By Johanne James

Hi there my good readers and hope you’ve all had a good week?

Let’s talk about stage fright.
How many of us as performers have had it? Solo artists, comedians and all the others? Lucky to say, I haven’t as yet, but I suppose the night is still young. I remember the story of an artist by the name of Marilyn. Yes, Marilyn, back in the eighties or nineties, and he called himself a Gender Bender. Why, I don’t know, but he did look rather feminine. I guess that’s neither here or there, but the story is that he was tipped to be a mega pop star and was scheduled a performance at a famous venue in New York City in front of his peers, press and every other giant in the entertainment industry. But, when he walked on stage, he froze, stared at the audience and then proceeded to walk off stage and was never seen again! Now this little tale came from a person who was actually there and witnessed the whole fiasco! I would feel a lot more self-conscious in front of a woman and her dog than I would in front of a crowd of 20.000! I would imagine that many of us have been in that situation. No, not playing in front of 20.000, but a woman and her dog. Or even down at the local Dog & Duck on Hammersmith Broadway on a Tuesday evening, playing support to a bunch of old geezers who would more than likely never learn what you have long since forgotten. And yet, no one is interested in what you’re playing! Crapolla or what? Been there! Thank you for the indifference and good night!

I do remember the very first gig I did at a venue in London supporting a band called The No.
Hm, I was playing for a band called Vendetta, and the funny thing was, I had no nerves as I had confidence in the other musicians and my own ability, hence, what was there to be afraid of? Ask yourself, what could go wrong, then say to yourself, so what! In fact the headline band The No were more afraid of the performance we had put in and therefore seemed to overreach themselves instead of being themselves, and in doing so, hindered their own performance. If you play with nothing to prove, you have already proved yourself. Know what your limits are and endeavour to reach them. It all starts going Pete Tong the moment you start playing outside the realms of your ability. That’s when the nerves creep in, mistakes are made, you freeze and it’s goodnight Irene.

Who’s Irene?
I went to school with her. It’s a long story for another column. Anyway, I hope that day never comes that I indulge my imagination and bring on my own sense of stage fright. I wish to remain calm, just think, we are all human, well I’d like to think so, we aren’t playing to a group of alien hybrids from the planet Zucon who have come to genetically enhance us. So why freeze, why be afraid, for fear is the mind killer and that which most of our dramas are based upon! Enjoy, and play as if it’s your last, for the best is yet to come.

So here’s to the Great Thaw! The Ice Age is over.

Thanks for listening.

Johanne James


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