My fellow librarians had the dubious pleasure of listening to me do a couple of numbers on the evenin' stage this past Friday. Our work Christmas do, took the form of a chinese meal followed by the usual bar action.
Of course, being tee-total these days renders me 'the boring one' (who would have thought you could have ever find that trait in a librarian), but I was necking bottles of Becks Alcohol-Free to keep up the blokey pretense (albeit in a female entourage), and it can have a small amount of placebo effect. Enough Dutch courage to return to the Karaoke floor after several years in exile.
Not 100% voluntary exile, I should add.
I can still recall the faces of horror of the 150 or so people on a Southampton Firkin pub as I attempted to impress a lady with my idiosychratic version of Shania Twain's 'Man, I Feel Like a Woman'. I would have loved to deliver it straight, but when you aren't overly familiar with the melody, you are left mumbling by way of catch up in a manner which Mark E. Smith has made a career out of. It was enough to tell me, that I should leave the mic behind.
The next person up was a lady doing 'That Don't Impress Me Much', and as I exited like a close-to-tears Weakest Link contestant, through a close-to-laughter audience, the spinmaster's words echoed in eternity, "now lets hear Shania done properly".
Needless to say, the lady remained mostly unimpressed, instead being somewhere between curled-up with mirth and a little frightened.
This was a bit of a come-down after reasonable reviews for previous performances. Always one of two songs, Roxy's 'Love Is The Drug', or Elvis' 'Burning Love'.
Once worked up enough to do it, my first effort on Friday was the Roxy one. I spent most of the night, being a walking conversational cul-de-sac, burrowed into the song-list, but thought to return to this, I'd best do something familiar. Take the old road, explore later.
The lack of a monitor was disconcerting, but thankfully mimicing Bryan Ferry's vibrato means dreadful singing can usually be disguised. I have no idea whether it was or not, but it felt good to be singing again.
Being a fanzine writer is essentially an admission that the music career is never going to happen, or more accurately in my case, that you ain't good enough in the first place. I'd be nothing without the words in front of me, and their presence is still no guarantee of quality from my harmful gob.
The occasional karaoke turn, after many nights, mostly good nights, of writing about the musical skills of others, is my chance to feel what it might be like if I'd have been given a creative gift rather than the cast-off of a reasonable ability to write about those who are creative. Gawd bless 'em.
A couple of hours later, having poured over the lists again, I plumped to finish my assault on the collective ears of the Atrium Bar, with a guerilla raid on 'This Charming Man', which only just (just, mind) edged out the Bob The Builder version of 'Mambo No. 5', as my sign-off option. Could hear myself better this time and quite pleased with my Joe-Longthorne-does-Moz effort.
I had been tempted with Lonnie Donegan's version of 'Rock Island Line' but the fast-paced nasal speak-singing up til the final frenzy would probably have been a bit of a stretch.
One thing that did startle me, aside from the presence of Megadeth in the lists, was that punters are given the chance to do Laurie Anderson's 'O Superman'. Does the DJ/host guy hand over a vocoder if you go down this road, I wonder? Certainly it would take a brave soul to electronically drawl over 8 minutes of "ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah....".
There's a crisp tenner in it though, if anyone's interested.