Sunday, May 17, 2009

From Heffalump to Heroine

I promised you snippets and here's one from Andrew O'Hagan in the LRB. I know that Susan Boyle is sooooo last month already, but O'Hagan sums the phenomenon up quite nicely here. (Incidentally Susan Boyle is about the same age as me and she's also from Scotland but that's where the resemblance ends because although she will probably get a good makeover, I'll never ever be able to sing.)
YouTube can make stars out of nobody: it can make them cheap and can make them without permission. The morning after Boyle appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, three people sent me the link to her performance on YouTube. This was happening all over the world. Her success is not difficult to understand: we love to imagine that talent is hidden, and it lives among our deepest fantasies that the least prepossessing, the least styled, the most innocent among us may carry the power to amaze the world. That notion lies at the sentimental heart of showbusiness. Turning defeat to triumph, jeers to cheers, is a piece of schmaltz fans of transformation find irresistible, and most people with an interest in the wiles of human talent are connoisseurs of transformation. Susan Boyle’s journey from heffalump to heroine was instantaneous: it came not merely via her good singing voice, but via the audience’s strong sense of its unlikelihood. The powerful voice came like the uplifting last paragraph of an old-fashioned novel. If you surprise an audience by giving them something they really want they will love you for ever. They will also cry, which is why YouTube shows nearly a quarter of a million lachrymose messages under the footage of Boyle’s triumph.
Read the rest of the article here.


deborah said...

Susan Boyle is back this month, this time with 'Memory'. She sounds rather quavery. I wish she would sing some blues and not rather silly songs from musicals.

Love the word heffalump but would never have applied it to her.

I've heard you singing, Lesley, maybe not as good as Boyle, but you sing in tune and have got the guts to stand up and do it. I don't call the 'never, ever able'

Lesley said...

Yes, she does sound a bit warbly doesn't she?

I think your memory is faulty Deborah!

deborah said...

I'm going to get Aram to tape you singing and then he'll stick it on youtube!

Overnight sensation!