Author Topic: Memoirs of a Club Singer- More Posted! CRITIQUES WELCOME  (Read 2145 times)

MrsButler

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Memoirs of a Club Singer- More Posted! CRITIQUES WELCOME
« on: April 29, 2010, 03:34:32 AM »
CHAPTER    ONE
An Allotments Club Somewhere In Lancashire
   

      It smelled like an old people’s home, dust and urine. Heavy patterned carpet, threadbare seat coverings, and hammered brass tables.  I walked in carrying a suit bag full of stage dresses, and a makeup case, trying not to wrinkle my nose at the awful smell. The concert secretary sauntered over, pulling his stomach in and combing over his thinning hair. “Hello love, you must be the singer?”

“Yes, pleased to meet you.” I shook his clammy hand.

“The resident band is waiting for you, you’ll need to speak to them,” he winked and pointed to the stage.

  A geriatric drummer waved from behind a high hat symbol. I waved back and crossed a parquet dance floor towards him. Up the beer stained theatre steps I toddled wearing my best stage smile, past a bingo machine and a middle aged organist fiddling with a backdrop of plastic gold tassels.

“Pass us that tray, pet. My back’s bad.” The organist grinned at the drummer.

 Lowering down in my tight mini dress and four inch stiletto heels I curled my fingers under the tray, and began to pick it up. Then, the penny dropped. The dirty dogs, I thought.  In a flash, I stood up, and resisted the urge to place the drink’s tray on the organ, a mortal sin, for sure.

“Are you the turn?”

I nodded.

“Where are your dots?” The organist said.

“Who’s Dot?”

The organist glanced at the drummer and grimaced. “Got another live one here, Alfred. Wet behind the ears.”

The drummer shook his head, and gave me a sympathetic smile.

“Dots are the music sheets you need pet, for us to play your songs. Don’t you have any?”

“Oh,” I said. “I have backing tracks.” I held up a tape with a bright label.

There were simultaneous gasps from the resident band.

“Backing tracks isn’t live music, they’ll lynch you if we allow you to play that rubbish here.”

“But that’s all I have.” I shrugged, walking over to my mike stand to adjust the height.

“Alfred, we’ll just have to play behind her, quiet like.”

“What’s your first number?”

“Vogue,” by Madonna.

“Don’t think I know that,” said Alfred, fiddling with his toupee. “How about you Stan?”

 “No, never heard of it. Don't you know Crazy by Patsy Cline?”

"No, I hate country music," I replied.

The organist sucked in his breath . “How many sets do you have?”

“I can do three twenty minute sets, or two half hours.”

“I bet you can,” he laughed at his own joke.

“Who’s helping you with the sound equipment?”

“My dad,” I replied, pointing to a man chatting up a barmaid.

“I’ll show you your dressing room then.” He opened out an arm to a door behind the stage.

I went to follow him and then thought better of it. “I’ll get my dad,” down the steps I marched, trying not to break my neck in the high heels.

“Dad, one of the resident musician’s wants to show me the dressing room.”

My dad took a sip of his whisky. “That’s nice,” he turned back to a busty barmaid.

“Dad?”

“What’s the do?”

“I’m not going in there with him, on me own. There all perves, well most of them are anyway. Every time I start to get dressed one of them barges in without knocking.”  I whispered.

The barmaid gave me a knowing smile.

“Alright,” growled my dad, banging down his whisky glass.


***
   

The dressing room was covered in publicity photos, most of them had been scribbled on. A blonde wearing a cat suit had a moustache and devil’s horns, another woman had a speech bubble protruding from fleshy lips, and the scribbled words “Come and get me big boy.”

I placed my suit bag on a clothes peg and settled my make up case near a water stained mirror.  “It’s alright Dad, you can go now.”

I plonked myself down in front of the ancient mirror, and waited for my dad to leave. I could tell just by looking at him that the whisky and the cute barmaid were calling to him.

“Break a leg,” he slurred before leaving the room.
 
