January 2016 – Thank Goodness for Barbra Streisand
My parents did a great job of keeping me healthy and happy as a child with regular hospital visits, physio therapy and endless oral and intravenous antibiotics. However, when I was five years old I had a particularly aggressive chest infection. I was absent from school for a week or so and spent my time buried under a duvet at my Grandparents’ house whilst my Mum worked. It was just after Easter and to avoid weight loss I was allowed to eat an endless supply of left over chocolate Easter eggs.
On one of those genuine duvet days my Nana recorded the film, Hello Dolly whilst I slept. When I woke up she had a hot cup of tea and an Easter egg waiting for me, with Hello Dolly ready in the video player. I watched it twice before falling back to sleep and loved it. Hello Dolly became my remedy for everything. My Mum bought Funny Girl on Video when I was 6 because she and everyone else in my family had come to learn the Hello Dolly script word for word and desperately needed a change. After that (around the age of 7) I watched Yentl and was given the sound track on tape from a family friend. In the winter my Mum would run me a hot bath with eucalyptus oil and Vicks to ease my breathing and leave “Pappa Can You Hear Me” playing in the hall.
It was difficult to source videos in the 1980’s but as they became more easily available, my collection grew. It was easier to locate music so I had an impressive collection of Barbra tapes and records.
I was the odd little girl who sang Barbra Streisand songs in the playground. I remember spending several lunch time breaks singing “Memory” whilst my friends, (Joanne and Amanda) danced.
There was and still is something about Barbra Streisand’s voice that creates an emotional response. Throughout my life her songs have wrapped up my memories and when I need to release them or just feel something different to what I’m feeling that moment, they offer a failsafe.
My current repeat favourite is “Rosie’s Turn/ Some People/ Don’t Rain on my Parade” and “You’re the Top”, from Barbra Streisand’s Back to Brooklyn Tour on 11th and 12th November 2012. I was there at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn on 11th November 2012, cheering from the crowd. I met Alan and Marilyn Bergman, the songwriters who wrote the words that have kept me sane. They were lovely and coped extremely well with the over enthusiastic Brit who gushed at them until they signed the concert programme.
I was also at the same (slightly adapted) concert in London, at the O2 Arena, in June 2012. I was 5 months pregnant with H. I could barely climb the stairs to my seat but I was determined not to miss it.
Prior to that, in 2006 Hubby and I flew to Washington to attend her concert. The following year when she brought the tour to the UK, I took my Mum to the O2 and we watched together.
All of that seems a very long time ago. Since H entered my life I have been nervous of any environment that I am unable to control. I cannot imagine flying, trains make me nervous and an arena full of people fills me with dread. I’m sure it’s a temporary thing. I will get over it, I just need to have the time to acknowledge it and do something about it. At the moment, it’s business as usual. So turn the music up!