You know that Halifax ad? The really heinous one I have to run from every time it comes on in case my eyes start bleeding? There’s a chance you’ve suppressed the upset, but in case those stinging recollections aren’t yet surfacing in the dark lonely hours of the night, I’ll remind you. It’s the one where they say ‘ISA ISA Baby.’ Yep, it’s smart. Not because they say ‘ISA’ instead of ‘Ice’ (see what they did there?) but because it’s a subliminal weapon. Whenever you feel compelled to come over all Vanilla (and if you don’t now, you will: it’s part of their evil plan), before you know it you’re merrily piping on about Independent Savings Accounts, not a VIP who’s so cool he’s frozen solid. No one’s going to wreck the mic like a vandal doing that. The song is ruined, I tell you. Ruined.
That’s what happened to me. Vanilla’s timeless rap, all waxing chumps, poisonous mushrooms and cooking MCs, is a firm favourite of mine in the karaoke booth (my friend and I learned the whole thing at school once and then tested each other – sad but true). Witnesses to this are yet to let me live it down. I tuned into Halifax FM that night and I’ve never fully got over it.
Two years ago I was a karaoke fiend. It was a dangerous addiction. Things came to a head one night when two of us left work on the dot of 5.30, made a swift job of a bottle of Pinot in the bar round the corner and headed to Soho armed with a Tesco Express plastic bag full of deli treats (see how sensible we were? – and classy). An hour later we were spitting couscous into the microphone on a rendition of ‘Nobody Does It Better’. The truth was that somebody did do it better. In fact, most people did. And most people could wait till after dinner to start warbling pointlessly in a virtually empty booth. But anyway, there it was. We were in bed by 9, horribly drunk, and woke the next morning feeling we had visited a dark, desperate place and could never contemplate setting foot there again. Embarrassing. That friend is still in recovery. She hasn’t been seen at a karaoke mic since.
I don’t think you’re doing karaoke properly unless you make at least a bit of a fool of yourself. But whether it’s attempting a Whitney yodel, strutting about like Tina and ending up with a locked knee, or doing that Jacko crotch-grabbing thingamajig, rest assured you’ll be in good company this Christmas. Yes, the season of the office party is fast approaching, meaning many of us will be getting our karaoke on regardless of how embarrassing we find it. And everyone finds it embarrassing.
Saving grace is that Christmas has to be the easiest playlist to negotiate. Cue ‘Fairytale of New York’, which the entire office will join in on ‘cause it’s great; that gem from East 17 where you can pretty much speak the verse; and, of course, Band Aid, where you can bumble a line then quickly pass it on (though you’ll have a fight on your hands for the Bono bit). If in doubt, just yell ‘It’s Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiistmas!’ into the mic Slade-stylee. You can’t go wrong (unless you’ve got a mouthful of couscous).
Happy karaoke Christmas, everyone!
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