Friday, December 05, 2008

on karaoke

there was an article on the new york times website today about karaoke rage. there was recently a guy who was killed in a karaoke establishment because someone else thought he was hogging the mike. every so often, there will be news articles about people who are severely beaten or killed because they butchered someone else's favourite song, or because they just plain sucked at karaoke.

maybe this is because i'm american, and americans don't take their karaoke quite as seriously, but--don't you expect people to suck and/or try to get as much performance time as possible at karaoke? that's kind of the point.

you don't have to be any good at karaoke to go and sing. there's no vetting process--anyone who shows up and signs up gets to sing. some people are really good. some people are really bad. most people fall somewhere in between. the point is, they feel like doing it. if you're in the bar, and you don't want to listen to any old joe off the street pick up a mike and sing--then don't go to the bar on karaoke night. there are a million other places to get your Drink and/or your Socialization on. so, if you don't feel like listening to people who suck at karaoke, don't go to a certain bar when it's karaoke night and start beating up or killing the singers that suck. just find another bar that doesn't have karaoke that night.

and, if a guy hogs the mic, it's not necessarily the guy's fault. i get the feeling that a lot of people who sing karaoke want to hog the mike. karaoke singers, especially the hardcore ones, are attention whores. karaoke bars should know this, and have the karaoke host make a proactive effort to manage the requests to sing, and mix the new singers in with people who want to sing multiple times. most good karaoke bars get a rotation going, and insert new singers accordingly, so no one person hogs the mic. at bars that just let people sign up on a sheet and sing in the order they sign, be prepared to see the hardcore karaoke freaks come up to the stage frequently. if you don't like mic hogs, ask the management to institute a rotation, or find another karaoke bar that regulates its rotation well.

luckily, i've never seen a particularly egregious episode of karaoke rage. i've seen a little grumbling and jeering at times. the closest thing to karaoke-fueled violence i ever saw was at Tom's, this really shitty karaoke bar in st. louis that i went to a few times, as a last resort. i was there with the foof, and he was up there singing. he wasn't quite in his best voice that day. some old guy at the bar picked up his oxygen tank, lugged it across the bar with him, and started chucking popcorn at foofy. one of the bartenders quickly noticed, made him stop throwing popcorn, and escorted him away. although it's definitely not a nice thing to do, a doddering old guy chucking popcorn is a far cry from actual karaoke-related violence; if that's the worst i've seen after all the karaoke i've done over the years, i feel safe in saying that it's a lot safer to be a karaoke singer in america than it is to be one in a country where they take it far more seriously.


also, in that article, they reference a comment made by malaysia's information minister, putting down karaoke singers by comparing them to bloggers, and stating that they "take pleasure in their own singing but have no influence." that's true, but what's the harm in it? as someone who avidly blogs and avidly sings karaoke, it seems obvious to me that i like both blogging and karaokeing for similar reasons.

i'm not good enough at singing or at writing to do them professionally, but i still really like doing both of them in public. at karaoke, i have an audience of whoever happens to be in the bar that night, and if someone finds me good or entertaining, cool. if not, it's no big deal. it's the same thing with blogging. this blog is on the internet, and i have an audience of whoever stumbles across it from a link or a google search. if they come across it, like it, and start to follow it, it makes me happy. if they come across it and think it sucks, no harm done.

i can think of few less bothersome ways to indulge the fact that i'm a self-important asshat than karaoke and blogging. i'm not forcing myself or my delusions of grandeur on anyone in either case. at karaoke, the only people who have to listen to me are the people who willingly walked into a karaoke bar. on my blog, the only people who have to put up with what i blather on about all the time are the ones who choose to follow my entries on their link lists or rss feeders.

no harm done.

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