Monday, 12 January 2015

Learning to Fake It.

By a long and tortuous route which I won’t bother to explain, I came tonight to remembering the time when I was a boy soprano in the church choir. (True – between the ages of 8 and 11. I must have looked a pretty neat sight in black cassock and white surplice, set off by some sort of bronze medallion hanging around my neck on a red ribbon. My mother would surely have been quite unable to restrain the tears if she’d seen me, only she didn’t because she never came to church. I often wondered why I did, and I asked her when I got older: ‘Why did I go to church?’ ‘Because you wanted to.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘But I didn’t want to. I always thought you made me.’ ‘No.’ Isn’t life a mystery?)

Anyway, my most abiding memory of being in the church choir was the singing of psalms. Psalms have attached to them the most boring tunes ever written. They seem to start nowhere and go nowhere, they just float indiscriminately up and down like a codfish on cannabis. There’s nothing to get a handle on, and so they’re quite impossible to learn. I didn’t bother; I just sang whatever came into my head, and you know what? It always sounded right.

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