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Friday, 18 October 2013

Evidence that being turned to stone can sometimes work to one's advantage, so go think on it, Medusa

I am writing this post to distract myself from fear.  Tonight, I'm appearing at a charity gig and have to make people laugh for half an hour or more.  When these things go well, it's brilliant.  When, after the first couple of minutes, people have only tittered, or, much, much worse, yawned like a canyon, there's a loud voice in my ear going, 'Get off the stage, you eejit.  Whatever made you think you could get up there in the first place?  Either admit defeat and leave, or take your clothes off and secure the laughs that way.' 

I'm always telling the kids at school that confidence is about pretending.  Most adults, I say, who look supremely confident, in whatever field, are having to battle doubts.  Anyone in the public eye, on a large or small scale, has to find out for themselves how to appear calm even when the bowels are grinding like the innards of Vesuvius and the mouth is as dry as a drunk's on a Sunday morning.

If only I would take my own advice.  I'm frit to bits, as my Granddad would have said.

Tony Blair once admitted that, before the weekly Prime Minister's Question Time, he was petrified.  No one believed this; he made it look easy.  In his autobiography, he confessed that he had taken to drinking too much in the evenings to cope with the day-to-day challenges of being PM, much of which was about pretending to be confident about his decisions.  I think we can see why he was afraid.

'Petrified' is an interesting word, if a little cliched as a metaphor for fear.  That didn't stop Gloria Gaynor belting it out, though, and making a pretty penny.

Here are some definitions:

Petrified
v. pet·ri·fiedpet·ri·fy·ingpet·ri·fies
v.tr.
1. To convert (wood or other organic matter) into a stony replica by petrifaction.
2. To cause to become stiff or stonelike; deaden.
3. To stun or paralyze with terror; daze.

Ah, yes.  These are the things performers and politicians alike are afraid of.  Being converted into a stony replica, deadened, and stunned with terror.

Looking on the bright side, this would be a fabulous act.  Move over, Houdini.  Here comes the Incredible Petrifying Woman.  I think I might start my act tonight by saying, 'If you want me to carry on telling jokes and doing silly poems, laugh as much as you can.  If you'd rather see a novelty act in which a rather plump woman is turned into a stony replica, hold back with the laughs.  You can laugh afterwards when she is taken off the stage on a large trolley by a confused charity event organiser who thought he'd booked a poet comedian.'



Fran was just trying to remember the punchline to the joke when terror overtook her
 and saved her the trouble.


Right.  I'd better go and rehearse a little more.  I forgot about tonight for a full five minutes there. Result!




20 comments:

  1. Good luck, Fran! And just think - you could be going to be boiled in oil, or tortured on the rack, when in fact all (all! ha) you've got to do is make people laugh for half an hour. Simples.

    Do let us know how it goes.

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    1. Hi Frances. Hm, how did it go?.... I think I'd give myself a 6 or 7 out of 10. But I survived. And there were some laughs. And I got to have a good bop when the disco started, and that is ALWAYS a bonus.

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  2. With curves like that , you'll have the audience eating out of your hand .

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    1. Or off the thighs, which are the size of the tables we were eating at.

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  3. Break a leg.

    (Or 'chip' a bone or 'crack' a smile.)

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    1. I'd like to say 'I rocked' just for the sake of the joke, but it wouldn't be quite true. But it was good.

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  4. I would be happy to laugh at you for a reasonable fee!!

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  5. Well, I suppose you're doing it just about now. I hope it's going well and that your hands don't actually fall off like the lady of the statue because this would make it harder to put your clothes on again and it's getting chilly these days.

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    Replies
    1. You're right! She has very strange hands. I would also have found it hard to play my guitar.

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  6. You'll be wonderful.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Janie. Nice of you.

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  7. I know how funny you can be so I'm not too worried. Knock them dead---especially if they don't laugh.

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    1. Ha ha! That made ME laugh!

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  8. It's Saturday here now, late afternoon, so I'm hoping this went very well for you.

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    1. Thanks, River. I survived, put it that way.

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  9. It's all over now ! Well done Fran.
    I'm told we should wear high heels or stand on a table when making an important phone call. Heels yes, but they might have thought it a tad odd if you stood on the table.
    Did you use the old trick of imagining the audience naked ? ( might cause a fit of hysterical giggles depending on the audience though )

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    1. Oh, didn't I mention? They WERE all naked. It was a naturists' charity. The only thing that got me through was imagining them all dressed.

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  10. How did it go?

    But just as importantly, did you open with those lines?

    Well done Cuz!

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    1. No, I didn't open with those lines ... I didn't want to risk someone shouting, 'We'd rather see the novelty act!' It went fine, thanks. I think.

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