How does it feel to spend most of one’s life conforming to the expectations of others? I don’t really know, since I always felt there was something more important to consider – my inner voice. A chap I used to know back in university felt compelled to call me “weirdo”, presumably because I didn’t care about “doing the right thing”, as it was seen by my peers of the time. In more recent times I reminisced about this factoid with folks who knew me in those days. Someone said the chap who called me names might have had a point.

Having said this, even relatively eccentric non conformists such as yours truly sometimes get caught up in the need to either fit in, or simply sail through encounters without raising irritating questions about one’s apparent difference. Being authentic, consistent or true to one’s self could be regarded as being psychologically healthy, but there are moments when we just want to get on with things and not have to deal with the fallout from causing ripples or attracting attention.

Those who have become adept at appearing to be “normal” are amazing to watch. Is it possible that their lives are the material that non conformists feed off, in order to create art or entertainment?

I remember being involved in casting actors for a theatre production and the company’s director took exception to the idea of one particular actor being cast as a prince, because he regarded him as a rebellious person. I attempted to gently correct the director, by suggesting that the actor had a “counter cultural” outlook. Did this mean he was incapable of understanding the bearing of a prince? I’m not so sure.

In the days when I actively pursued operatic roles, my physical appearance seemed to be at odds with some of the principal roles that some folks thought I should be aiming to sing. My psychological bearing is on the domineering side of things, so I didn’t feel any affinity towards singing the role of a valet, even if it was the title role in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”. I was more suited to the role of Count Almaviva. Don’t we just have to make the most of who we are and get on with things?