 Another chair sat beneath a metal shuttered window, I picked it up and wedged it under the door knob, then counted to ten. The coast was clear, and as yet no one had tried to enter, so I began to undress. Tugging a gold sequin dress over my head, the sound of a squeaky door knob turning cut into the air. “Hold on, hold on,” I shout. “I’m not dressed yet.”

Sticking my head through the door, a red faced committee man stared at me.

“Sorry, love. I thought you’d be ready by now. How you diddling, kidder?  I thought you might want to do a sound check.”

“Ok, I just need to put some make up on.”  

“Aright, I’ll tell the band you’ll be a few minutes. Pretty girl like you won’t need much slap on.”

“Slap?” I asked, puzzled.

“Slap, it’s another word for makeup, like war paint. Some women put it on with a trowel,” he chuckled, his pot belly wobbled.

“Well, I better get some slap on then, hadn’t I? Won’t be long”

***

“Testing, one two, testing one, two.” I spoke into the microphone, and then sticky taped the words to my first song on the mike stand.

The organist huffed as my dad fiddled with my tape machine, to the side of the stage,a glass of whisky in his hand.

“I hope your speakers aren’t too loud. Peaveys’s and look at the size of them; you’d think you were a heavy rock band. See that machine up there,” he pointed to the ceiling.

“Yes,” I said, one eye brow arched.

“Well if you go over so many decibels, it takes your speakers out.

“What?” My dad crossed the stage.  “Those bloody speakers cost me a fortune, if the tweeters go on them, you’ll be getting a bill.”

“Well I don’t know about that. Alfred, if the machine takes the speakers out will it ruin the tweeters?”

“No, Stan,” scoffed the drummer. “If it did, we’d have to buy new speakers for every bugger who played here. Listen here fellow,you really shouldn't be drinking that on stage.” He pointed to the whisky my dad was holding.

My dad’s beet root face nodded. “Go on, Ali. Give us a song.”  He marched back to the tape machine, and pressed the play button.

The backing track began to play a familiar intro; I took a deep breath and sang a few bars, then held up a thumb to my dad in the wings.

“That was bloody brilliant,” said the drummer. “A little lass like you, where did that voice come from?”

I squirmed with embarrassment. My dad sauntered over, chest puffed out. “She’s going to be a star, you know.”

“No, I’m not,” I said, face flushed.

“She’s no ambition, the youth of today.”

The drummer and organist nodded.

“Anyway, what’s your acts name? We never asked.

“Alicia.”

“Well, Alicia.” He said, pausing for effect, “I have a very special job for you; do you want to know what that is?”

“Yes please,” I replied, politely.




  
« Last Edit: May 01, 2010, 12:59:06 PM by MrsButler »

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Idea For New Story. Constructive Criticism Needed
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2010, 04:09:20 AM »
 ;D I would ask what the plot goal will be.

MrsButler

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Re: Idea For New Story. Constructive Criticism Needed
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 08:49:55 AM »
Hello Skip,

Just an idea...I spent over 10 years doing clubs/pubs in UK,singing ...thought this might be funny for some people once i get going and am perhaps a bit braver in terms of what went on.
 :o

Like i said, it's just an idea, as yet!

Alison  :D

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Idea For New Story. Constructive Criticism Needed
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2010, 12:34:39 PM »
After ten years, you probably have a barrel of little stories you could string together into a cool story.  ;D

Offline Hugh

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Re: Idea For New Story. Constructive Criticism Needed
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2010, 05:30:33 AM »
I enjoyed it, Ali, but like Skip I’m not sure what it is. To me it reads like an episode, not a story. Since, as you say, you spent ten years as a club/pub singer, you must have plenty to draw on which could build into an entertaining dramatised memoir.

Memoirs are always worthwhile, if only to hand down for future generations to read about great grandma Alison’s life in the twentieth/twenty-first century.  Wouldn’t you love it if one of your ancestors had written about her life in the 1800s? If they have, I bet you find it fascinating.

