Monday, 25 July 2016

Done and Dustyed.

I'm finding myself sucked in by a documentary about Dusty Springfield on BBC4, when I really should be going to bed. 

It's a programme I've seen before, possibly around the time it was first shown in the late Nineties (around the time when Elton John's hair was its finest bowl shape), yet despite being vaguely familiar, I'm still drawn in, largely due to the wonderful tone to her voice, her effortless performances and the 1960s backdrop, which plays firmly into my court; I was born in the wrong era. 

I'll keep it brief, but the documentary has reminded me of a specific memory I have of my second professional acting job, touring in the Bill Kenwright show 'The Roy Orbison Story'. One of the songs I had to play on the piano in the show was the epic quasi-Bond-like 'I Close my Eyes and Count to Ten', which has a ridiculously overblown exposing introduction. I only had a week to learn the whole musical (which also incorporated playing Please Please Me on a left-handed bass in the guise of my hero Paul McCartney -  but that's another story), but much of that week was taken up with playing the piano intro to myself again and again at any given moment. 

Even when I'd got it down, it never stopped being tense. It's one of those octave-based pieces where, one false move and you switch from Liberace to Les Dawson. The piano was set far upstage-right opposite the drummer stage-left (who was a legend in his own right, having been in the groups 10CC, Pilot and the Alan Parsons Project to name a few), and every night when I got it right, he'd give me a wink and mime a wipe of the brow as if to say "You got away with it" , or a smile if I fluffed a note, that was just as supportive; he was a nice bloke, after all.

Whoever played it on the original record got of lightly as they probably only ever had to do it once. 

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