Remona AlyTuesday 09 May 2017 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2
Robert Plant, Moses and battling fears
It was back in the summer of ‘93, when my brother and cousin, who were massive Led Zeppelin fans, decided they wanted to see Robert Plant. Not at a gig, not backstage, but in his family home in Worcestershire.
They took a train to their musical icon’s village, searched his home address in the local library, and approached the house, feeling more and more like a pair of idiots. They walked up the garden path step by step like it was a stairway to heaven, thinking their angel of rock would appear at the gate. Palms sweating, lips trembling, they knocked at the door. A figure emerged, with big hair filling the frosted glass. Was it, was it.. It was..
It was Robert Plant’s mum.
‘Is Robert in?’ my brother asked, in his 20s at the time, as if the music legend was a schoolmate who’d play footie with him in the street. Meanwhile, my cousin, who was catatonic, finally managed to get his words out: “We’ve not come to meet Robert Star the rock plant, but the person.”
It’s at vital moments like these, life-defining moments, that you cave under the pressure, and get tongue tied when you least want to and you’re left feeling like a moron. But even the greatest of people get tongue tied, like one of my heroes, Prophet Moses who had a speech impediment – and he had to take on the mighty, ferocious Pharaoh. Moses is mentioned in the Quran more times than any other prophet, and it’s the little prayer by him that I recite every time I have to speak in public – which is one of my biggest fears. Before I go on a stage or on the radio, I repeat the words Moses said, which go “My Lord! Open up for me my heart. And ease for me my task. And untie the knot of my tongue so that they may understand my speech.”
I love that Moses wasn’t the best public speaker. I love the fact that if it weren’t for him striving to overcome his fear of speaking to power thousands of years ago, I would not have his prayer to help me through my own fears today. Luckily, I don’t have to face pharaohs, but I think rock legends and radio DJs can be scary enough.