I’ve reached the age when I no longer need to stick my tongue to a 9v battery to know that it’s not a pleasant experience.
It took a while, but I got there.
On that basis, why oh why have I not yet learned to refuse doing karaoke gigs?
I know it’s going to be painful…very painful, yet after a spell of absence, I convince myself that I will handle the stress.
What stress I hear you cry?
Well, you wouldn’t know as by the time you participate, you are usually well into a drunken stupor.
Here’s the way it goes…
About 5pm, I start loading the car, taking care to leave my really good microphones at home as these will without doubt get trashed. Then I have to print out hundreds of request slips in the secure knowledge that by 10.30, most of these will be soaked through with spilled ale or used as paper balls that will be flicked between mildly drunk, yet at this point, still reasonable youths.
I arrive at the pub nice and early to set up the gear, humping speakers of a bulk that would get me to at least bronze medal stage in Olympic weightlifting, whilst confirming to those assembled around the bar, that yes…there is indeed karaoke on tonight.
Do people think I take these things to the pub for a walk as I don’t have a dog?
I then dish out the books. These are perused as one would a menu, but I just know that the clientele will order scampi and chips…I know you…you sing the same bloody song every time, in every pub from Fife to bloody Benidorm. You DON’T need the book.
Ok, so gear set up, I head to the bar. No, I don’t have water to preserve my vocal chords.
I know that I need to consume as much alcohol as possible to get me through the forthcoming trauma, much as the troops awaiting the whistle to ‘go over the top’ at the Somme.
It gets to 11pm, and I have provided you with a reasonable form of cabaret as nobody wants to sing whilst sober, and I see that at this time, your consumption of alcohol has been greater than mine, as you are now eyeing up the trench ladders with a longing.
Then the request slips start appearing. I lay them neatly in a pile….in the order I received them…although within the next hour, I will be accused of having the sleight of hand skills that would shame a Las Vegas hustler by having moved your slip to the bottom/middle of the pile, or made it magically disappear altogether, a la Derren Brown. (Oh, in some cases, this is true, sorry, but you did call me an assh*le earlier).
Then the ‘time continuum’ thing kicks in, where I’m informed that a slip that was presented to me 5 minutes ago, had actually in fact, been in my possession for at least 45 minutes.
I am sometimes, not often, surprised by someone who is exceptionally good, which is nice, and I enjoy that. I then get singers who are exceptionally bad, which I also enjoy. That’s what karaoke is all about.
Then the nightmares…the ones that suck, yet are convinced that they could,… nae should be on the X-Factor and don’t have mates that are honest enough to tell the how rank they really are.
Then comes the group singing where the lads and lasses outnumber the available microphones, and it’s always songs that the Eurovision song contest would ban as being unbearable.
Luckily, about 15 minutes to go, I get a smoke break as the inevitable request for a Meatloaf song comes up. Any Meatloaf will do as they last 14 minutes….
1 minute to midnight, it’s written in stone…
I Got you Babe, or Summer Lovin, a drunk singing Are You Lonesome Tonight or Mack the Bloody Knife gets an airing.
2 minutes past midnight. The barstaff have waved at me to shut down.
The police are likely outside listening in (wish they had been there earlier).
The government has decreed that music must stop at the stroke of 12, but is it their fault that the amplifier has been shut off?
No, the blame lies at my door. All these cheeky chaps and chapessess now have one goal in life…to reinstate the music, or kick 10 barrels of sh*t out of me for being the sole instigator of ruining, what until that time had been a thoroughly wonderful evening.
I hide at this point, usually an hour does it, until the dregs are cleared.
Upon re-entry, I start to wrap up the gear, and count the cost.
Broken…1 microphone £38.00
2 batteries used £7.00
Travel to replace mic £6.00
My bar bill £20.00
Barman approaches with £60 wages, and asks if I can come back next week as everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.