hilary jones isn’t what you’d call a pretty girl, yet at the same time her features are pleasingly strong like say patti smith or p.j. harvey. she’s also painfully shy. if anyone gatecrashes while she’s singing along with her big jumbo guitar, she immediately shuts down, but when left alone, she opens up to fly away as if performing in madison square garden. the authenticity in her voice, along with the sheer intensity of her performance is right up there.
hilary’s one of the many victims of cecil dankworth, a careers advice officer who enjoys crushing the wayward dreams of teenagers about to leave school and go out into a big wide world. when hilary matter of a factly tells cecil she plans on becoming the voice of her own generation, he laughs so loud he sprays copious amounts of saliva all over his dull pamphlets for a life in the army or dentistry. he tells hilary he hears this sort of thing all the time, yet never gets tired of hearing it…it’s so funny he says.. let’s face it hilary jones…. you’re no oil painting, are you?!
hilary crawled out of there and didn’t dare sing for weeks, but instinct got the better of her, and now she’s resigned to developing her skill on completely solitary secret terms.
interestingly enough, cecil has secret aspirations of his own as a choreographer and dancer… as a younger man he loved the dance troops in saturday night television variety shows. he auditioned several times for the work, but was told he wasn’t slim enough..he was pretty much like the rest of us really..he liked dancing but wasn’t terribly good at it…he was also a bit deaf and forgetful, and so it came to pass that one day he came home from work, forgetting the plumbers who parked their van round the back, would be in there replacing an upstairs boiler for the bathroom…it’s a big house, so it was easy for them not to cross paths right away…. cecil loved the uptempo music of barry white, and while he was taking off his work clothes he switched on the bedroom radio…barry white came on, and suddenly cecil went bang into character..
come on everyone…chop chop…form a line…let’s see if we can get things perfect this time… jenny jenny…remember when you sail past camera three with derek to smile directly into television land…simon dear..be more elegant..suzie darling..please focus… annnnnd ACTION….
cecil then danced with professional élan at the foot of his queen size bed, topless in grubby sweatpants. he sent his pallid torso with patchy chest hair shimmying into an imaginary camera…he worked up a sticky sweat then eventually rested on the edge of his bed when the barry white record finally ended… he turned the radio off, leaned slightly over to one side and let out a little fart.
joey the plumber had quietly copped it all, remembering cecil from his own school days, who had given him career advice just like hilary jones… joey dreamed of directing horror movies …his dream still simmered away deep inside him, and now he’d managed to video cecil on his new iPhone. naturally enough he posted it up online where it went viral. many old schoolmates who cecil had crushed, got wind of the priceless footage and were tickled.
the trouble was they’d all become galvanised by joey’s sweet revenge and started posting clips up on the dolly-net of themselves singing over chintzy karaoke backing tracks, or while plonking hard on out of tune pianos with horrendous zeal, as if their talents would somehow now be vindicated…..mountains of wet self pitying adults still living at home with their mothers, simpering away with acoustic guitars into lenses from upstair bedrooms… other boys on laptop computers, too impressed by the inevitable sonic cliches their software spat out for them…it was mainly awful… the only one who was truly riveting was hilary jones, and she posted nothing up on the internet ever ..such a shame, but the very idea horrified her.
it’s a tough admission to make, but cecil was ninety nine per cent correct.. it’s just the shitty way he told them that was so wrong.
people relish telling you the truth don’t they.. yet rarely for the purest of reasons.