived under the flight path of Heathrow Airport, and they developed a certain resistance to that kind of noise.
Karaoke is all the rage because it gives you all you need to sing properly but without the bath. The only drawback is that you have to sing in front of everyone from the office, which makes you feel more naked than when you’re actually in the bath. Church services are also a form of karaoke in that you are given the lyrics and then have to sing along to a backing track from Mrs Witherspoon on the organ. The only difference is that you aren’t supposed to be completely cabbaged before singing in church.
In the old days, there were folk songs that everyone could sing, like ‘There was an Old Man called Michael Finnigan’. With these songs, you could start singing, and everyone would join in with the next line. The youth of today are brought up on songs like Duck Sauce’s ‘Barbra Streisand’. You could try and start singing it, but no one’s going to join in because it doesn’t have a second line. Or if someone else starts singing it, simply hijack the song by adding, ‘She had whiskers on her Chinnigan’…
© GUY BROWNING IS THE AUTHOR OF ‘NEVER PUSH WHEN IT SAYS PULL’ AND CREATOR OF ‘TORTOISE IN LOVE’ (DVD) – USED BY PERMISSION.