Ghost Singing

Marni Nixon died.  Most people don’t know who she was.  I know because I was brought up on a diet of musicals from the fifties and sixties.  I found her through a teenage obsession with West Side Story only to find her also in The King and I, Gypsy, My Fair Lady.   Back in the day people did not know about Marni Nixon.  She was a ghost singer and uncredited for her work.  She was in the background making the magic happen, no fame, no glory.Доставка продуктов питания на дом

I think we might all be Marni Nixon. Not that we all have the ability to dub Marilyn Monroe’s high notes but that we’re probably all making the magic happen in the background for someone at some point, because if we look at our own lives then we’ll see we’ve had ghost singers of our own. People who did little things who made a big, big difference, who we remember for their actions even if they might not remember us or would be surprised to learn of the impact they had.  It’s easy to remember the big hitters, the people who up front changed your life. I have a couple of those and I love them dearly, they are right up there, top billing, the headline act.  But in the background there’s a whole chorus of ghost singers who made the headline acts possible to begin with.  Tiny moments of big impact, small background artists with walk on parts, people who are quietly making the show.  There is something in the famous saying about there being no small parts only small actors that’s true. The small things matter, they are the little pins holding the set together, making the bigger picture possible

I will have a birthday in October. I am not looking forward to it. I don’t much like birthdays, I have a tendency to look at my life and not like what I see on birthdays.  And getting older feels hard when your life is not making the picture you want it to make.  It’s easy, at times like a birthday or New Year, that’s another nippy fucker, to compare and contrast with other people who know who seem to be headline acts.  The ones who got where they intended to get, the ones who are out THERE doing IT with big bloody jazz hands.  The shiny pennies among us.  Look At All The Shiny Successful People is a really easy game to play.  But then I remember Marni Nixon.

I have to believe that if I can look at my own life and see all the ghost singers, all the little walk on parts who made a big difference, the small actors who made the show possible, if I can see those in my own life then chances are I am one too. We all must be.  Somewhere, to someone, at some point, I was Marni Nixon. I didn’t get to stand in the spotlight and sing the song but I made a high note reachable by being in the background. I might not even know I did it.  But it has to be true because we’re all connected in this weird theatre called life, we’re all walking in and out of each others shows all the time.  Some people get to hit the headlines, good, lovely. Some of us are the background artists. We’re Marni Nixon, ghost singing our way through the world, helping Natalie Wood reach the high notes in Tonight.

So when October comes, and it will come because I have yet to discover the power to stop time.  One day.  But when it comes I will attempt to avoid that pit of birthday gloom by remembering all my ghost singers and reminding myself that we are all someone’s Marni Nixon letting them sing that line in West Side Story about the world being a star.


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