The wedding singer.
It’s not Adam Sandler in his curly mullet crooning to grow old with you.
In my reality, there isn’t a ruffled-suited Jewish guy living out a sad, conflicted affair of pondering over his wasted talents among the void of paid-for-hire wedding performances, and there’s definitely no Drew Barrymore. Sure, there’s been a number of Jewish, Gentile and non-religious gigs where I’ve played the role of wedding singer; this is someone who’s also donned the helm as corporate singer, pub singer, not-for-profit singer, karaoke singer and sometimes just-plain-drunk-at-home singer.
Those weddings are almost always fun. We get to play in front of many guests that can’t wait to throw down on the floor and get totally sloshed in the process (usually in the start of the second set after everyone has crammed enough food and drink down his gullet). What better way to enhance that than by hiring a band that can play all the Journey and electric slide songs that you need?
In some weddings from my past, the band is heralded as treasured people bringing magic to the event. Other times the band is simply the help, and all pathetic band members are hid in the back out of sight until show time. One thing that most of those weddings have in common (other than glorious amounts of booze) is the band break. One. Two. Three. Sometimes the rare four. During the break, each band member revert out of Rock-god character and scrounge for food and rest.
Most of my band-mates have the ubiquitous iPad, using this as both a last-minute lyric sheet along with wiling away the time between band sets. I’m not against the Apple ecosystem, but I do live in the Android world.
So what do most determined, struggling, unpublished writers do when they are stuck with FREE TIME? They usually procrastinate and avoid writing. Then they feel guilty about it and make the effort to write (sometimes more than half-hearted). Oh, but I left my laptop at home. Oh, but freehand is out of the question because my handwriting sucks beyond recognition. Seriously, what the hell is that scribbling supposed to say? Yes, all of this is whiny mewling. So instead of surrendering to the easy way out (because hey baby there ain’t no easy way out), this is what I’ve resorted to.
The first wedding set consist of the weak songs: the quiet songs. Everyone has attended the ceremony. Provided the bride and groom agree to marry, relief sets in for all, and so does hunger. The buffet line or staff-carted dinner plates are ready, and the wedding party and guests tuck in. The band saves Whitesnake for later, letting the wedding patrons feast in comfortable mingling, squabbling like those geese Robert Redford heard in Sneakers. The last song is a degree higher than Fleetwood Mac, beckoning of things to come later. Then it’s the first band break. The band is parched and eager.
Enter the following: Kindle Fire 8.9 HDX tablet with keyboard, Teamster, Dropbox, Evernote, mobile data tethering, Moleskine, index cards and Scrivener.
A note to wedding planners. Please insist on a venue that includes free WiFi. How else can that guitar-player/wedding-singer in the band sync his last edits together? It’s true, though. The best way I’ve found to write anywhere is to always have a remote way of writing — other than freehand. The sickeningly elite can write by mind alone anyway, but most of us do well on a handy cell phone. Except for me. I was born with ridiculously fat thumbs and fingers most adept at playing second-rate Eddie Van Halen solos. Texting prose on a cell phone for me is like using a toilet brush to paint Bob Ross portraits. It can’t be done.
The Moleskine fits in the left pocket always, comprised of eureka-inspired scribbling and index cards (yes, freehand does hold one hostage). The Fire HDX has Evernote for online note-taking (which I’m not too keen on for all my note-taking) and the Teamster app does remote link like a magic wormhole back to my desktop where resides the main draft in Scrivener. It’s a pretty solid setup and not too costly. One asks why not just get a Mac notebook and put Scrivener on it, but I enjoy what Amazon has done with the Fire HDX; plus it includes several self-help books to goad oneself on. It might be a little Rube Goldberg, but the whole point of those elaborate concoctions is to see, with alacrity, the final part when that robot arm dumps the dog food in the bowl. That final part for me is to have no excuse not to write, even after Last Dance of Mary Jane has played through and the band takes another break. BICHOK has finally arrived. How else can one ever hope to get better at it?
Of course, the guests don’t want to wait too long. Thank goodness for fluff music during band breaks. Sometimes the break music usurp the band’s magic, but to that I say let the guests have what they want. Oh what’s that? We’re on after this song? They want to hear me sing? They want to watch me play the guitar? Okay, let’s save this down. No, I’ll be right there. I just need to fix this run-on. What song are we playing? I don’t even know that one…