PERFORMANCE ANXIETY_ I’M IMAGINING YOU NAKED, READING THIs

PERFORMANCE ANXIETY: I’M IMAGINING YOU NAKED, READING THIS

Copyright of the copywriter: Lazrus

Before advertising (and writing in the third person), Lazrus was a musician. Having performed in front of huge crowds (+35,000 people), he knows the stress and anxiety involved in gearing up for a show. So when asked to create a blog piece (a writer’s version of a performance to an audience) in time for nextThursday’s website deadline… duh? Thursday??? That familiar pressure crept up inside him, even before a single finger hit the keyboard. ‘Fuck! I’m going to be judged by my peers. If they’ve got pears in a fruit bowl nearby, maybe they’ll judge me too. What if someone read this to P-Diddy. Would he hear it through a set of p-ears? Shit! Fuck! Shit! I’ve only got a couple of hours left to get this done… ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!’

Not Lazrus, but definitely his spirit animal when blogging.

We’ve all been told, the best way to calm yourself before public speaking or a performance, is to imagine the crowd naked. But I don’t get it. Wouldn’t you just be horny? I mean, a group of naked people in front of you… Whatever. What if it didn’t make you horny, it simply made you feel awkward? I mean, they’re all naked, you’re the only outlier that’s covered up.

Perhaps that’s a matter of perspective. 

If an alien walked into the stadium (we didn’t specify the size of the audience in this thought experiment, but I’m going big!), perhaps they’d assume the person on stage performing was the master; the creator; the big wig in charge. Afterall, you’d be the only one wearing clothes, presumably they’d be decorative. You’re performing, so it makes sense. I’m thinking, Michael Jackson’s attire. Actually, scrap that. MJ in a room with all those naked people… we don’t need the lawsuit.

Alien pictured is a representation of aliens for the purposes of this article, not the actual alien in Lazrus’s mind.

So, let’s say you’re dressed like ‘the artist formerly alive’; formerly ‘Prince’; before that ‘The Artist Formerly Known As’; ‘ that symbol thing’; and finally, before that, ‘Prince’. You’re dressed like Prince speaking to an audience of buttnaked people. It’s as if they’re regretful nudists that came to hear a motivational speaker talk about, “Clothes: How to adore them and how to adorn them… again”.

Anyway, the alien would probably report back to their home planet that the leader of the humans “needs a better tailor”. They’d add, “their leader, although wearing fancy garments, must be truly uncomfortable because their outfit was five sizes too small!” But the alien was not privy to your decision to wear Prince’s outfit, nor would they know that Prince was a very tiny person; an oompa loompa of not only the music industry, but the entire species. I digress, but you get it, right? Maybe, it’s not good to imagine everybody naked when you’re about to perform in front of them. 

Personally, I like to imagine that everyone in the audience is a dandelion. With every inhale, they bend in towards me with intense interest. When I exhale, they lose their shit and end up all over the place. And when that happens, it’s a pretty beautiful thing. But that’s just me. When I perform, it’s all fine and dandy.

And the crowd is blown away.

I used to imagine I was the one naked and the audience had their clothes on, but geez, it takes a lot of body positivity. Plus, it made me fear ever attempting an impromptu ‘splits’! Don’t visualise it. Please, don’t… STOP! 

Errr, can’t believe you went there… but now that you have… 

I just finished watching the documentary series,’ Wild, Wild Country’, on Netflix. If you don’t know it, give it a go after you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor from, ‘Tiger King’. In short, Wild, Wild Country was about a cult in the 80’s. In a few scenes, there are dozens of naked people ecstatic dancing as a form of healing trauma.

Ecstatic Dance is usually a drug and alcohol free thing (not one where people put bottles up their butts), but stock libraries are far from an exact science.

And it got me thinking – how did that scene come about? Was the master of ceremonies naked when the audience turned up? Did the audience turn up naked? Or, were both the MC and the audience naked from the get-go? If the latter was true, I wondered – what would the MC (performer) use as a technique, if they suffered stage fright? Would they imagine the crowd fully clothed? Hmmm… 

I guess I’m curious to know: what does a nude performer think of, in order to calm the nerves before performing to a nudist crowd? Thoughts, anyone?

Laz Simons

By Lazrus Simons, Senior Writer @ nextThursday