Bouncer Discovers the Dangers of Free Karaoke

Categories: Bouncer
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So we ended up at Bow Bow. Two middle-aged men were at the end of the bar by the door, eating noodles and chatting in Cantonese. A tarted-up young lady was at the other end of the bar, thumbing through the karaoke book. My pal and I sat right in the middle of it all on two stools facing the bartender. Before she even asked us what we wanted, she pushed the song lists toward us. Some places serve salty snacks to keep you drinking; this gal was smart enough to realize the intoxicating effect of singing your heart out in front of total strangers. The more you sing, the more you drink.

We ordered some beers, and I started the slow yet deliberate process of talking myself into getting up there to belt one out. My brain is usually like, "Yes," then "No," then I hear someone sing a song I like, so I am all, "Yes!" Then I get butterflies and it's back to "No." And on it goes, the circle of life. It seemed particularly ridiculous to feel nervous in front of Chi and Chong at the end of the bar, who weren't paying any attention to anyone. Finally, I reached the bargaining stage of my inner karaoke conversation, and I told myself that if there were some '60s-era Bee Gees on there, I would sing.

I spotted "Run to Me," and it was on. I would be next.

Let me take this opportunity to suggest a brilliant hipster marketing idea, if it hasn't already been done. Someone needs to put all the corny background videos that have been produced by karaoke companies onto DVDs and sell them to people like me. To wit, the song "I Go Crazy" was playing, and whoever directed the number went literal, because it portrayed a guy in a straitjacket, rolling around in a padded cell with tear-stained cheeks. This was edited into footage of him in better times with the woman he loved, frolicking on a swing set and taking a bath together. Then back to Bellevue.

When "Run to Me" finally came on and I took my rightful place at the mike, the video was of crew exercises at Oxford, with guys rowing down the Thames. Then a koala in a tree would gaze out in a stoned haze of eucalyptus -- chewing, chewing, chewing -- then back to the rowers. The Bee Gees did spend much of their formative years in Australia, and they were born in England, so I suppose the video wasn't completely off the mark.

As for my singing, well, it was okay. I always fantasize that folks will want to know more about the Bee Gees song I have sung so well, and then run out and get all their reissues. I consider it my calling in life to increase Barry Gibb's fan base and add to his coffers. I just hope that one day he appreciates it.

... continue reading this week's Bouncer column.

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