A week or so ago, a friend and I took a well-loved seventies rock classic and murdered it, gangland execution style.
The song was Meat Loaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light, and I think I know where we went wrong. I made the classic mistake of singing the male part; if we’d swapped, things would have gone so much better. On the plus side, the backing track was so loud that hardly anyone could hear us, so that was a relief.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with karaoke. I’m actually a bit of a fan of Rock Band, and when we’re playing it I always volunteer to sing. This is mainly because I struggle with all of the instruments and get frustrated with them, and while I’m not a natural singer, I can enjoy it more than constantly pressing the wrong button on a plastic guitar. My juhachiban is probably another rock anthem from the seventies, Born to Run. No-one can say I’m not down with the dad-rock.
By this point, anyone who’s heard one of my public performances is asking themselves why I’m talking about this. Thing is, I’ve been listening to a lot of Mike Yaconelli talks lately, and in one of them he said something that’s stuck with me; I’m paraphrasing, but it’s something like "You ask a little kid if they can sing, they say ‘Yeah, sure I can!’. Ask a teenager and they say ‘Well, yeah, but….’. Ask an adult and they say ‘No.’ What happened?"
It’s the same with dancing; by no objective criteria am I a good dancer, but what does it matter? It doesn’t, so why am I so embarassed by it? Part of it is that I’m a born introvert and I’m not very physically expressive, and I don’t have too much of a problem with that – it’s who I am, live with it. But another part of it, far darker and more oppressive, is that I’m simply scared and embarassed, and it’s stupid because I’m 33 and no-one really cares whether or not I’m a good singer or dancer, but it’s that little voice deep inside, isn’t it?
So you know what? I’m proud there are videos online of me singing the most random version of Accidentally in Love ever recorded. I can laugh at it and heck, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Cos like I said at the time, if you’re going down… Then go down in flames.
I still owe Meat Loaf an apology though.