11.05.2006 20:54 - Sunny
The band that practices before us are rehearsing a version of "Sunny" (Sunny, yesterday my life was full of pain..etc.)
I cannot hear this song without being transported back to Lea Hall Social Club. My Nan worked there, and, often, would sneak us in to see the stage show. As I have detailed elsewhere in this blog, Lea Hall was one of the first steps on the road to fame, or the last on the road to obscurity. But Lea Hall also introduced me to the delights of the Working Men's Club Crooner.
The Working Men's club Crooner, you see, had once been told by some tone-deaf idiot that they could sing. Rather like Mario Lanza, they had developed a crude technique to allow them to belch out the words to songs. This would take the form of a strange, strangled baritone, blessed with a peculiar vibrato - which gave the impression that they were being throttled. You can mimic this by forcing your diaphragm up, tightening your chest, but, rather than letting the sound project, constricting your throat. "Sunny" would come out thus : "Sunn-eeeee, hesterdee may lay-iafe was filll wi payyyy- AH!". This would be delivered whilst holding the microphone in the similar manner to someone who thought they were being given a cigar, but which has turned out in fact to be a large and noisome turd, and pulling a face which involves contorting your bottom lip as though you're looking for ulcers on it.
The other thing about these crooners was that they all looked the same - the dodgy perm, the bad 70's suit, the vulgar jewellery, the sad dad-dance sub-Motown attempts to groove. And they all sang "Sunny".
No, they didn't sing "Sunny". They murdered it.
Until about 1976, when "I Will Survive" came out, and so they all switched en masse to murdering that instead.
I have a nightmare. I'm sitting at home, watching TV, when one of these crooners comes on, and he announces he's going to sing one of my songs.
Then again it couldn't be any worse than my own version.