Monday, March 16, 2020

101 Things #76 - Give us a Song

We're about three quarters the way through this excoriating set of pieces devoted to debunking the bucket-lists of others, known to a select few as 101 Things I Refuse To Do Before I Die. A good time to look inwards and clarify my position on one of the most important cultural expressions of the day. I will not now, tomorrow, or at any conceivable time in the future

Perform karaoke.

According to the Macmillan Dictionary Blog (and other sites as well) the word karaoke is a compound of two Japanese words and means "Empty Orchestra". The empty bit refers to the missing vocal track on a recording and of course this is supplied by the person who sings the lyrics to the backing of a recording.

I suggest that an alternative meaning is the orchestra who empty, meaning the bar as soon as the karaoke starts and, for the twentieth time that night, someone croaks out My Way or I Will Survive.

The problem with karaoke is that it is really only fun for the singer. They are in the limelight, everyone has to watch them and can do little else, given the volume of the backing track (apart from quietly stealing away, obviously). It doesn't matter if you can't hold a note, indeed it doesn't matter if you cannot hit any note. The words are probably displayed on a screen so you won't have the embarrassment of forgetting them and at the end there will be a loud cheer from anyone left because that is what you do at karaoke sessions.

I don't much like poor renditions of popular songs and I actively dislike much of the repertoire of karaoke machines. If I was to cheer at an event it would be with relief that the noise was over. I have no illusions about my singing voice and refuse to inflict it on anyone else, and certainly not in the name of fun. It would not be fun for me.The stuff I like is not found on karaoke machines.

What this means is not only that I utterly refuse to perform karaoke but will do all in my power to avoid being anywhere close to a performance. Instead I suggest a new art form which I intend to call smyltnes gebregd efenlæcung1, or smygebfencung for short. Just as karaoke is for people who cannot sing, so smygebfencung (doesn't it just trip deliciously off the tongue?) is for people who cannot do mime but have always, passionately, wanted to don skimpy black clothes, paint their faces white and pretend to be inside a box.

 At a smyg ..., oh sod it, let's call it sge, at an sge session  someone from the audience comes up and struts about in absolute silence pointing at things and pulling funny faces for about twenty seconds. Then they return to their seats, with the audience observing a silence as rigorous as the would-be mime,  and everyone can get on with enjoying the rest of their evening. It costs absolutely nothing, apart from a very modest set-up fee2, will not assault your ear-drums or inflict moronic lyrics on your brain and it can be done anywhere without any equipment or preparation. I commend it to you.

1. Taken, of course, from Anglo-Saxon and many thanks to Old English Translator for help
Smyltnes - silence
Gebregd - movement
Efenlæcung - imitation

2. A small licence fee will be levied by the Worldwide SGE Fund (President: RR Commuter) but don't worry about that, it's all covered by the Terms and Conditions.As they are in Anglo-Saxon (Ruislip dialect), you will need to purchase our translation as well for a really modest, given the lavishness of the binding, extra fee payable well in advance.

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