Thursday, 7 April 2016

"A Friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself." 

Jim Morrison.

In 2005 my house mates Hils and Alison bought me singing lessons as a birthday present with a friend of Alison's from church, as a result they unknowingly introduced to someone who I have know doubt I will be friends with for the rest of my life. 

The first time I saw Rachel she was rushing towards me across the foyer of Royal College of Music with a backpack far too big for such skinny girl, she was wearing a massive scraf,  which apparently is "completely normal" for singers and she spoke very quickly in a high pitched voice, but with an air of nervousness. Her massive light blue backpack could have fitted a six year old child, but instead it was filled with library books filled with pages of music thumbed by generations of highly stressed singers trying to prove to her singing teacher they are not a complete failure and will be the one in a thousand that actually make it big. 

As I watched her rush over to the reception desk, I noted a fairtrade badge and a free palestine scarf tied to the outside of a bag that she had had to sow to reinforce it against the physical and psychological weight of the books. Her hair was long and mousey light brown and wrapped into a style all of her own on the top of her head, years later on my 30th birthday to our mutual friend Alison's horror I would grab a handful of her hair and chop it off to shoulder length and then pay for her to get it styled much to her mothers annoyance due to her sisters up and coming spring wedding. Her mother, as she calls her, felt her modern hairstyle ruined the wedding pictures. We still laugh about it.

She rushed over to the reception desk and had a discussion with the man from the college maintenance team about a pre booked rehearsal room, little did I know at the time the power the maintenance staff held over the music students, but I have since learned they are more powerful than God in their ability to cause an unimaginable amount of stress on an unsuspecting partically pre pubescent music students by stating that there are no available rehearsal rooms.

Eventually she lead me off to our allocated room, stating "This way!" in her teacher like voice. As I walked into the room my heart sank, it was less a room more a run down concert hall with judgemental empty seats and a piano in the middle. She started rabbiting on about warming up, I remember thinking that I was there to sing not to exercise, but I was so nervous I just smiled and went along we it. Then she asked me to do something that has become a running joke for the rest of our friendship. 

"Emma, now you have to moo!" her eyes smiling,
"Moo" I asked. "Like a cow?" 
"Yes, a cow. It warms up your vocal cords"

Feeling incredibly nervous, a little embarrassed and overwhelmed by the size of the room, we mooed like a pair of heifers waiting to be milked in the middle of the Royal College of Music. It was the first time I "sang" in front of anyone, it was the beginning of a lifetime friendship and the start of some hilarious memories.

So what I am grateful for today?

Amazing memories.
Special friends.

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