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How to Perfect the Campfire Sing Song - And Cheer Up a Grumpy Nation

30/05/2013 13:35 BST | Updated 29/07/2013 10:12 BST

Britain is fed up. We are a country of grumps. You may already have thought this to be the case, but now there are hard statistics to back up your suspicions. A new survey for the Camping and Caravanning Club shows that 63% of us feel Britain as a nation has nothing to look forward to this summer, and nearly as many agreed that they have nothing to look forward to personally.

But don't just give up, stay at home, close the curtains and wait for winter because there is an antidote to the summer blues. That's because the research also showed that 81 percent of people agreed that the thought of going camping cheers them up.

All this means that the current National Camping and Caravanning Week is endowed with even more importance, as it is perhaps the biggest chance we have to put a smile back on the nations collective face.

So, in order to make sure you are fully prepared for the week ahead, I have taking it upon myself to help you with what is perhaps the most important aspect of the camping trip - the nighttime sing song.

1 - The campfire

You will need a campfire or at least some kind of light source. Playing on your own in the pitch black dark is pretty tricky even for the most accomplished, and not much fun.

2 - Your instrument.

A cheap guitar is best. This way you won't be upset if it gets damaged by the rampaging hoards of music lovers who are bound to make their way towards your tent.

Above all though, don't play the bagpipes. As Alfred Hitchcock said: "I understand that the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made sound never equaled the purity of sound achieved by the pig."

Rather harsh, but you get the picture.

3 - The correct blend of talent, enthusiasm and a willingness to please.

Fellow campers will not be expecting free of charge professional entertainment. Equally though they won't want the early 'audio car crash' rounds of Britain's Got Talent. So, it's important to a have at least half a dozen popular tunes up your sleeve that they can all sing-along too. Think 'Hey Jude' or 'American Pie'. Avoid the back catalogue of Leonard Cohen or anything with Parental Advisory Lyrics. Get people to join in by banging pots and pans etc.

4 - Low expectations in the romance department

Do not expect your campfire strumming to have any aphrodisiac qualities. In my experience, playing a romantic ballad for an object of desire seldom leads them to becoming all soppy and misty eyed. Instead, everyone just feels a little bit awkward at you airing your ambitions a little too publicly. Having said that, you are better looking than I am.

And finally, the most important advice of all...

5 - Respect your Neighbours.

Many people go on holiday for peace and quiet, and don't want to be kept awake by a tortured Ging-Gang-Gooley. If they complain, gently inquire if they have any requests. If the answer is somewhat industrial in its language then it's time to break out the 'Marcel Marceau Greatest Hits' repertoire. Happy camping...