Today, for the hundred-twelftieth time, I went to a karaoke joint. Some of you right now are picturing an extremely drunk 50-something Japanese guy belting out “Bohemian Rhapsody” a couple of semitones short of the actual pitch, and spontaneously redefining the lyrics.
Actually, that’s not completely fair – 100% of the folks in Japan whose singing I witnessed were not out of tune.
Western-style karaoke is more about singing to a room full of patrons whose judgment has hopefully been heavily influenced by our favourite poison in order to dull that part of their brain that reminds them that they have heard “Barbie Girl” a few too many times. Yes, as much as I absolutely loathe hearing the words “apple bottom jeans” blaring out of the speakers to mark the beginning of a song more irritating than your great auntie’s flatulent poodle in an elevator, I have to confess that as recently as last Friday I was shaking my white arse in a semi-enthusiastic manner to that very piece. Enough brew will get a baby-boomer breakdancing to Beyonce if the time is right for it.
Back to the karaoke. Here in Sydney we have a lot of Asian-style karaoke booth warehouses (for lack of a better word). There are no crowds of jeering haters who are raging at your rendition of Backstreet Boys.
For those who are calling for elaboration – it’s akin to singing in the shower, except your friends are all standing outside laughing at your man-tits. I kid. They actually find them erotic. But really, it’s more intimate than a pub full of strangers, and you don’t have to get off stage after singing Celine Dion. You can stay up there and sing Mariah. Maybe some Wham! For a few hours, time freezes in your little box of shame, and the only people that can witness the atrocities that occur inside are the folks walking past the door who are as guilty as you are. It’s beautiful.
I may have more to say about this subject in future, but for now…