Well, it seems the Muses deserted me there for a while – nothing new from Snu in six long weeks! But let me tell you, if there’s anything that can shock someone out of a month of writer’s block it’s a night at Chatswood RSL Karaoke.
This being our first visit to the hallowed turf of Chatswood RSL we didn’t know exactly what to expect of the Karaoke venue. Perhaps a dark, tastefully lit den with low ceilings and comfy booths, a place where a group of hip cats such as ourselves would not feel unwelcome.
Instead what we found was a cavernous bistro-slash-auditorium, fully ablaze with light, populated by the motliest assortment of individuals that Homo sapiens has to offer. The singing was well underway, and we were greeted by the strains – and I really mean strains – of “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles, as interpreted by one of the intellectually challenged poppets (bless them) who apparently frequent the Friday night event. A lone dancer – another of the Karaoke regulars – cavorted on the dance floor, dressed in red bustiere and tastefully torn black stockings. I sipped at my schooner of Tooheys New, desperately wishing for something stronger – like cyanide.
I had earlier decided that my personal appearance on stage was out of the question, but some others in our group – including the ever brave Rachael – set about choosing their song for the evening. Meanwhile, the parade of performers continued. My mind has thankfully erased most of what I saw last night, but a few images remain.
There was John, a short, bald, sturdy, fifty-ish man, whose voice is almost beyond description. It’s a gravelly, grumbly freight train of a voice, devoid of almost any inflection of tone or pitch. His rendition of “Come a Little Bit Closer” by the Delltones was a definite highlight. As I sat watching John sing, and as the solo dancer continued with her deranged pirouettes, it occurred to me that I felt like an extra in a David Lynch film.
As John left the stage – to rapturous applause – he walked past our table, where he paused long enough to ask Rach in his billy-goats-gruff voice, “It’s Warwick, isn’t it?” Rach was a little confused by this, having never before been mistaken for someone called Warwick.
A while later I was waiting at the bar when I sensed a looming presence at my side. I turned to find John standing there, hand thrust out towards me.
“It’s Warwick, isn’t it?” he asked.
I smiled and grabbed his meaty paw.
“Yeah mate, nice ta meet ya.”
I complimented him on his singing and we parted best of friends.
So, if you’ve got no plans next Friday night, why not try the Karaoke at Chatswood RSL. The drinks are cheap and a good time is guaranteed for all. But remember, it’s only a short step from Karaoke to Hari-kiri.
P.S. I have to mention Rachael’s impressive performance of “Escape” (aka “The Piña Colada Song”) by Rupert Holmes. Here is Rupert in all his nerdy glory, singing live on US music show Midnight Special: