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This is my old blog, which I no longer update. Feel free to browse around old posts and such, but the much more recent version of my ramblings are to be found at MarilynAnneCampbell.com

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Karaoke Accord

Late last week, a slow afternoon in my house was made a bit more entertaining by the images of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that were making the rounds on the CBC Newsworld cycle. U.S. President George W. Bush had escorted the visiting PM to Graceland, and could be seen in the background watching in baffled silence as The Right Honourable Koizumi shook his hips and crooned a pretty kick-ass Love Me Tender. The PM was having a blast impersonating Elvis while the President looked like he was having an absurdity-induced aneurysm.

I thought of those two again as I sat in on karaoke night at the Groundhog Pub last Friday. I say ‘sat in on’, because I don’t generally join in on any karaoke action. There have been drunken exceptions of course (an all-screaming/all-mumbling duet of Smells Like Teen Spirit jumps to mind), but I’ve always been of the belief that if you’re going to perform, you should either be so good you surprise your friends and blend in like a real radio song to the strangers, or you should be so bad that you’re funny to everyone. So with this understanding firmly in place, I settled in at our table for an evening of passive amusement.

The first surprise came when my partner Steve picked up one of those little slips of paper karaoke hosts supply so you can commit to writing an idea you might otherwise back out of. We’d never discussed Karaoke Theory, but I had just assumed Steve would be sitting beside me for the evening, clapping and smiling as the work-friends who had organized the evening took to the stage. But Steve was so quick on the slip-of-paper draw, that not only did he take to the stage, he got there first.

I was nervous, I admit, but soon my fears melted like the gooey center of a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. Even before he opened his mouth, Steve was grooving to Telegram Sam with the same delight Koizumi had shown paying tribute to the King. Then Steve sang and we cheered, and so did the bar full of strangers.

The night progressed with nearly everyone from my party taking their turn at the mic once or twice (or a few more times than that), interspersed of course with everyone else from the busy bar. And I suddenly realized I was probably the only one in the room who was worried about traditional entertainment standards – I was the befuddled Bush, staring uncomprehendingly at such a display of unabashed fun.

I’d love to say I learned my lesson and got up that night to sing. I didn’t, and I can’t say that I will do much differently the next time I’m in a room with a karaoke machine - old mic-shy habits die hard. Still, I have come to the conclusion that nothing can create goodwill among strangers like a shared attempt to clap along to The Devil Went Down To Georgia or to sing all the parts in Summer Lovin’. So what I do hope is that the U.N. takes note of Japan’s recent visit to the U.S. and creates some appropriate programming for its members. They can call in Koizumi to get the party started, and they could always put on Jump by the Pointer Sister’s for Hungarian PM Ferenc Gyurcsany.

Diplomacy by Karaoke - I’m not sure Steven Harper would dance or sing to anything, but Trudeau sure would have torn the place up.

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1 comment:

  1. This is a fantastic idea. World peace is only a microphone away. You can be the MC.