SingingFebruary 17, 2012
Liz Green is a marvel of a curmudgeon. As I look on through the studio window, down upon the audience, the stage, the radio gubbins, I see she’s sat ready to spit at anything that doesn’t move, in a garden of well-wishing colleagues and contemporaries, to whom, I know, she feels she owes some explanation for her place in this, the dream she’s living, but of which she’s never cared to dream.
She has her microphone pointed to the ground, and her gaze following on after it, as the translator speaks smoothly into her ear.
I’d just been thinking how, I might prefer we were without celebrity and mass promotion of music altogether. I watched the previous act move with great skill, aplomb, and some originality, though without impressing me in the slightest. I considered the countless great talents that there must be, extraneous to the industry, and pondered this mechanism’s (changing) role, in relation to performance and musicianship as a line of work. How in places it furthers and is essential to sustaining, challenging, and fostering the rarest qualities of an artform, whereas in others, quite the opposite.
I reached no conclusions, needless to say.
Certainly I continued to feast upon the plate of sandwiches my ‘mechanism’ had just now laid out in front of me.
But Liz grumbled our humour out of us and she’d had enough of what brought delight before even she had begun it. Through language barriers, sleep-deprivation, over-work, exaggerated self-doubt, mental-repetitive-strain, foreign food and PMT she’s delivered a line or two of lucid, characterful wit, to tens of thousands, off the cuff. What aspect of that work is it that fits best the title of ‘singer’?
She looks like someone wheeled her on there. In a circle of nodding, the effusive heads are going up and down. One, just down. Young musicians and pundits talking excitedly about what they think. One staying very quite about what she knows.