Every year we go to BBC Proms in the Park. Or we try to, anyway, although there were a few years of heavily pregnant/newborn/infant years whereby it didn’t happen. Still – since the twins are growing and they have a willing set of grandparents (who are so busy they make retiring look exhausting, ergo you must book well in advance. I may just keep on working, I’m not sure I can keep their kinds of schedules.) who happily look after them.
We had already pre-booked the grandparents for this year and it was on the agenda anyway. We didn’t know who was coming to perform but it never really mattered – even with the cheesiest of line-ups (Lionel Ritchie? Neil Sedaka? Barry “Is that possibly Barbara Streisand’s twin” Manilow?) we would be going anyway. Some of the acts there are fabulous, some a little hokey, many are classical or opera. But with a blanket, picnic, wine, and 30,000 other people on the end of a summer night watching, it’s an amazing evening.
I clicked onto the website last night and an early line-up was there.
guest appearance Lang Lang
with special guests
And there it was.
I confess to adoring Josh Groban.
If you’ve been here a while, you’ll know how very much he and one particular song of his – Lullaby – mean to me. But it’s not just that song, that one special song. His Christmas album is very close to both my iTouch and my heart (a few of them – “O Holy Night”, “Silent Night”, and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” have kept me company for many walks in the woods come December). He has a beautiful voice that I respect and enjoy, and moreover his one song is so special to me that to this day I tear up when it plays. His music isn’t maybe mainstream, I don’t know, but then I am not mainstream either. Who’s keeping tabs?
My credit card was whipped out and tickets bought faster than you could imagine.
And as I sat there, so excited about Proms in the Park this year, a thought formed in my mind. For the first time in my entire life – yes really – I was going to write a fan mail. A real, true, honest-to-goodness fan mail.
I’ve never written one. Oh sure, I was a Tiger Beat/Teen Beat junkie back in the day. I had the posters on the wall (Sean Astin, Ralph Macchio, all the usual. I was never into Kirk Cameron, though. There’s the one shred of dignity I can claim.) I was one of those twitchy “adore from afar” fans, and couldn’t bear to write a letter. It would be awkward and weird because, let’s admit it, I’m awkward and weird.
I tried to write the email in my head. How does one write a fan email? I pictured it as thus:
I love you!!!! I so love you. I would buy any album of yours no matter what. You are one of my musical musts!!!!
Which sounded both pubescent and stalker-y, not to mention guilty of abusing punctuation.
I angled for humor:
If there was a battle between Harry Potter and a Ninja, whom do you reckon would win? I would say Potter only the point of a Ninja is that you can’t see them, yeah, and if they’re a good Ninja he won’t be able to see them long enough to Stupify, am I right? I am. I’m sure of it. My money should be on Harry Potter but I’d have to go quality Ninja here. Speaking of quality, your music is up on Ninja levels. Only, you know, your music isn’t invisible. Or dangerous. Nor can it kill with a paper clip or a dust mite. So nothing like a Ninja at all really.
How crap is that?
There is always the realistic:
I am a middle-aged, fairly exhausted woman. I understand you had a long relationship with January Jones, who is a million times more attractive than I am (although I wouldn’t have worn that dress, which must count for something). Even though I’m tired (have I mentioned that?), having nothing to offer but a handful of Cheerios that somehow found their way into my pocket and there’s a strange smell coming from under the cupboard by the canned goods (squished mouse? Could that happen?) I just wanted to reach out and send you an email that will not only not matter, but which will be read by your 21 year old assistant who has a flat stomach, a snigger over emails like mine, and a delete key covered with stickers of rainbow unicorns to be retro.
Even I want to kill myself reading that.
In the end, this is what I really sent:
Right, this is out of character for me, but here goes.
I first heard your song “Lullaby” with Ladysmith Black Mambazo several years ago. It became the song that I listened to when I fell pregnant with twins. It was a much longed for pregnancy and it was one of the greatest pieces of happiness I had ever known. I would sing your song “Lullaby” (badly, because I can’t sing) to my growing bump while pregnant.
My pregnancy was very hard and I was in and out of hospital many times. There were a few moments when I wasn’t sure we’d all get out alive. I kept your song on my iPod and I would play it to my stomach while in hospital, just in case they could hear me.
My children – a boy and a girl – were born in October 2007 and have thrived. They are wonderful, happy children and I am the luckiest woman in the world to have them. When I think of the pregnancy and early days it often starts to feel quite fraught, and then in the midst of it all I hear your song, your beautiful song that gave us all hope, and the memory gets that much more precious and shiny to me.
Forgive the cheese factor of this email. My husband and I go to BBC Proms in the Park every year, and when I heard you were performing there this year I just wanted to say: Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for that song (and many more. Your Christmas album makes me cry.)
And if you decide to sing “Lullaby” at Proms in the Park, I would be crying again.
My first ever fan email has been sent.
It’s cheesy but true.
PS – speaking of punctuation, mine is fixed on the site now. Now on to figure out how to fix photos…