20 March, 2007

Karaoke: Where Were You When I REALLY Needed You?

*In the following post, I hereby eschew my usual self-deprecating schtick. Readers are advised that the following contains frequent references to rock singing, one of the few things I carry off comfortably and confidently. Fuck false modesty, okay? I do so rock.

The Love of My Life has four nieces and the eldest was having her 21st on a Saturday night in October. I had been given strict orders to leave my cricket match as early as possible so as not to be late.

But my team had managed a rare all-day batting performance. And as I’d also made my highest individual run score since Bradman was a boy, I reasoned that this was cause for celebration! I hung around the club a little longer than TLOML had specified but as my run total was way too low to inspire the blokey backslapping I pathetically craved, I showered, changed and headed across town to my sister-in-law’s.

I had been forewarned that it was a karaoke affair and sure enough TLOML was welded to the mike when I arrived, duetting on The Chicken Song (you don’t want a link to that shite, surely) with Curly & some young cousins. Larry was grinning and laughing with/at them while Moe was off somewhere dying of embarrassment. At that rate, Moe was going to be spending most of the evening flatlining.

I caught TLOML’s eye and mouthed a “sorry I’m late” but she just flashed her dazzling grin and gave a “you’re-here-and-that’s-all-that-counts” shrug. There are many, many reasons why she is TLOML. So I grabbed a beer, wished 21stGirl a Happy Birthday and did the hello round with all the people there that I knew.

But I had big eyes for that karaoke machine. I kept wandering into the open area where it was set up and when TLOML beckoned me over during a brief lull, I quickly keyed in “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones.

TLOML stayed on stage and then her sister joined us as a pretty close approximation of Keith’s opening riff razored through the party. I was just about to gesture like a complete tosser that hey, I was a solo act but narrowly dragged myself back from the precipice.

I reckon I might have turned a few heads with a near-enough facsimile of Mick’s bluesy drawl but then I have heard the song at least 10,000 times and used to do it in a garage band that exceeded its brief by playing at near-empty pubs and footy club functions.

Next up, TLOML and I duetted on Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me?” She is a wicked mimic when inspired and like most people with that talent, can sing too. We hammed it up a bit, she captured Susanne Sulley’s little-girl vocal stylings and I like to think we drew a few people into the area.

That was going to be it for me as no-one likes a karaoke hog. Off stage for a little more socializing and I was introduced to some of 21stGirl’s friends. A few of them seemed a little more interested in chatting to me than on the odd previous occasions we’d met, occasions they didn’t remember at all.

Some time later, three of 21stGirl’s contemporaries, DarkHairedFriend, BlondeFriend (two very attractive, charming, young women) and ReallyNiceBoy suggested we sing together. Sure. “You’re the One That I Want” by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, I offered? No, how about the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreaming” Yee-eessss! I took Denny Doherty’s lead part and the girls and boy filled in Michelle and John Phillips and Cass Elliot’s call-response backing vocals quite creditably for non-baby boomers.

Getting cocky, I tried some on-stage zingers. “Look, I don’t really know anyone here tonight but I was just passing and heard the music and you’ve all been so friendly, treating me like I was, I dunno 21stGirl’s uncle or something.” I’m sure it wasn’t just nervous laughter that I heard.

I then suggested The Who’s “My Generation”, which they also knew and we ripped through that, key changes and all. A bevy of 21stGirl’s friends crowded around the front and cheered and clapped in a disarming mixture of genuine support and undergraduate irony.

In the euphoria of the moment, DarkHairedFriend stepped forward to hug her fans and tripped headlong over my microphone cable. She lunged across the floor and finished on hands and knees. Her short skirt had ridden up over her back. The mishap had caused her to assume a pose often seen in pornos. You know, on hands and knees, head down, legs apart, back arched. And I was right where the camera would have been.

I surged forward for two reasons: to help poor DarkHairedFriend up; to quickly change my point of view. She was unhurt but embarrassed about her tumble. I reasoned that as I’d been the first to reach her, I must have also been first to give up my vantage-point and so had an ironclad alibi against perving. It probably wouldn’t stand up to a withering cross-examination, but it was all I had.

A little later, TLOML sent me into the master bedroom to get her jacket and there were two more of 21stGirl’s friends in there. “Oh hi! We’ve just been talking about you,” one of them said in a flirty sing-song voice. “We’d like to sing with you too”. “Sorry. Stripped my vocal cords with that last number”, I explained.

I spent the rest of the evening just chatting and watching 21stGirl and her friends sing along with their favourites and have a ball.

So what was the point of all this lame, long, self-indulgence? Well, if there’d been fucking karaoke around when I was a pathetic single it might have made things a bit easier for me. It might have been a case of my hearing “How about you sing with me?” instead of overhearing “Oh God, he’s coming over.”


Steph said...

Never heard of Karaoke being used to attract the laydees before, but i guess it's that whole 'frontman' thing.
I've always agreed with the "give the man a guitar and watch the chicks flock" school of thought, so you may be on to something.

Lad Litter said...

You might be right about Karaoke's questionable attraction possibilities Steph. It worked on TLOML anyway. And guitars? From experience, I think it's the man, not the axe.

BwcaBrownie said...

The man?
I'm with 'steph' sorry LL.
some pretty plain players get pretty girls

it's the bright lights,
the drinks consumed'
the posturing,
Wayne's World! It's Excellent!

(Disclaimer: my ex-husband went off with a ligger who would not have considered him, or even seen him, if he had been a plumber)

Lad Litter said...

Okay you two, stop ganging up on me ;) By the time my guitar & I got into the bright lights I was married & well past 30. And playing for beer money in near- empty pubs & the occasional function. I think any chicks at those gigs would have been snogging plumbers up the back! Would a post on Melbourne garage rock appeal?

audrey said...