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The Backing Chatters
by Alan Pinkett

The final guest on the chat show was a well-known singer. Sarah Nade had a rough old voice, but it was perfect for ballads.

She performed a song from her latest album then went over to the host.

"Mwah, mwah," he greeted.

She sat down to the left of him. We mostly interview to the left, the Americans to the right.

Her backing singers settled behind her.

"Wonderful, wonderful."

"Thank ya."

"Thank you, thank you," said the backing singers.

Obviously there to back her every word.

"Now, I notice that the main theme of the album is the world. The first half is a real mixture of places. There is a house in New Orleans in a town called Alice by the rivers of Babylon in the heart of America. Then there’s Vienna calling New York, New York way down in Louisiana on the road to nowhere. Now… maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, but that sounds like a pretty good representation of the American view of the rest of the world, to me."

"Naah… they’re just places I bin on tour."

"Na, na… Na, na, na, naa… " came the refrain from behind her.

"Oh right… " continued the host. "But then the second side consists solely of songs about Georgia."

"Yeah… Never bin there, but must be one ‘a the most sung-about places anywheres."

"Yes… it’s got Georgia on my mind, I left my home in Georgia heading for the ‘Frisco Bay… "

"Leavin’ on a midnight train to Georgia."

"Whooh, whooh," added the backing speakers. "Chiddy-koof, chiddy-koof."

"And one of my favourites, a rainy night in Georgia."

"Woh, woh, woh. Miserable. Woh, woh, woh."

"Yeah… and Sweet Georgia Brown."

"OK… Now I know you’re off on tour to promote it. But unusually, you’re starting by entertaining American troops in Ira-kaza-bystan."

"Jig-a-jig. Jig-a-jig."

She looked sharply back at her backing speakers.

"Oh no, oh no, oh no," they cowered.

"Yeah, I’ll be singin’ to ‘em," she replied, slightly over-forcefully.

"La-la. La-la. Tralee."

"I think it’s important to support our military guys."

"Badoom, badoom, badoom. Dum, dum, dum."

"Then it’s on to Europe?"

"That way-ay-ee."

"Yeah… then the States and Asia – fifty dates in all."

"Ooh-ooh. Woh, woh, woh. Ooh baby, ooee."

"Well good luck with that... "

"Thank ya."

"And now… I have to ask this, Sarah… I believe you have a new man in your life."

"Boom-bidi-boom, bidi-boom, bidi-boom. Ticky-boo. Ticky-boo."

"Yeah… " she softened.

"Ga-goo-ga-goo. Boop, boop. Ah, aah… "

"Yeah… He’s base player with Bonk the Rock Chick."

"By the name of Justin Passin’, I understand."

"Yeah… "

"Right… Justin Passin’, Bonk the Rock Chick… reliable, is he?" laughed the host. He was trying to liven things up a bit – the interview had been feeling a bit like pulling teeth at times.

"Eh?!" she expostulated, her spikey hair bristling.

But it obviously wasn’t her first expostulate. No expostulate initiate, her.

Rather surprisingly, her somewhat unruly backing speakers Laughing Policemen’d to her rescue, "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Ha-ha-ha-ha-haa… "

Her antenna hair seemed to get the message that it was a joke and she calmed.

"Naah… he’s cool. He’s OK."

"Hung for your love, hung for your love. Dang-a-lang-a-lang, dang-a-lang-a-ding-dong."

She raised her eyes in exasperation at the turncoats behind her, but didn’t say anything.

"Well… I hope all goes well for you on that front."

"Thank ya."

"Showadee-bup. Shiddy-diddy. Diddy-di-bup."

"Shoo-doo-wup-wup. Bup-shoo-wup-bup. Shoo-bup-bup-bup. Bup-shoo-up," they continued, obviously on a bit of a roll.

"Well… I hope the tour goes well and it’s been good to talk to you again."

"Thank ya - bin good to see you, too."

"Obladi, oblada. Hey ho, nonnie, nonnie, nay."

The host swung his chair round towards the audience. "So… my thanks to all my guests… and I’ll see you again next week."

The theme music played, the credits shot past at eyeball-strain speed, the production company logo came up. Then the producer threw in a last little bonus – the sound of the backing singers talking as they returned to the hospitality room.

"Well, I’m sorry but you "wah-wahed" wrong."

"No I didn’t! Besides what sort of "ba-boo-ba-baa" did you call that?... "