I am all amazement today. The last post I wrote set off a flurry of emails from the old Chiba gang, updating us all on the state of their lives and current whereabouts. It became an online reunion, a blur of news and memories, an expanding thing too as people asked “Now, where is (random Chiba person) these days?” Extraordinary!
Yes, I do miss my old karaoke buddies. Having tried karaoke with various groups of people in both boxes and bars, I realize how much the combination of people, not just the mix of alcohol, determines whether or not it’s going to be a good time. Good karaoke buddies do not hog the microphones and songbooks, duck out before the bills come, boo cheesy songs, or try to jump in on every single damn song. And if you completely flail on a song, they tell you that you were good anyway. Like good drinking buddies, good karaoke buddies are hard to find.
So, in the past few years since I went mad in Japan, I’ve slowly turned on my friends to the fun of “enjoy karaoke time”. This year, I (of course) had a karaoke birthday party and now several of the “I don’t sing” people I know have had, or want to have, karaoke. My husband, who used to staunchly refuse to sing in public, now specializes in practically busting something to the Beatles screamer “Helter Skelter”. And it’s not about the singing, and not even about the drinking, it’s about the release of tension – therapy by microphone.
Things have been a little stressful lately. I’m finishing a busy term of school, we’re living my parents (and my, shall we say, eccentric uncle), and our new apartment seems to have no fixed completion date. As adults who have run our own little household for some time now, it’s hard to take being called for dinner every night. My suffix to just about every sentence is “but it’s in storage right now.” (I miss my books!) There’s one good thing though:
Last night matters were coming to a bit of a head. We had to simply get out of the house and go have a good time. Our awesome friend Marcel drove out to pick us up and take us downtown. We stumbled across a bar that happened to be hosting a karaoke night quite by accident. As I mentioned, I’ve already turned my friend’s into addicts, so even if I couldn’t really sing because of my cold and lovely old man coughing fits, the two of them grabbed the songbook and ordered the first of many rounds of beer.
The thing I like about going to karaoke nights in bars is you get to hear so many amazing singers. One girl sounded exactly like Annie Lennox on an old Eurythmics song, another pair had harmony and melody happening on their duet of Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply”. A lot of people were into 80s and hair metal classics, which shows our age. Everyone in the bar sang along when a group got up and did “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”
I made one feeble attempt at Blue Rodeo’s “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet”. The key was so low and the host disappeared to the bar while I struggled through it despite knowing those words by heart.
There was no stopping Donovan once he got hold of the mike. From solo performance to duet after duet with the ever-obliging Marcel, he felt better with every song. “I needed this,” he said after “Comfortably Numb.”
(Can you tell we got a new digital camera? Oh yes, we did.)
If it weren’t for my cold, I would have been up there too, medicating myself on disco hits and all the old karaoke classics, in tribute to Chiba.

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