I was always a rather confident child, never happier than while performing in a Shirley Temple fashion, dressed in an assortment of frilly numbers to a captive audience of assorted parents and family members. But somewhere around adolescence, everything changed. I didn´t quite turn into Kevin the teenager, but suddenly I was ravaged by self-conscious angst that brought my days of carefree dancing to an end, as a veil of shame and embarrassment overtook me, which has lasted pretty much into adult life.
But not long ago I had a bit of a realisation: life is too flaming short to worry about embarrassing oneself in front of a crowd, so rather by accident, this weekend has turned into the first tentative steps of becoming shameless once again and unleashing my inner all singing, dancing queen self.
I must admit this wasn’t exactly my intention as I entered Merchants Irish pub, who were hosting an ‘Open Mic’ night on Friday. Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Macarena neighbour and fellow Guiri Renny Jackson who while not performing himself, was tirelessly encouraging members of the public to come up on stage and share their talents. I must point out at this juncture, it was not remotely within the realms of possibility that I might head up on stage, as in my mind, I have no talent to share with the world at large. But after it was clear that this also applied to some other of the brave revellers who undeterred took to the stage, and after one almighty shove by my confidence coach and friend Esther, I found myself terrified and blinking into the lights and with no idea of what the heck was going to come out of my mouth.
But luckily something did, New York, New York as it happens, and boy did I milk my moment in the spot light. You see, if you’re becoming shameless, you must not care if you do it badly. I forgot the words, la’d la’d my way through a fair amount of the song, carried on when it was clearly time to stop, and I loved it. It felt liberating.
So much so the following night, I was back on stage at Karaoke Mikro just off the Ronda de Capuchino, a dark vortex of a bar dedicated to loosing all sense of time and space and a home to hen parties, lone wolves and frustrated crooners. This time I blasted out ‘Don’t you want me baby’ by the Human League, possibly a little too well for my perdiendo la verguenza (losing my embarrassment) purpose, not enough bum notes or awkward silences, but anyway, I guess I shouldn’t hide my shining light under a bushel every time.
So, I’ve got the bug. I still care far too much for my own good what people might think if I embarrass myself, but I am already planning my next performance at the Open Mic, which may well involve an emotional recital of ‘Where be the blackbird to?’ by the Wurzels. Miss it at your peril.
Merchants Malt House, C/ Canalejas, 12, 41001 Sevilla Tel: 954 21 45 00
Karaoke Mikro, Calle Madre Dolores Marquez (opposite petrol station on the Ronda de Capuchinos)