In Which I Attempt To Smooth Over My Long Absence By Offering You Some Old-Fashioned Entertainment

22 Sep

Hey sweeties, how are you all?

Apologies for how long it’s been since I last posted.  In my defence, 2016 has been the busiest year of my life, one way or another.  I took a couple of weeks off in August to recharge my batteries but hectic life started up again in September.

Some highlights: as a volunteer, I now run a monthly creative writing workshop at a mental health charity here in Stockport.  I have also delivered other workshops elsewhere, including at the school where I’m a governor.  I’ve given a number of poetry readings.  I finished the holiday club script and dived straight back into editing my second poetry collection.  I have been up and down the country by train for various reasons, most of which – but not all – involved watching Alex perform in one thing or another.  We’ve had both boys home, together and separately.  And I joined a community choir (because I obviously don’t have enough to do).

I love to sing.  I have a pleasant voice; not great.  Naturally, if I’d had training, I’d be a massive superstar a la Kylie Minogue (same height) or Susan Boyle (same great looks), but instead, thanks to my parents’ complete lack of foresight, I’ve had to settle for a wobbly command of mid-range notes, sung in the my-dog’s-embarrassing-howl style.  Nevertheless, I love being part of a choir.

I especially loved it last Saturday, when the choir held its fifth anniversary concert, singing a collection of music down the centuries, from Mozart and madrigals to the Beatles, Coldplay and Adele (what is wrong with that woman?  Someone Like You…total stalker anthem).

Here’s my problem: I’m easily distracted.  If I sit in the middle of the Altos, I can sing the alto line-tune-harmony-whatever.  Place me anywhere near the Baritones or Sopranos, however, and I’m all over the place, and not in a good seeing-the-world-and-all-its-wonders way.  I’m the musical equivalent of a wrecking ball, bashing the closest notes in a frenzy of must-get-through-this-no-matter-what and taking down anyone within range before they’re even aware that the trill under the bridge has escaped to eat anyone unfortunate enough to cross its path.

Image result for free to use singing funny

This is not a case of false modesty: I cannot hold a tune if my neighbour wavers even a little from my particular party line.  It is for this reason I opted to sit near the back of the Altos on Saturday night, at the end of the row closest to the wall.  I was safe there; and everyone was safe from me…until three surplus Sopranos were moved to the only empty seats on the stage, next-but-one to me.  Ah well; I smiled a lot, sang the unison parts and mouthed the words when the tune overpowered me. The audience seemed to enjoy themselves all night so I don’t think they noticed; though the Mayor of Manchester did leave early…he said it was for another engagement, but he would say that, wouldn’t he?

The most exciting thing for me was that I got to perform with Alex!  Granted, he was a featured soloist and I hid behind my scores the whole night, but still, I performed with my baby!  He sang the lyrics to Billy Joel’s For The Longest Time and the choir sang all the backing ‘woh-woh’ bits. Thirty-six members of the choir sang the ‘woh-woh’ bits, that is; and one member kept getting distracted and forgetting where she was up to.

The harmony lyrics are basically, Woh-oh-oh-oh…For the longest time.  How hard can it be?

Pretty hard, actually, if you’re trying to listen to the child who once sat in your stomach like lead pillow stuffing sing like the angel who gave you stretch marks on top of your other angel’s stretch marks, and thirty-six other people won’t shut up so you can hear him.

Now for the promised entertainment: I’m not going to give you For The Longest Time because there’s some woman in the back out of time and out of tune; instead, I give you a little bit of Gershwin.  You may recall Alex’s frequent collaborator, Sam Gilliatt, who played Jesus to his Judas in Godspell; and Greville to his Bert in two separate productions of The Tree of War.  Here they are showing off their natural onstage chemistry.  You can thank me in the comments.  Incidentally, this performance came after one ten-minute rehearsal, thirty minutes before the show.  Both boys had been busy with other things and that was their first opportunity to rehearse together.

Fred & Ginger Fred


My favourite comment of the night came from the sweet geriatric lady who told Alex, ‘I’m one of your groupies.’



27 Responses to “In Which I Attempt To Smooth Over My Long Absence By Offering You Some Old-Fashioned Entertainment”

  1. thehutts September 22, 2016 at 15:18 #

    Please can we have ‘For the Longest Time’? Did enjoy Alex’s singing. Sally


    • The Laughing Housewife September 28, 2016 at 17:22 #

      I’d like to say yes but, to be honest, it means getting the Hub to isolate it on the concert DVD and he’s not well at the moment i.e. more unwell than usual. If he feels better soon, I’ll ask him.


