Maybe I’m crazy…


Stars in their Loafs

I don’t know about you, but I regularly have talent show daydreams. Having the benefit of a good few songs’ worth to walk around to each day, I’m often whisked away to Matthew Kelly’s steamy gates (easy…) or Simon Cowell’s lonely floorboards.

One dreams of that moment when I walk out of the door, smoke billowing around me, with a pork-pie hat thrust on my craggily-made-up brow, over to the piano. A hush falls on the expectant crowd and as the first few chords ring out the anticipation could be cut with a butter knife. My big booming voice echoes through the room, as cracked as the Tate floor, as whisky-soaked as any homeless man, more gravelly than the Wu-Tang’s pits. Does life seem nasty, brutish and short, I question them? How familiar is the average viewer of Stars In Their Eyes with Hobbes, and his bleak, savage prose, or Tom Waits’ interpretation of them into gospel chorale? I wonder.

Or the lights come up and I’m stood, cold and lonely with only a Telecaster covering my scruffy clothes, on the vast expanse of the Hackney Empire stage, squinting out into an audience of jeering, caterwauling harridans, emotional families, brutal armchair critics. As I look around I discover I’m introducing myself to Piers Morgan, and looking at him with less disdain than I would wish. As I step back, the band behind me strike up – it’s the only expression to herald the beginning of Born To Run – and I’m lurching into my growl. I’m grunting some doggerel about cars and girls and then I hit a note and the previously alien crowd goes wild, and I’m strutting, really strutting around the stage wielding my guitar like it’s made of plywood and pointing it at my saxophonist who in turn throws himself across the stage on his knees to hit that grand solo.

Now I’m a star in the middle of a carpeted room, an artificial, unacoustic hall where nothing sounds good unless belted. As I cough and stumble my introductions I take it upon myself to launch into a dark, grandiose rendition of an old Nick Cave song, and my voice is warm, yet threatening, impressive, yet malicious. In my mind I’m on stage anyway, point something – anything – at the audience beligerently, defying them to knock me down from my bold and impressive perch.

That’s what my walks are taken up with, mostly. The Boss and Tom Waits are most to blame for this sort of thing…


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