If getting published is your main aim, I would imagine memoirs have as much chance as novels these days.

Whatever you decide to do, if you keep writing them, I for one will keep reading them.

By the way (and don’t tell anyone) a memoir doesn’t have to be the truth, whole truth and nothing but etc. As long as it is based on fact, a bit of creative imagination can help it along no end. Let’s face it, we can’t remember the exact words used in a conversation that took place twenty years ago, so even if we are being as factual as we can about the gist of it, any dialogue will be partly fictional anyway.

Like most writing, the aim of a memoir is to entertain, not be a dry old history book, so does it really matter if some of it leans more towards fiction than fact?

I think you have the basis of a great read here, Ali, whatever you decide to do with it. After all, it’s your story.

Hugh

MrsButler

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Re: Idea For New Story. Constructive Criticism Needed
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2010, 07:10:45 AM »
Thanks Hugh , SKip  :-*

I appreciative your advise.

And I will continue with this idea, however it does need some structure...hmm, Memoirs of A Club Singer? ???


Ali  ;D

Offline JJessie

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Re: Idea For New Story. Constructive Criticism Needed
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2010, 10:41:33 AM »
I fall right in with Hugh...you keep writing it and I will keep reading it.  I frequented the pub/club scene in Germany for about 5 years and I had never thought of the idea of writing a memoir but reading yours brings back the memories.  Congrats on finding something that is a sure hit.  Hope you stick with it, I will definitely be looking forward to reading some more.
I cannot die, for I am more than just a man in a mask.  I am an idea, and ideas my friend are bulletproof.

Offline Maimi

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Re: Idea For New Story. Constructive Criticism Needed
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2010, 11:16:47 AM »
Hello Alison,

I'd imagine you have a colorful pool of characters to draw from in a setting like this.  It'd be interesting to see just how much they/you/she get(s) into (memoir or not).

There is a lot of dialogue in this first section, but you balance it nicely with movement/action.  No talking head here. ;D

One bit though, I'm not a fan of kicking things off with it.  Although, it's the second piece today where I've come across it. ;D

Quote
And I will continue with this idea, however it does need some structure...
I'm glad to hear it.

-Maimi



 

MrsButler

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Re: Idea For New Story. Constructive Criticism Needed
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2010, 11:17:11 AM »
I'll post some more today Jessie, glad you liked it!

Ali :)

Offline LRSuda

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Re: Idea For New Story. Constructive Criticism Needed
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2010, 11:41:53 AM »
I like this, too. Very much. And I look forward to reading more. There is one little punctuation error I noticed was repeated.

“Dots are the music sheets you need pet, for us to play your songs.

As pet is a direct address, it must be preceded by a comma. I noticed that you'd adhered to this rule then dropped it.

Anyway, I really am looking forward to reading more of this. Nice job.  ;D

Lisa

Offline livedead77

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Re: Memoirs of a Club Singer- More Posted! CRITIQUES WELCOME
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2010, 07:40:09 PM »

Hi Alison

I enjoyed reading it... from your experience as a club singer for 10 years I can only imagine the kind of stories you would have... am sure you haven't even scratched the surface with this one... So I suggest that you do make something of it. It will definitely be something which one would enjoy reading.

Having said the above, like Hugh mentioned the problem with a memoir is that it easy to get into the rut of being factually as correct as possible, which could result in a number of irrelevant and boring details being mentioned. In my attempts at memoir writing, I have always found that to be a challenge, as straying even slightly from what really happened seems almost treacherous. In your piece over here, I find lapses into the same, sticky area and I think you should fix that... Also, the piece tended to the 'telly' and there were not many surprises. I guess thats what happens when you write the truth but still... perhaps you could tell a little less by the use of some imagery.

The stilettos and the mini dress though essential were too obvious. Perhaps you could focus on some other not so stereotypical detail.  A question, if she was already in her tight mini dress why did she have to change?

There were some issues with grammar and spelling which am sure you  can easily fix through another edit...

Look forward to reading more...