  2. MELewis September 22, 2016 at 15:50 #

    What fun! Wish I could find a choir near me that did a nice mix of classics and show tunes. I love to sing and could probably help keep you focused on your part but Manchester is a bit far.


  3. slpmartin September 22, 2016 at 16:18 #

    Oh my…you have been busy! Thanks ever for the update and the entertainment…all the best to you and yours.


  4. SchmidleysScribblins September 22, 2016 at 18:08 #

    Hard on those of us who need a dose of your presence. Hard to know someone with such a busy life. You’ve probably even given up Maltesers.


    • The Laughing Housewife September 28, 2016 at 17:24 #

      Wash your mouth out with soap! Give up Maltesers??!! I thought you knew me better than that 😉


  5. laurieanichols September 22, 2016 at 18:09 #

    Alex has a new groupie 🙂 xxxx Tilly dearest, I’m so happy for you and all of your projects!


  6. patrecia upton September 22, 2016 at 18:40 #

    nothing like keeping busy..carry on singng


  7. colonialist September 22, 2016 at 23:35 #

    As long as she didn’t say, ‘gropies’!
    That was really SO good, and I’m sure your own contributions are far better than you make out.
    Now, let me get this straight: there’s a mental health charity for writers? Good thing, that. The occupation sends anybody bonkers.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Elaine - I used to be indecisive September 23, 2016 at 11:22 #

    You’ve been busy! Thanks for the link to Alex’s performance – I really enjoyed it. He has a wonderful voice. I’m looking forward to watching him in the West End in years to come. 🙂


    • judyt54 September 23, 2016 at 19:46 #

      He has that marvelous command, that stage presence. I can hardly wait to see what he does in the future…
      And oh, Tilly, sympathies with you for the choir. I love to sing, too, but it’s been years, and Im afraid my old lady voice would just get lost. I hum well, though.

      I suspect Alex has a lot of groupies at this stage. you’re his best advert at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Laughing Housewife September 28, 2016 at 17:31 #

        Seriously, the words ‘superfan’ and ‘doting mother’ were invented specially to describe me 🙂

        I have no embarrassment about boasting about my children. In fact, I don’t understand parents who don’t boast about their children (with obvious exceptions, of course; I can’t see Donald Trump’s mother acknowledging that relationship in a hurry…). The only reason I don’t boast about Glory Boy is because he’s fiercely private; but trust me when I say he’s doing very well indeed. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • judyt54 September 28, 2016 at 18:06 #

          So, tilly that means that you will NOT be voting for Trump in November? Tch. Im shocked.

          I agree, if a kid deserves praise, they should get it without a great deal of tugging. If they are praise seekers, that may be a different issue altogether. But you and your husband have done a good job on their egos, obviously.

          And you respect their privacy. Now THAT impresses me.


  9. Grannymar September 23, 2016 at 20:11 #

    Brilliant! Mother and son on the same stage at the same time. I cannot complain about you not blogging since I have been practically invisible for the past few months. Do you think it was the shock of meeting Al?


  10. Karen Snyder September 24, 2016 at 02:34 #

    Stateside groupie here! 😉 Alex is truly gifted!

    I think it’s lovely that you have so much going on in your life — bound to keep you out of trouble – but it is fun to hear from you now and again, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Karen Snyder September 24, 2016 at 04:12 #

    Wondering if my prior comments were relegated to your spam? 😦


  12. anotherday2paradise September 24, 2016 at 14:36 #

    Alex has a wonderful voice, Tilly. I’m sure you’re far too modest. 🙂 xx


  13. Janie Jones September 25, 2016 at 17:43 #

    So good to hear from you again! Alex has certainly grown up into a handsome and talented young man.


  14. Harry Nicholson September 29, 2016 at 21:34 #

    Tilly – since I changed computers I’ve lost many email addresses. I hoped to ask you to read and perhaps review ‘The Black Caravel,’ the sequel to ‘Tom Fleck’. It’s dedicated to Viv. Sorry to intrude here. I’m now at: dhruvasimha(at)



  1. I’m On The Telly (Sort Of) | The Laughing Housewife - November 4, 2016

    […] remember I joined a community choir this year, run by the wonderfully talented Ollie Mills, who composed The Tree of War?  He was […]


I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

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