As anyone wise enough to read this blog regularly will know, I love the very funny US TV detective series Monk which has a central character with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. So I am now a sucker for any OCD stories.
Which brings me to British stand-up comedian and writer Gill Smith, who (as I explained in recent a blog) inspired the annual Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award – now there’s something for her to put on her gravestone.
Last week, she asked me to wantonly plug her upcoming Edinburgh Fringe show in this blog.
I am a man of principle. It is not something I would normally do except for wads of used £50 notes or, at the very least, a free meal. But, perhaps foolishly lured by the carrot of OCD, I told her:
“I will give you a blatant plug if you give me a quirky anecdote.”
The lovely Gill Smith is returning to the Fringe this year with her new show OCD: the Singing Obsessive – at The Three Sisters as part of the Laughing Horse Free Festival. The hour-long show is 6:05pm from 4th to 28th August daily… except every Tuesday.
Only someone with OCD, of course, could even conceive of performing a full run of Edinburgh Fringe shows daily – but not do them every Tuesday.
That was not the quirky detail Gill told me, though – she probably doesn’t even think that IS quirky…
The billing for her show reads: “For years Gill Smith resisted her biggest obsession – breaking into song… Now she’s accepted her own obsessive toe-tapping and is sharing her inner soundtrack.”
There proved to be a slight problem about this concept, though, which she discovered in her pre-production preparations.
“In the course of planning the show,” Gill tells me, “I discovered that I can’t actually sing! Of course, I’ll be doing so anyway. But my singing tutor and I found that I do actually suffer from a little-known condition called ‘amusia‘, which is the musical equivalent of dyslexia… It doesn’t stop me enjoying singing… but I can’t promise others, especially those with good pitch, will find it as enjoyable!”
When Gill told me that her condition is actually called ‘amusia’ I began to think she was taking the piss – she is, after all, an esteemed former Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award winner.
But, no, it’s all true, She actually does have this condition and, incredibly, it is actually called ‘amusia’ – surely that name must be like striking gold for a comedian.
“The even better word for the condition,” say Gill, “is the Japanese one – ‘onchi’ – which translates most closely as ‘tone idiot’… I love it!”
Who would have thought?