Night open-mic hosted by Rob
"Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before"
I was having coffee with a friend last week and I told a joke. The way he responded started me off laughing and we ended up giggling like a couple of school kids for a good few minutes. I think the rest of the cafe must have assumed we'd just taken something.
How is it that I can tell a joke sometimes and it's really funny and at other times it'll fall flatter than a pancake? Obviously it's partly to do with the recipient's taste (of which, in this case, there is none) and perhaps also the situation / context. However, for me at least, I think there are times when there's an element of trying to "impress" or "trying to be funny" and as a rule I think it's those times that end up in failure. In contrast, when I tell a joke because I'm responding to a situation and I've barely spent a moment thinking about it, (i.e. my ego is not involved) it seems I couldn't be funnier.
I think there's a parallel with my performances. Although not terrible they rarely hit the "sweet spot" which I know exists for these songs. I obviously want to impress but I wonder if that desire isn't resulting in me getting in the way of myself. Am I short-circuiting the process by focusing on the "impressing" part rather than the "performance"?
Why do I feel the need to impress? The answers are obvious but perhaps come from an aspect of feeling I'm lacking in some respect. Surely a better, more positive reason for playing is because I think these songs are good and I get a kick out of playing them. The bonus is if the audience enjoy the experience too. Once again the Eddie Izzard adage about having fun comes to mind. I need to start focusing on that more. And also letting, what Gallwey calls in his book, The Inner Game of Tennis, "Self 2" take over.
Anybody reading the above might presume that my performance at Deja Vu tonight was a disaster. It wasn't but nor was it as good as I think it could be or on occasions has been. I want to resolve that. I'm not doing these songs justice at the moment and it's largely due to nerves, trying too hard and wanting it to be good. Nevertheless after a three month absence it was good to return to Deja Vu and see some familiar faces.