You need only look as far as The X Factor or America’s Got Talent to know that there is something innately distressing about people who have deluded themselves into thinking they can sing.
And fortunately for TV execs and their bank accounts, these particular people are rarely backwards in coming forwards about their ‘talent’ either.
Unlike many genuinely talented singers, who pick flaws in their ability, the untalented among us exude a misplaced sense of confidence, which borders on brash if the last decade of reality TV shows is anything to go by.
And look, while we can all agree that this spate of deluded wannabes are insufferable at best, it’s important to note that they do not reflect all woeful singers.
Indeed, some woeful singers are completely conscious of their shortcomings, the first to admit they can’t carry a tune in a bucket, wholly envious of those that can, but – and here’s the thing – continue to inflict their voice on friends and family.
And I should know, because I’m one of them.
If you’re a long-suffering listener, you may appreciate an insight into the method behind our madness.
1. We have nothing to prove.
There is absolutely no onus on us to sound good, so that instantly takes the pressure off.
We know there’s a vast difference between bad singers who think they’re good and bad singers who know they’re not, and as long as you fall into the latter camp, you’re more than entitled to warble with the best of them.
Hey, we never claimed to be Whitney Houston, so back off.
2. We hear something different to you.
While we know we can’t sing – hell, we’ve been told frequently enough - we don’t actually hear the same thing the rest of the world does.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we don’t hear Grammy Award-winning material, but we definitely don’t hear the same bag of mangled cats you do.
3. We never give up hope.
Those less blessed in the vocal department have a habit of clinging on to vague compliments they were once given by kindly teachers or near-deaf relatives.
And that means we often hold out hope that such compliments will be doled out again at some point in the future.
4. We have an encyclopedic knowledge of song lyrics.
Just like football fans who couldn’t kick a ball out of their way but can name every player in the Premiership, woeful(but we know it) singers absorb song lyrics like sponges.
And hey, if we’re going to absolutely murder a song, we may as well use the correct lyrics to do so.
5. We sometimes (secretly) practice.
Born of that one vague compliment we received 12 years ago, some of us make genuine attempts to improve our ‘technique’, and have been known to employ the help of voice recorders in an effort to assess our shortcomings.
Christ, we know it’ll only elevate from abysmal to sub-par, but we’re (kind of) doing it for you.
6. We love nothing more than a sing-song.
Whether it’s due to a lack of self-consciousness (remember, we have nothing to prove) or an opportunity to showcase our vast repertoire of songs, a public sing-song is our happy place.
Now, we do draw the line at singing solo in front of complete strangers, but we’re on hand for each and every note as long as at least one other person keeps the ball rolling.
7. We (secretly) pity the truly good singers.
Bizarre and all as it seems, we’ve been known to pity the more talented singers among us when they’re encouraged (often against their will) to perform at a sing-song.
One false start or the odd dud note and they’re bloody done for.
The ‘questionable’ singers, on the other hand, are praised for simply taking part, and what’s not to love about that?