To be printed 04/11/10.
Karaoke. In these times of puyrotechnic, lycra-clad X-Factor domination, in a land where Kate Weasel's roots are the only ones we're going back to, there is something so pure and uncorrupted about a good old sing song. No judgement, no public vote, just the chance to bawl your brains out in a padded room until everything seems better again. But just like boybands, not all karaoke tracks are created equal. Here's what your karaoke choice says about you:
Falling into the 'soulful rap' category (as opposed to 'sexy rap', 'booty-shaking rap' and 'shooting everybody then getting a hot tub rap'), men feel that a song like Gangsta's Paradise gives them a chance to showcase both their badass urban credentials and their softer, sensitive side - the side that might teach kids to read good in an inner city comprehensive. In reality, it showcases the alarming number of adolescent hours spent in their bedrooms memorising lyrics they don't understand, and fawning over pictures of Michelle Pfeiffer.
All By Myself
See also: I Will Always Love You, I Will Survive, I Can't Live (If Living Is Without You)
For the vast majority of their day to day lives, many women are forced to hide a part of their true selves. We fight an ongoing battle to suppress certain urges, for fear of judgement, ridicule and repelling menfolk. As a feminist and general disciple of Good Taste, I'd like to pretend I don't even possess them. But play the opening twangs of Eric Carmen's sobalong classic and, like a melancholy moth to a vodka-fuelled flame, we rise up like a tribe of pyjamaed Bridget Jonesbots, ready to wail our way through three minutes of musical spinsterhood. I like to think of it as queen of the Ovary Anthems.
Frank Sinatra is karaoke ketchup. He blankets all matters of taste with the same sweet, generic charm. One for the rookies, more experiences 'okers should forgo Frank in favour of something less obvious. Like side one of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. With dance routine.
Islands in the Stream
Country and western is a left-field choice, often plumped for by people wanting to deliver a little obligatory naff factor without resorting to a power fist. The trouble is, without a mullet or bucking bronchi to complete the scene, C&W karaoke is in most cases exceptionally boring. Roger Miller's King of the Road is the hip kids' croon du jour, but Islands in the Stream earns more points - though only when sung as Nessa and Uncle Bryn from Gavin and Stacey. Sorry Dolly.
Born to Run
See: All By Myself. But replace 'Ovary Anthems' with the appropriate alternate reproductive organs.
Ladies undertaking this track will do so in the name of lolz, under the guise that it'll sound so ridiculous they couldn't possibly be taking themselves seriously. Do not be fooled. They secretly believe they are going to be ethereal in the extreme, channelling Kate Bush's wide-eyed mad lady insouciance with their wafty arm movements and dog-decibel wailing. Sadly their efforts will be such that Heathcliffe won't let them in the window. However cold it is.
In which I dream
4 months ago