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  • Writer's pictureTanya Louise

Life: I moved to Newcastle - for four days!

Ever feel like you can take on the world? Then it emerges you can't even take on the A1!

That's exactly what happened to me when I was 20. I'd had the time of my life (to coin a phrase from a song) working as a redcoat for a holiday company for a season.

Following an X-Factor style audition I'd been picked to entertain holiday makers. Until then I'd thought my voice was average at best, so was pleasantly surprised when the Entertainment Executive said I could sing.

As the season continued, my confidence grew. To the kids we were stars. They'd chant my name to sing, and shout for more at the end. I was encouraged by the professional visiting cabarets to go professional myself. A lot of them were Northern and it seemed that this was where the work was. The girl I was working with and sharing accommodation with was from up North too and she assured me that she'd find me lodgings up there. So when we heard a talent agent was visiting, we made it our business to make sure he saw me perform.

He signed me up on the spot. There was one minor problem. I couldn't drive! Well, I could, I just hadn't passed my test and an incident in which I was thrown in to the swimming pool, subsequently spraining my wrist had put paid to lessons for a bit. I never let on, I told the agent I hadn't got a car yet and I wanted to finish the season, so I needed a bit of time.

When the season did end I returned home to Nottingham and set about getting my PA equipment. Huge speakers I could barely lift, a mixer amp, and backing tracks. In those days you couldn't download anything, you had to send away for a tape or CD and pray it was in the right key when it arrived.

Two more driving tests later and I passed. I bought my first car, an orange Mini Metro for 800 pounds.

Meanwhile, my friend had sorted lodgings, a room in someones house. I had contracts and bookings ,so she came to visit me in Nottingham and we packed as many of my belongings as we could in the Metro and set off up North. It was the first time I'd driven on the motorway. Lorries thundered by my little car. I was nervous, but we made it to her house where I'd be staying for a few days.

During that time she and her parents showed me the area and we went to see my lodgings. For the first time I realised how lonely I would be. One room in a strangers house would be my home. I said nothing as we made our way back to the car and into the night to drive back to her parents house. As I was sat in the car, watching the streets whizz past, it occurred to me that I had no idea how to get back to her house or where I was. Somebody could have blindfolded me and spun me round three times - it wouldn't have made the slightest bit of difference. There was no sat nav and phones didn't have maps on like they do now. I realised I had no idea whether I was travelling North or South. At least at home I knew that Leicester was South, Chesterfield was North and therefore would know if I was heading in the wrong direction. Here I'd be travelling alone, trying to look at an A-Z by the light of a torch.

I was starting to feel uneasy, and to top it all, had a mouth full of ulcers. My friend decided to take me shopping as it was my last day at her parents house before I moved to my new 'home', wherever that was. As soon as we stepped off the bus, a pigeon shat on me. We got it out of my hair best we could but decided to go home.

As I sat in the bath, pigeon pooed hair under water, I knew I'd made a mistake. I got out the bath. Dressed, and told my friend I couldn't do it. I cried, she cried, but I knew if I stayed I'd regret it. As soon as I'd decided I just wanted to get home. Back to my Mum and Dad, my brother and sister-in law. I hadn't realised how much I loved where I lived and so it was decided that my friend would come with me in the Metro and her parents would follow. They would then all drive back home to Newcastle the same night, and that's what they did, taking a copy of the Nottingham Post newspaper with them to show to friends who wouldn't believe they'd done that round trip in one night.

I did go on to have a singing career in the Midlands, so I don't like to think I made a terrible mistake, I think I just learnt I'd gone the wrong way about it and accepted it.

But I know one thing. I wish I had half the confidence now of that 20 year old me that could take on the world.

Love T xx


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