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Singing

REGRETS?

I've had a few thousand. One is that I cannot sing. Perhaps that's more inability than regret, but you get my drift.

I cannot join choruses of Happy Birthday. At funerals and weddings, I mouth the words but make no sound.

At the football, I croak out Sunshine On Leith when my team wins the cup. But, fortunately, that happens rarely. And the surrounding clamour is so great that no-one notices my fair imitation of a syphilitic squirrel vomiting.

But I believe singing is good for the soul and wish it were in my short list of capabilities. It must be so uplifting to join with one's fellow man and woman in sending soothing notes to the heavens. It's surely one of the quickest, most effective ways of bonding with the otherwise unapproachable human race.

Like most people, I read a lot of Swedish fin-de-siecle literature, and characters there are always singing. It's the only time they're not morose. Well, that and while at the procreation. But the latter always leads to trouble.

This morning, on a footer website, I came across a video of the Thai Tims, wee kids in Thailand singing Celtic songs. It was so sweet it almost made me greet. That's the power of singing.

Singing also has a power to heal. A recent study found the lung health of Scots cystic fibrosis sufferers improved after singing lessons. Here, it was more the practice techniques that did the trick.

In the study, Scottish Opera worked with patients from the respiratory ward at Glasgow's Gartnavel General Hospital to see if breath control and vocal exercises could replicate the effects of conventional physiotherapy.

It was just a small study but in it the FEV1 — the amount of air that can be forced out in one second and a general indicator of health — rose by up to 13% in the 14 patients tested.

It's reckoned the exercises can also reduce infection and prevent lung damage.

It's all good. And, alas, all beyond me. It's not just my chronic shyness or the fact that I could mumble for Scotland. I believe that, physiologically, I am not as other men.

Words stick in my throat - probably on an ancient piece of pie - and just won't come out.

But, inside my head, I can sing. And the beauty of this is that no-one else can hear it.

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