My second real social attempts at karaoke took place in London in November 2015 when I went down to the big Smoke to visit my old friend Amy Cherry, we hadn’t seen each other in person since previous when she visited me a for a few days.
We met up twice and on the first night we went to an Irish Bar then name of which totally alludes me where we ran into a couple of her friends and she grabbed the song book and the selection cards. I cannot remember what songs she chose other than Kate Bush’s “Babushka” and while I feel Amy will freely admit she is no Kate Bush, she does certainly have a fairly impressive set of lungs upon her. Karaoke is very much a hobby horse of young Amy and it seemed that many of her Saturday and Friday nights were spent with a microphone in her hand, certainly she seemed to be one first name terms with the various hosts, whereas I myself tend to be more of a background figure when it comes to these sort of things… at least until I have topped up my fuel tank as it were. I selected three songs, which were “Stardust” (Nat King Cole), “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” (Tony Bennett) and “Minnie the Moocher” (Cab Calloway), only two of these were called up and they were contrasting numbers. First up was “Stardust” which I admit I was a bit nervous about as I wasn’t in the rhythm of the evening yet and going to for a sentimental ballad of lost love is probably not the best choice for your first step. I was later called up for “Minnie the Moocher” and by then I was a little more in the rhythm and did some Cab Calloway style movements on stage, it probably also helped that Amy was giving me some moral support in the audience there. At the end she certainly had a big grin on her face.
The second night we went to a pub in Isleworth called the Milford Arms and here the set up was slightly different, there was no book, you just put your name down on the list and waiting to be called and he’d download the music and lyrics from the Internet. Again I can’t recall what numbers Amy did but she certainly was in her element, we’d come with some of her friends and they had quite a close rapport with one another and at times I felt I was the outsider looking in, which was true, but there were deeper things going on that evening which would spell themselves out the following day. I can’t recall all the numbers I did, but I definitely did REM’s “Man on the Moon” as a sort of private joke being Amy and I in relation to a misheard chorus in another of the band’s songs, “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight”, and later “Orange Coloured Sky” by Nat King Cole. This was a second choice as my primary choice was “Lush Life” which is also a Nat King Cole number but at the time there was no Karaoke version available, had it been there it would have turned out to end up being a sad commentary on the results of the weekend. By the end of the evening I knew there was tension between the two of us, but I was hoping it would dissipate soon. This was not to be and that was the last time I have seen Amy to date.
I titled both of my Karaoke posts “A Night at the Opera” as an ironic joke, but it seems that the title might have been more poignant then I had realised as many an Opera deals with personal tragedy and loss.
Anyway, I’ll finish with the song I wasn’t able to do