Call Me Geordie, Maybe

(Watch on YouTube)

I couldn’t resist sharing this one.  The ever-catchy ‘Call Me Maybe’ has officially been translated into Geordie.

I can proudly say I didn’t even need subtitles to know what they were on about!  Another right of passage achieved…

Tori Amos on Something for the Weekend

avt_kapyork_large115 Good Afternoon Ladies,

Part of my Sunday ritual usually includes watching Something for the Weekend on BBC2.  This morning, Tori Amos was a guest on the show.  She was my teenage hero in the 90′s (along with Sarah McLachlan) but I had no idea I would connect with her again in my late 20′s.

She married a British man and they, along with their daughter, split their time between Cornwall and East Coast USA.  She gave a fantastic interview on the show – mostly about being an American in Britain and she has clearly settled amongst those who strive to hold on to their “Americaness” and even referred to herself as a guest in Britain.  Her new single is even about a American woman who moves to London and loses too much of herself trying to fit in.  Sound familiar?

You can see the interview here:

And, watch out for her new video on youtube,  called “Welcome to England”.  I’ll post a link when I find it.

Humming along to the completely wrong tune

avt_kapyork_large115During my first Christmas in England, my parents came over to spend the holidays with Mr. Charismatic and me.  We took them to York Minster on Christmas Eve to listen to the Christmas Carols sung by a choir.  They invited audience participation so we stood up with everyone else and starting singing but in about 3 seconds we were looking around in astonishment.  We were singing the right words, but in the wrong tune!

Mr. Charismatic was singing the right tune – he clearly knew the songs well.  I was thinking it was funny he never mentioned the difference during his Christmases in America.  Then I realised that all of our previous Christmases were during our long-distance years. 

I still have never done the research to find out why I new all the words but not the right tunes.  Is it another of those things that Americans changed?  Or was the church version just different then the commercial tunes? 

Britians in America – did you notice this?

I DO NOT predict a riot… a take on the music scene in England

yankeebeanAnywhere you go, there are bound to be differences in what your job is like.  If  you’re a doctor in America, you spend your day fending off prescription-related-freebies and working healing-retail.  But if you’re a doctor in England, you might spend your day fussing over budgets and being not-too-friendly (since such an attitidue is often met with COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT levels of suspsicion).

I (much like peaceful yorkshire), am a musician.  A pianist, in fact.  I’m classically trained, but I play more modern music.  I make most of my living doing session work in my home studio and occasionally performing live with local bands.

I played a show last night at a University bar (which turned out to be a school canteen… glam).  I’m not complaining because I really love to play… I can usually just go to my happy-place and play for the love of it.  But I couldn’t help but leave the gig thinking about how different gigging in the States is…

And the biggest difference is (SURPRISE!) the people!  ‘The punters’, ‘the crowd’, ‘the scene’ – THE ENGLISH.

Now now now, this will not be another opportunity to rip on the English.  You might not be able to tell, but I really like English people ‘at the end of the day’.  But when you’re playing a show, the ‘I’m-going-to-appear-underwhelmed-no-matter-how-much-I-love-this-show’ attitude is MENTAL!  I can see in people’s eyes when they’re enjoying the music… it’s like there’s an enjoyment-alien trying to bust outta their chest, but it just can’t get through.  And it makes it flipping hard work for the muzo’s on stage, jumping around like caffeinated monkeys just to keep the seemingly-non-plussed masses looking in the right direction.

Sometimes at shows (when the bands I’m playing with let me have a microphone on stage… fools!!) I actually give English crowds a lesson on how to react to music if they want to show their appreciation.  It helps them to loosen up and stop taking themselves so freakin seriously.  We go through the following pointers:

  • How to clap loudly – and for longer than you might think is required
  • How to make appreciative sounds – such as ‘woo!’, ‘yeah!’, or any positive exclamation that springs to mind
  • How to ‘bop along’ – how to move to music including – tapping your foot, drumming lightly on a table, nodding your head in time to the music, or (if you’re a real renegade) wiggling slightly to the music (of which the official term is ‘bopping along’)
  • Smiling – yes, that’s right… SMILING.  I have taught crowds in the past that SMILING is a good way to show you’re enjoying yourself.  Unbelievable…

The thing is, I don’t know what it’s like to grow up English.  I grew up in a family of loud-volume and constant hand-waving-while-talking.  My family are not a shy people.  What would it be like to grown up with ‘reserve’ and ‘sensibility’ wired into your system?  I can’t even imagine…

My enjoyment alien lives his life constantly hanging out of my chest like some kind of twisted Muppet, cheering and grinning constantly at everyone and everything.

But, although it means I have to really work for it, I don’t mind guiding the English through the subtle art of expressing enjoyment at gigs.  It’s for the greater good!