Being a singer - story


A story told by Jake on 'Jake Thackray and Songs', BBC TV 27 January 1981

There's another thing about . . . about being a singer. I like the job; I like being a singer. You know: when I grow up I want to be a singer. But perversely enough you cannot be a singer without having to talk. You've - you've got to talk. What I prefer to do, given the chance, just facing you like this . . . I'd just prefer to sing the songs, you know, pell-mell, one after another: I sing, you go clap; I sing, you go clap - or not, as the case may be. And for me, any case, the evening would be pleasant; I could . . . it'd trot away nice and briskly.

But you can't do that. You can do it if you're an acrobat. I mean, if you're an acrobat all you've got to do, you're billed as an acrobat so, what do you do? - you check your flies are done up and you come on and you acrobat; you just acrobat all night. Hooray! And if you're a conjurer, you come on and conje. You know. And people would be disappointed if you sat down and gave them a few Helen Shapiro numbers at the piano. Perversely enough, if you're a singer, and it's something that I'm trying to get used to and I cannot: it might sound a bit disingenuous but I - can't get used to it: the fact that you've got to talk. 'Cos if you don't - if you don't talk, after a few songs just like that, you know, in my case people . . . I can see 'em: I can look down and after song number three without saying anything I can see them; and they're going: 'Say, can't the bugger talk?'

Going home in - afterwards in the motor car, I used to think: How did you sing the songs? Well, that was a bit duff. I used to think about the songs and then I thought: Christ, what did you say in between? And I remembered, and then I started blushing, erm, and there's nothing worse than blushing to yourself in the dark. So. . . so, listen I stopped doing it, erm, I've stopped doing it. If . . . Sometimes I just won't stop. Sometimes I'll finish a song and just lumber on into the next one. And then when I feel that I ought to do a talking bit, I'll stop, and do a talking bit.


Buy the DVD

jake bbc dvd

The DVD of the BBC series 'Jake Thackray and Songs' is now available to buy online via Amazon. http://tinyurl.com/JakeDVD

'Magnificent' (The Independent)

'Jake Thackray and Songs', broadcast in 1981, captures him at the height of his powers; it paints an intimate portrait of Jake as a live artist, playing to audiences in the small venues where he felt most comfortable.

This BBC-licensed DVD, professionally produced from the original BBC masters, features all of Jake's performances from the series: thirty of his greatest songs, along with his inimitable between-songs chat and storytelling.

Also included are previously unreleased performances by three outstanding guest artists: Ralph McTell, Alex Glasgow and Pete Scott.