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Thank you Dolly Parton

When I was growing up I didn’t know there was actually music that you could listen to that wasn’t radio Pop music or what my parents played by way of their shiny disks. Trips with my mother involved listening to copious amounts of Classical music, Lyric FM. Drive Time. Going to school that was it, that was all I heard, that and the news. “When you drive you can listen to the music you want to listen to”. I didn’t really mind this for the most part, in fact, I enjoyed listening to and learning about the various pieces and composers.

Driving to school with my dad was a totally different kind of ordeal, between the years of 2004-2009 the only C.D. that he had in his car his “free with the Sunday world” copy of Dolly Parton’s Greatest Hits. “Your favourites and more”. Well after about a week of listening to Ms Parton’s nineteen eighties’ smash hit “nine to five” on repeat every afternoon I could sing every word of the song. This is actually something I did once during my tenure as a secondary school student, having characteristically underperformed in a science test, (analytics has never been a strength for me) I struck a bargain with the teacher.

If I sang the all of Dolly Parton’s nine to five in front of the whole class she would change my grade to something slightly more parent pleasing. I forget the exact context of this bargaining, but I assure you it did occur, ask anyone. Well I’m not what you would consider an overly extroverted person (I’m about averagely verted), definitely at the time of my performance I was a more little unsure of myself than I am now. Puberty will do that to you. I expelled a long contemplative “eeeemmm” in my squeaky voice while my fellow scholars showered me with such words of encouragement as “Ara go on t’f*ck” and “Sure tis only ourselves here”.  That was all it took.

I stood up in front of the whole room, perspiring out of every possible orifice and crooned my way through the country and western/pop crossover hit. The room erupted with applause, truly I was a god among men at this very moment, my classmates showered upon me their adulation, so much adulation in fact had been showered that returning to my desk was akin to a sub aqua mission. This made it really embarrassing for me when I, distracted by all the adulation, tripped on my own bag and fell right into the outstretched arms of the classroom skeleton. As I lay on the greyish lino of the science room floor I wondered if the respect I had gained from my performance would in some way negate the embarrassment which was now due to me. Unfortunately this was not the case and whole room erupted into laughter. I don’t hold this against my fellow classmates however, it was a classic slapstick moment on my part and had I been in their position I’d have probably enjoyed watching it.

That was the first time I ever performed in front of an audience. Since then I’ve performed to full rooms of people with my band. I didn’t know I was a singer, Thank you Dolly.