“My mother wants to ask you something.” says Zsuzsa
“Really? What does she want to ask me?” I reply.
“Well, she was wondering if you’d mind singing Hallelujah at this year’s Christmas Advent gathering.”
“I mean you wouldn’t be singing alone, you’d have lots of children as backing singers.”
“It would be to the entire village.”
“Honey, are you alright? You’ve gone a bit pale.”
Several minutes pass.
“I’m sorry. What?” I eventually respond.
“Sing Hallelujah to the entire village backed up by a bunch of children.”
At this point I’d like to mention that I am not a professional singer. I’m not even an amateur singer. I vaguely remember once singing a karaoke rendition of a 5ive song at University after drinking several Aftershocks, but that was the current highlight of my singing career.
Wait a Goddamn second! What the devil ever happened to Aftershock (the potent, cinnamon flavoured, highly alcoholic spirit)? Is it hanging out in a retirement home somewhere with Mighty White Bread and Blockbuster Video?
“But…why me?” I say, utterly befuddled.
“Mum thinks it would be nice to have someone sing in a different language to Hungarian, plus she’s heard you singing in the shower and thinks you have a nice voice."
I ponder this for a moment. Maybe I shouldn’t simply dismiss this in a blink of an eye. Maybe this is what life is all about? Maybe it’s all about challenging yourself, living life and pushing the boundaries? Maybe it’s all about singing to the entire inhabitants of a remote Hungarian village whilst supported by a bunch of children. Hang on! Heard me singing in the shower! Surely all shower’s are soundproof!?
“Why don't you find the song on YouTube and sing along to it?” Zsuzsa suggests.
Spurred on by a sudden desire to grab life by the testicles, I search YouTube and find the Jeff Buckley version. I get the lyrics in front of me and nervously begin to sing the song to my expectant audience of wife and baby daughter. Five seconds later and Zsuzsa, channeling Simon Cowell, puts her hand up to stop me. Surely I wasn't that bad?
“Not that one." she says.
She obviously means the Leonard Cohen original.
"The Alexandra Burke version!”
“Alexandra Burke!? Alexandra Burke the winner of the 2008 series of The X Factor!? No fudging way!”
I decide that not only do I know a little too much about Alexandra Burke, but also that life is probably not all about singing Alexandra Burke songs to Hungarian villagers.