Preposterous Universe

Saturday, July 24, 2004
Karaoke report

To my great suprise, I had a grand old time at Karaoke last night. I must begin by saying that everything that happened took place without benefit of alcohol (I have occasional bursts of health consciousness and go off the sauce; we are in one such period now.). Other people named herein did not abstain.

The revelry began with a rousing rendition of "Brandy". That's what the sailor said. Why Brandy? Because the last time I Karaoke'd (one of maybe four such occasions in my life), I was the weaker half of a duet of Brandy with my friend Erin. She was at last night's gathering, and it seemed redemptive to reprise the act, with me making a better effort. I took the harmony this time, which was much easier. The crowd was on its feet when it was over. Admittedly the crowd consisted almost entirely of our party at that point in the evening.

I only took the stage a few more times, once for "Aimee" and once for "Country Roads". Duets both. The fun came from what everyone else was up to. Erin gets props for some fine work on "Take it Easy", and Julie deserves credit for "Levon". What a weird song. Julie and Rob did a duet of "Philadelphia Freedom", which was a little messed up, perhaps because Rob himself was a little messed up by that time. Happy Birthday, Rob! Greg was brave enough to tackle "Brick House" with favorable results.

But enough of my little clique. What about other people? Well, Karaoke always brings out the American Idol wannabes, and there were a few of those. One not-bad-sounding woman in a stetson kept singing maudlin country tunes - one song combined a Mama-as-martyr, welfare, a cockroach, and a dying baby. Exhausting! Another woman did some pretty nice singing on "Ring my Bell". A guy who may have been named Noah mutilated quite a few tunes, but with tremendous gusto. He was a real crowd-pleaser. And of course, what Karaoke session would be complete without "Sweet Caroline"? Always a hit with the kids. One guy had the nerve to sing "Ziggy Stardust" (Bowie is a big favorite of mine, and not to be taken on lightly), and he actually did just fine. My hat is off to him. The only really bad moment came early in the evening. A woman who appeared to be a regular at the bar bascially just screeched a tune into the mike. We started to laugh - evreyone in the place did - but she was with some tough-looking characters, so we quickly squelched any audible sounds of derision. Now, I have to say that I think this kind of violated the spirit of Karaoke. I think you ought to take a very accepting and non-judgemental attitude toward other people's singing. In general, we applauded wildly even for the bad singers. But in all honesty, this one woman was so bad we could not help ourselves.

Finally, honorable mention has to go to Jacob, who stood in front of total strangers and sang "I've never been to me". You know the song? "I've been to paradise...but I've never been to me". It's atrocious, and Jacob belted like he almost meant every word. Kudos.

Would I Karaoke again? I would. Would I now call myself a natural? Definitely not. But maybe some great Karaoke singers born, some are made, and some have Karaoke greatness thrust upon them. We'll see. For now, my life, my love, and my lady is the sea.

Ideas on culture, science, politics.
Sean Carroll

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