Friday, July 07, 2006

Things that Karaoke Has Taught Me

A friend of mine once said "Planning karaoke is like planning sex". At the time she meant it took the joy out of it, the spontaneity, the thrill. But as we get older, planning activities such as these can become an important way of making sure you get an appropriate outlet for the most fundamental of urges.

Last night between six and ten pm, I was to be found in a small, darkened room here singing a variety of show tunes, soul anthems and jaunty sixties tracks to an old, very close friend ("just the two of us"). Yes, I was left with a stinking hangover but a few insights have stayed with me.

Know Your Instrument
If your voice varies in quality, it's best to aim low and pick songs by others with similar issues, e.g. my most successful song last night was "Pull Up to the Bumper" by Grace Jones although admittedly I did accompany myself with some over-ambitious dance moves involving a touch too much "booty" than was appropriate given dimensions of said booty.

Remember to Breathe
Which brings me to attempting any Beyonce numbers... That woman should be applauded for more than her usually admired asset, she clearly has a fine pair of lungs. On attempting to sing her latest hit "Check on It", the lyrics for which translate as "Look at my bottom. Look at my bottom. You know you want to. Go on, look at it, I might let you touch it later. Look at my bottom.", I nearly fainted.

Singing Loudly is a Great Alternative Therapy
As old school friends singing songs from their youth whilst being regularly attended by barstaff bearing house white tend to, we had some tearful moments. The only remedy for such a moment is to grip the other round the shoulders, plant a big kiss and sing loudly through it. I have also found this technique to work at funerals and weddings.

Percussion Instruments are Harder to Play Than They Look
I never imagined you could ruin a song with some ill-timed flicks of the wrist, but my tambourine technique was truly terrible. Thank god they didn't leave the bongos in our room.

I realise I now have some strange addiction to this form of karaoke; I've already got my next session booked. Partly it's got to be an endorphin rush, but also it's about those moments when your head is down between chorus and third verse and you hold the microphone with circled thumb and forefinger and tap it with your other straightened fingers, and for a few glorious moments are as cool as you always hoped you would be. Then, of course, you open your mouth ...

If you're at all tempted by my glowing report and thinking about going along, I must emphasize that, rather like LSD, it is advisable that your first time is only ever attempted with a very select group of close, trusted friends in order to avoid any adverse psychological reactions such as paranoia, excessive comedown or a permanent loss of grip on reality - remember, you're not really nor ever will be that cool.

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