I love to sing. I sing to my cats, I sing to my horse, I sing in the car. However, I don’t sing in front of other people.
Like most teenagers, I harboured the odd fantasy of being a rock star. I was even in a very short-lived punk band when I was 14. We wrote our own songs and used an old acoustic guitar as the bass. I was the singer; however, when you’re trying to sound like Johnny Rotten, you don’t need to be tuneful.
I thought that all I needed was a producer. I went out with one for a while; he used to wince and tell me it hurt when I sang, so I stopped singing. One radio station I worked at had regular sessions with a voice coach to improve our news reading. “It’s all about breathing from your diaphragm,” she said, as she made us read The Big Friendly Giant aloud, then lie on our backs and go “ohhhhmmmmm”. Once, I confessed to her that I wanted to sing. “Everyone can sing, darling,” she assured me.
When I am in the car, it’s: “Hello, Wembley!” I am currently radio-less and I have a long commute, so M&M’s greatest hits are bellowed out unaccompanied. At the moment, I have a penchant for The Levellers’ One Way, but Simon and Garfunkel, The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground and my very, very favourite, The Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset, all receive the treatment.
But just as I hate people eavesdropping on my private conversations with the grey mare (the ones where I’m telling her she’s the most bee-ooo-itful horse in the world), I’d be mortified if anyone caught me singing unawares.