WELL, that was a turn up for the books. On hit TV show “Britain’s Got Talent” a rather – and I hope she doesn’t take umbrage – frumpy looking 48-year-old Susan Boyle from our very own Blackburn in West Lothian waddled onto the stage. She could have been anybody’s mum, in her shiny cotton dress and white sling-back sandals.
It was a moment that had every Scot squirming in their seat as she was introduced.
Prior to her performance there had been the usual procession of nutters, including singers who could probably dance better than they could sing, dancers who could probably sing better than they could dance, and an oddball parade of “artistes” who could be outperformed at every turn by a drunken monkey with a kazoo.
It was obvious by the smirks of the judges that they were about to face the onslaught of one more person who was going to rob 20 seconds from our lives before we were put out of our misery with the three big “X”s.
And when Miss Boyle cackled, gyrated her hips and told the judges she wanted to be “as famous as Elaine Paige” it was enough to bring hoots of derision. Bad enough, but she then declared that she was going to attempt the utterly fantastic “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables.
I’ll bet there were a lot of anxious fingers twitching at TV remote buttons across the country.
And then she started to sing…
Have you ever heard the expression “sings like an angel” and wondered what that would sound like? Well, now you know.
And more, Miss Boyle seemed to fill the stage. She was a natural, charismatic performer. Every member of the audience – and at one point the judges – was on their feet, and you could tell by the awe-struck expressions that they were experiencing something special.
Nobody seemed to know quite how to react, such was the effect that this woman’s voice had on them.
Isn’t it a sobering thought that every time you walk down the street of your West Lothian town, any one of the people you pass could have a talent that they keep hidden, a talent that could stun a full theatre into silence?
And isn’t it all too easy to see our fellow citizens through blinkered eyes – just as we all saw a wee wummin fae Blackburn, before she started to sing – and miss the hidden gift they carry with them?
Sure, it’s a cliché that you can’t judge a book by its cover. But as many of us discovered the other night, in a very real way, neither can we judge a person by their clothes, hair, accent or deportment.
And it took a wee local wummin to teach the whole country that lesson.