Monday, January 18, 2010

The Power Of Music

I've just skimmed nervously through my unashamedly gushy post below about my favourite singer in the whole of musikdom and I have to ask the question... am I too old, at 36, to wax lyrical(ok, hysterical)about a pop star?
Perhaps I ought to have waited a fortnight or two, and reflected sensibly, before typing out a carefully worded reaction/review which makes me appear less of an obsessed fangirl? But that's the problem with music, especially music which taps into our psyche in a certain way... it is what it is and when we start trying to explain the mysterious and wonderful way music winds itself around our consciousness,we fail spectacularly.

I've always loved music, and if I hear certain tunes from the past, am instantly transported to another decade, which has long passed. Every time I hear Frank Sinatra, my Father's voice and face are there in front of me, despite him being dead for twenty five years. When I hear Boy George, I'm instantly right there in my bedroom at Wenlock Close with my friend Sinead and a vinyl record playing over and over ad infinitum. When I hear ELO, or Prince, or early Madonna, I think of Gavin. And when I hear Electric Six, I think of my youngest daughters birth, which was over before I could say 'epidural'in a 5 minute drama at Basildon Hospital! Music takes me back to my eldest daughters birth, when Prince was singing 'The Most Beautiful Girl In The World' on the radio and it was so perfect, so's corny, but if you remember every special memory, I bet there is music playing somewhere in the background, a 'theme tune' for every milestone and every amazing day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Magic In The Room

Here's what I refer to as a 'Dorothy moment', when we realise, with some uncertain glee, that we are 'not in Kansas anymore' but in some fantastical domain, the name of which eludes us yet.

The rest of this blog entry is awful, truly truly awful. You have been warned.
It's unashamedly gushy cheese from a bonafide signed up member of the Darren Hayes fangirl collective. It's syrupy and corny and cliched and probably the shittiest prose you'll ever read. I'm sorry about that.

There are occasions in life when we are lifted up beyond our ordinary selves into another realm. At times like these, our senses are heightened, emotions amplified.

On New Years Eve, the Emerald City took the shape of a smart club complex in Vauxhall called 'The Colloseum' and we arrived early thanks to my wonderful sister Alison who babysat for the day/ evening, so we could spend New Years Eve in the company of an Australian superstar called Darren Hayes. He used to be in a band called Savage Garden. It's a shame I feel compelled to report this fact every time I mention his name. Without it, most people ask 'who do you mean?' For me, one of the biggest mysteries of the past decade is why Mr. Hayes is not a global star at the top of the A-List. There are few singers who can penetrate your soul with the power of their voice, but Darren Hayes is one of them. His falsetto is flawless, his live vocals even more perfect and spine tingling than those recorded in a studio. He is my favourite male vocalist of the past twenty years.

I've never been much of a properly committed fangirl. Aside from the 1980's, when I loved Boy George and Culture Club with all my angsty teenage heart, music has never moved me in the same way. I didn't even know who this Hayes person was.
I thought he must be a new act, a new music star... the name was a mystery.

So what of New Years Eve 2009? A number of strange and beautiful coincidences conspired to make the perfect day/evening.
When Gavin and I arrived, armed with our much coveted fanclub tickets, we chose a table near a radiator (for warmth and no other more spurious reason) which happened to be right next to the door which led from the Cafe Rez into the Club Colloseum, where the show was being held. Darren told us fans to 'get our glitz on' so I excitedly opted for sequins and taffeta!

We were lucky to get into the room early, so had a superb view of the stage. I've never been that close to any performer before and the realisation that we had such a prime position, made me jump for joy (and realise that I couldn't eat or drink for the next six hours to save our place - we had to make do with a lukewarm can of diet pepsi). Lady Gaga's song 'Monster' was the track playing before Darren appeared on stage.

Darren began with a pitch perfect performance of 'Ego' and looked very relaxed, tossing his unruly blond hair all over the place, (with the help of a strategically placed wind machine) like the seasoned pop star he is. During one song (which eludes me now, damn damn, damn!) Darren walked over to where I was standing and grabbed my hand whilst singing. Who me? (I screamed, yes I did)

I'm not sixteen years old anymore, almost 37, but a moment of fangirl joy is still one to be savoured and appreciated as intensely as possible. I looked over at Gavin and he was visibly happy for me. (My husband, the guy who pretends that he is cajoled into coming, but attended the Royal Albert Hall gig on his own because he was working in London and we had no babysitters for both of us to attend!)

When Darren performed 'Where You Want To Be' for the first time ever, an audible gasp was heard around the room.
I'd always assumed the song was about his former bandmate Daniel, so to have this confirmed by Darren, was pretty edifying.
After the show and once Darren had done his funny (as ever) countdown to New Year with his iPhone, we danced away to a set-list prepared by Darren, which had some pretty amazing tracks in there, Bowie/Prince/Little Boots/Gaga amongst many others.

And then, not long before we were ready to leave, when we were just about danced out and exhausted after being vertical for over twelve hours with little to sustain us aside from some Thai food and diet coke, we saw Darren leave the VIP area.
Gavin walked us both over there to have a 'quick look' before we left finally for the night and Darren appeared to say hello to his fans, sign autographs and take photos etc. It doesn't quite come naturally to me, this fangirl stuff. In private, in the privacy of my car or kitchen or ipod, I am quite the fangirl extraordinairre, an unashamed pop bitch fan!

But in reality, I'm quite a shy person, respectful of personal space and boundaries. I'm not the most tactile person in the world either, so it took a fair bit of chutzpah to politely (and too quietly, Darren could hardly hear me) request a hug. After this wonderfully surreal moment, which passed in a happy blur, Darren gestured towards Gavin to take a photo of us together. So there I am, in the wee small hours of New Years Day, in a nightclub in London, being snapped on camera as per request of my music idol! Tell me how future New Years Eves can ever compare with this?

On the tube back to Cockfosters, at four o'clock in the morning, I wondered if it had all actually happened, or if I was Dorothy Gale and about to wake later in Kansas and wonder what the hell?! But after driving back to Biggleswade and scoffing bacon sandwiches as the sun rose, and getting six straight hours of sleep as our daughters slept in, we awoke to the happy realisation that we had been to the Emerald City and back and the Wizard was real.