Pearl in Me
The Don Redman orchestra strikes up an upbeat blues and I am hoping the vinyl doesn’t stick as I step into the spotlight.
‘My girdles they’re the best, the ads say they’re chic, and up above I am dressed in the brazier of the week…’
In clinging full-length evening dress, perched on stilettos, clutching a hand held microphone I weave amongst diners at a charity dinner for the Flying Doctor’s Service, in Cairns.
I am part of the Little Theatre group putting on the cabaret. We’ve rehearsed for months in our corrugated iron shed on Hartley’s St., where rain rattles the rust and drops through holes where roofing screws have succumbed to exhaustion.
‘Oh dear, what can the matter be, nobody makes a pass at me…’
I’ve picked an old classic Pearl Bailey number and now I am searching for a mark…ah, found her! A buxom lady dressed in sparkles sits at a table ahead of me. I close in.
‘Show me some tricks, please darlin’. I want some men to hold, most of all I want a little attention …and then the things I won’t mention… ‘
She looks embarrassed, her partner is in hysterics, and I spin away.
‘Oh dear what can the matter be, nobody makes a little pass at me.’
I am in ‘the zone’ – but wait, there is a voice inside me saying …
‘Oh god no, please stop her – this is absurd! Why do this? Why?’
It’s that Inner Me. The one who would much rather I had some ‘other life’ of submissive quietude – or at least not parading around in public under the misdirected illusion I could actually SING!
I have knobbly knees and have always been afflicted by various levels of short chubbiness. As a child my ears stuck out and I grew up fearing high windy cliffs in case I flew away – or tripped over my pigeon toes.
My mother was a songbird, my brother a baritone with a talent for the tea chest bass. As a teenager he quickly realised his sister was vocally challenged and would gently nudge me a little distance from his performances.
To hell with the Inner Me!
‘I use Mum every day, and Angela’s Lip Lure – still men stay away! So, oh dear what can the matter be, nobody, somebody, make a pass at me.’
Me, the Me here thumping it out with Pearl? Well, the music is always in my heart. So, you can see why the Me inside is a gnawing ball of anxiety and wondering at the absurdity of life.
But hell, a girl’s got to live a little!
My timing is perfect as I circle back to the buxom sparkler to end my number.
‘I use Abeline, Maybelline, Alka-Seltzer, Bromo-Seltzer and Sensation – now you tell me darlin’…why? Why no fascination!’
I hold her in a dazzling beam of girlie camaraderie and realize she is my teenage daughters’ formidable headmistress!!!