Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In the Key of C

Possum entertained us with an impromptu performance of "Memory" from the musical Cats last night. I have to say that anything is better than his Lord Grantham imitation, since he is best at giving us Grantham's short fuse, pomposity, and poor self-control in Season 3, when he kissed that dreadful maid.

I have no idea where Possum learned to sing "Memory;" maybe all cats are born knowing how. That would explain why he sang it in his native Norwegian rather than English. I used to sing it myself when I took voice lessons during the Pleistocene Era. But I performed with utter sincerity, whereas Possum's rendition seemed more ironic. None of us was sure afterward if he was channeling Barbra Streisand or Bob Dylan. Maybe both?

The impressive thing was how he sang it while lying on his back — he's a great one for showing off. It's never easy to hit the high notes of "Memory," and it's very hard in that position. You try it.


Lion thought the song was hilarious:


Afterward, he belted out his own interpretation, to everyone's chagrin:


I suppose that Possum got the idea from the unfortunate baritone next door. Once or twice a week, he spends a few hours playing the piano and belting show tunes at the top of his lungs for the whole block to hear, since his front and back windows are open. We are all trying to be patient about this because his biggest, loudest notes and slam-bang finishes are always as off-key as they are punishingly loud. I suspect he has forgotten whatever he was taught about diaphragmatic breathing and I worry he is ruining his vocal chords... along with the peace of at least 100 of his neighbors around the dinner hour.  

Possum's interpretation was far more nuanced, at least, if not always precisely on key. He may have been singing in Norwegian but we could still picture the withered leaves collecting at his feet as the wind began to moan and every streetlight seemed to beat a fatalistic warning while someone muttered and a particular streetlamp guttered as another day was DAAAAWNing. 

Lion sounded more like the guy next door.

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