And all that futuristic jazz…

The key to life, they say, is to keep trying new things and to broaden your horizons. Well last night, I did. And what an experience that turned out to be. Packing a two-in-one punch for self-development, I did two things i’d never done before on a Tuesday night:

1) Attend a jazz concert (which turned out to be a post-modern futuristic “lets see how far we can push the audience” type of thing)

2) Leave the venue as fast as humanly possible the very minute the break was announced, with just one question: Why? Oh dear God (or insert appropriate higher power who may be of some help in situations like these), why?

Let me rewind and paint a picture for you, so you can truly comprehend the impact of such a performance on an unsuspecting audience. An audience who ended up witnessing the biggest case of “Emperor’s new clothes” ever seen on a stage.

It all starts so well. We are seated in a very intimate and cosy setting, surrounded by the glow of low lights and muffled respect and anticipation as meters away, the group commune in music and let the rythm take over their minds and souls. We get exciting glimpses of how powerful the singer’s voice is and how strong the cellist, pianist and drummer are. And then, it all goes horribly wrong when the hot new up-and-coming star of the jazz world starts singing the dictionary… I repeat, she opens the dictionary, or some form of English language vocabulary book, and proceeds to sing choice selections from its pages… Conceptually it sounds clever. Realistically it’s rubbish… How many times does one need to hear the words “knuckles” and “eyes” repeated in exaggerated tones before it becomes grating. And self-indulgently silly. That’s when my suspicion kicks in… but at least, she is singing. Just about.

The next two songs however push the boundaries of human sentence construction even further, to the delight of the jazz aficionados in the room I’m sure and to the utter bemusement of yours truly. Actually scrap that, there are no sentences to deconstruct… at this point, the singer starts groaning and moaning, and having silent epileptic fits which eventually result in a dying squeak. A controlled squeak perfectly positioned on one of her three octaves, I’m sure, but does one truly need to put themselves through that much semblance of physical pain to emit a sound that every newborn is capable of formulating in its first hour on the planet?

That’s when my hilarity kicks in… When she starts growling and grunting and emiting sounds of a sexual nature, I just can’t take it anymore. I start heaving silently and shaking uncontrollably under the influence of suppressed mirth, I start letting out little squeaks myself which I have to disguise as coughs lest the adoring audience notice I am an outsider in their midst and burn me at the stake for taking the limelight from the official squeaker in the room.

Sneaking sideways glances at my partner in crime, who I had unwittingly dragged into this horrific ordeal with me, I notice he is stoic and am now terrified I am ruining his enjoyment of the joys of the deconstructed sentence by my unrelenting shoulder heaving… It turns out that he is firmly sitting in the happy place inside his head, blissfully tuning out the horrors that are taking place around him.
But for me there is no such relief. I try to do the same and very nearly succeed during the musical interludes – but every time I cross the threshold to my inner sanctum, the singer starts keening or yelping or deep breathing or even – i kid you not – emit sounds that can only be described as burping, and I am brought right back to the centre of my inner pain with a thud…

Nothing worked – I tried thinking of work deadlines, of unpleasant people, even the upcoming budget announcement by the Irish government and what it would be doing to my disposable income! But at the height of this disaster, even childbirth felt like something i would gladly undertake as a release. Oh to be anywhere else but here.

Thankfully, after a shuddering end to another song, I make a break for it and run out the front door, followed by my partner in crime, and into the bushes outside for a long awaited and prolonged fit of howling laughter. Complete with tears rolling down my cheeks. Which keeps on going as I type this. Best laugh i’ve had in years!

There was no going back. Ever! Give me (shudder)Mickey Bubbles any day over this! I’m left with just one question though: Where is my happy place when i need it?


About monicaheck
Monica Heck is a bilingual freelance writer and journalist based in Dublin, Ireland.

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