I don’t watch much TV. Well, other than Neighbours, obviously. So when I started reading a lot of hype about a singer called Susan Boyle, who’d appeared on Britain’s Got Talent and apparently blown everyone away, I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it. By now I’m pretty used to the fact that when I go out in public I don’t follow about 80% of the conversations that go on around me, because they’re all about The Apprentice, or some other show I don’t watch, so I just assumed this was another example of Stuff That Goes Right Over My Head.
But then I read that Susan comes from Blackburn, which is just a few miles from here. This was more interesting, so I clicked on a link and saw a picture of her. “Wait a minute,” I thought. “I’m sure I recognise this woman.” And I did.
Way back in the mists of time, when I was a reporter for The West Lothian Herald & Post, the paper (along with one of the local community councils) put together a CD called Music for a Millenium Celebration: The Sounds of West Lothian, which featured music from people around the area – everything from pipe bands to girl groups. I didn’t have much to do with this, but I did, at the time, have a weekly column called… wait for it… “Amber’s Reviews”, so it fell to me to review the finished CD. Our editor, Eddie Anderson, had organised the whole thing, and as it all progressed, he kept talking about this one woman who really stood out. And when he gave me the CD for my review, I totally understood why he’d been so impressed. I just went and dug out the CD, and Terry put the Susan Boyle track from it onto You Tube, so if you want to hear it for yourself, here’s the link. (Not sure if You Tube will allow this to stay up, so if it dissapears, sorry.)
(For those all of you who can’t be bothered reading the whole thing I wrote:
“…the true show-stopper for me is Susan Boyle’s heartbreaking rendition of ‘Cry Me a River’, which has been on repeat in my CD player ever since I got this CD…”)
I met Susan a few weeks later at the launch for the CD, and was really struck by her humility: she thanked me profusely for the review, and seemed genuinely amazed that people loved her voice so much. I can only imagine what she must be feeling now that she’s all over the news, but as you can see from the video of her on the show, which I finally got round to watching today, the attention is well deserved. It’s also a pretty cool thing for this part of the country, because Leon Jackson, who won the X-Factor a couple of years ago, also comes from around here (from my home town, in fact). So it may be Bandit Country, but damn, we got us some good singers…
(Listen to Susan singing ‘Cry Me a River’ here)