April 11, 2009

Things I didn't know last week - April 11th 2009

This is the next in a regular series of posts about things I learned over the last 7 days or so.

This week "I don't know the verse to 'Build me up, Buttercup'"

I do a bit of acting from time to time and I was sent to a casting this week. For those who don't now, a casting is when loads of potential actors/extras etc are sent to see a casting director, wait for ages while everyone has their time in front of the main guy, and then leave wondering how much better they could have done given more preparation time.

The job was billed as 'Karaoke' and I believe it was a commercial for one of these console based sing-along games (although nobody told us).

As usual the queues were long and the wait was interminable. But - as we were waiting - word came down that when you go in there (in groups of 6) you would be asked to tell an embarrassing story about yourself and then sing bits from one of three songs- "Don't go Breaking My Heart", "Walking on Sunshine" and "Build me up, Buttercup". My little group of six got together and decided we would go for "Build me Up Buttercup" as we all knew the words to the chorus and could get quite a good sound going when we started singing.

So before I go any further I ask you to think about the tune and the words to "Build me up, Buttercup". You've all seen "There's Something About Mary" where everyone in the film ends up singing it over the end credits, right? You can all put together a reasonable impression of the song, right? Good!

So my group went in. We stood in a line in front of the casting director. We told our embarrassing stories and then the music began. The microphone started down at one end of the line and everyone sang a couple of lines before passing it down to the next person.

Now here's the thing about 'Buttercup". It's actually one of those songs that starts with the famous chorus that everyone knows and then goes into a verse (How many other songs do you know that do that eh?) So the bit that we had all rehearsed came up on the screen and we were all nodding our heads and mouthing the words. The microphone was being used to belt out the lyrics by the first two or three people in the line and everything was going fine.

And then the first verse came.

Now quickly. Can anyone hum the tune to the verse of "Buttercup?" (Hint: it's the bit that starts '"I'll be over at ten", you told me time and again') No? I didn't think so. I bet for every person who reads this and thinks "Yes, I know that. I could have done that." there's about 30 others who think "I have no idea what the tune is...."

I'm one of those 30. Believe me, trying to read karaoke words off a machine and sing them to a tune you don't actually know is not easy. Unluckily I was one of two people who got this nasty 'verse' before we all picked it back up and went onto the chorus Which we sang with gusto.

So the thing I didn't know last week that I know this week is that I don't know how to sing the verse from "Build me up, Buttercup" (Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it might have cost me a job)

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