Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kultural Karaoke Konfusion


I had always thought that Karaoke was a universally understood language. Okay so I have only ever done it in Britain but if someone said, "Oh Dave gave a brilliant Karaoke performance Saturday Night," you'd immediately reply,

"Oh really, did he....

...Trip over a cable and smash his head?"

....sing like a cat on heat?"

...accidentally nut the DJ because he was so drunk he fell over?"


...short circuit the electrics by spilling his beer?"

The common denominator here being that he made an arse of himself.

Indeed, as I understand it the universal law of karaoke is that you are drunk, usually blind drunk and consequently think you are much better than you are. But you are drunk, blind drunk and you are slurring, dribbling, cannot control your feet, your makeup is all over the shop and you are hilariously entertaining without knowing it.

Not so. NOT SO. After nine years in the States I did something I regret doing. I went to a karaoke party. Now this was some sort of fundraiser for a school but there was an OPEN BAR with some kind of generic wine which I immediately availed myself of. There was also tons of beer. But even with free beer the crowd looked like they were at a wake.

Okay this took part in a church and maybe I really was in the wrong room and this was a wake for someone. They all sat there grim faced with their free booze and sang along under their breath to the karaoke.

Wait, it got worse. My British mate Darren and myself did Don't You Want Me Baby while getting my heels tangled in the electric cables. Unfortunately our crap performance was to be the high point of the evening.

I hope you are sitting down for this and not easily shocked but I saw some things I'd rather not have seen. In short I saw people taking karaoke seriously.

First there were a quartet of lumberjacks singing an acapela version of Rocking Robin. Yes it was in perfect pitch but it went on forever and was about as fun to watch as a Snooker tournament.

When that finished there was a really creepy wierdo who gave a dull rendition of Wichita Linesman. Now I quite like that song but firstly, is that really the sort of song to sing for karaoke and secondly it was such a spine chilling and lonely rendition I had the feeling that he had often sang it to himself in the mirror when he wasn't out train spotting.

Then there was a fifty year old Chinese woman with a flat, creaky voice who looked like a deer in the headlights as she sang without any intonation whatsoever Hit Me Baby One More Time. At this point I had lost the will to live. Did these people think they were auditioning for American Idol or were they just escapees from a mental hospital? I honestly don't know. Even when they were good they were boring. And when they were bad they weren't funny.

It got worse. Like the movie Groundhog Day the cycle of hell kept repeating itelf. The Lumberjacks, Creepy Wierdo and tone deaf Chinese Lady kept going in rotation. The audience did not get more lively. It was still like a wake and I was beginning to wonder if there was even any alcohol in the wine. This was how bad it was: it did not get better the drunker I got. I would have gone up to do another song but frankly I believed my comic talents would be wasted on this crowd so I just made like a banana and split.

And now I ask you dear readers: AM I ALONE in my experience or have you ever seen anyone do karaoke for serious? Is this an American thing? And is it worth me getting in touch with the UN to intervene in this. I mean, I just feel these people need to be educated that karaoke is not a singing contest to be taken seriously. 'Kin hell, I need to get on the blower to Ban Ki-moon about this. It's a national emergency. I just hope this isn't happening all over America...

Serious Karaoke...and I thought I'd seen it all...you live and you learn.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fat Flyers are the last taboo

You can call them differently weighted, gravitationally challenged, horizontally challenged, horizontally gifted, people of mass or people of substance but whichever way you slice the lard I call them obese.

United Airlines was a voice of reason in the wilderness when they said that obese people should have to pay for a second seat on their airline or be bumped off the aircraft

United says that it decided to adopt the tougher policy after receiving more than 700 complaints last year from passengers "who did not have a comfortable flight because the person next to them infringed on their seat," said United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski.

United's flight attendants, who will have the delicate task of enforcing the new policy, have traditionally sought to find two adjacent seats, free of charge, for passengers who spill over their seats.

That hasn't changed.

"We'll first try to re-accomodate you on another seat on the flight," Urbanski said. "If the flight is full, and that's not often the case these days, you'll be bumped from the flight."

If this occurs, passengers will be forced to either find a flight with open seating or required to buy two seats or an upgrade to a class of service with wide seats.

The wierdest thing they said was:

United said that most major airlines have similar rules in place.

Which must be a blatant lie because there are many many obese people flying in single seats when I have been flying.

A lot of people have left outraged comments such as politically correct monkies like this:

OMG - that is absolutely horrible - talk about profiling! I can't wait for the lawsuits against United - what is wrong with that company? what happened to the "friendly" skies? They should be ashamed!

People always cry oh the prejudice, oh we are being picked on, but the fact is you cannot stuff a cup cake into a keyhole same as those people who try and cram giant overstuffed suitcases into the overhead compartments - something's got to give. Since these obese people do not fit into the seats they shouldn't be in them.

Like Ricky Gervais who is also on my wavelenght on this issue I'm no skinny minny. In fact it's always been something of a miracle THANK YOU GOD that I eat about 4000 calories daily and remain only borderline overweight. The question I am asking is why is bumping fat people off planes discrimination? BEING FAT IS NOT AN ILLNESS. As the politicaly incorrect line we always said at school goes: How many fat Ethiopians have you ever seen? I rest my case.

Ricky Gervais is the hero who said:

"people who have liposuction and gastric band operations are lazy fucking fat pigs".

He also laughs at himself (well you have to don't you?) when he says, "I get up in the morning, look in the mirror, and say to myself, 'Oh, you fucking fat bastard."

He added: "In supermarkets, the really fattening stuff should be behind a really thin door. Shops should be full of salads, but if you want to get to the pies and cakes, you've got to crawl through a little tube."

Bloody good idea!

And please remember, to avoid jumping onto any policitally correct minefields these are the latest PC terms. Watch and learn lads:

My breasts will never sag, they will lose their vertical hold.
I do not get drunk, when I am accidentally over served I become verbally dyslexic.
When I get PMS I become hormonally homicidal.
I don't have great cleavage or a great rack, my breasts are centrally located.
Because I do not work out too much, I am an abdominal underachiever.
I am not a bad cook, I am microwave compatible.
I am not a bad driver, I am automotively challenged.
And please don't ask me to dance, please request a precoital rhythmic experience.

Do you ever find yourself suffering from politically incorrect nostalgia?...I know I do. This is at least three kinds of wrong...yet so right:

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Her Imaginary Boyfriend

Yesterday night my husband John, the kids and myself had been invited round to my friend Hannah’s house for trick or treating. But more exciting for me was the fact that I was finally going to meet Ed, her new boyfriend.

Now Hannah has been dating this guy for four months so it is nothing short of a miracle that I haven’t met him yet. At first things were great between them. Unlike her last boyfriend who she found cheating on her she told me he seemed pathologically faithful from day one and declared love by around the first week mark. They shared the same taste in music and generally got along well apart from in the sack. There were problems both in… do you mind if we talk in Tower Bridge metaphors here? Well, there were problems both in raising the bridge (sometimes it took a lot of elbow grease) and …no, once the bridge was raised it could maintain its erectness, but sometimes its erectness would go on forever with no end in sight leading in frustration for ….the bridge. Now I have made that clear let us go on.

I told Hannah that problems in bridge function could (or so I had heard) be cured by using a little blue pill. I suggested a blue themed menu which could be heavily spiced with crushed Viagra. They could start with a hamburger with melted blue cheese on it and finish with blue frosted cupcakes. Hannah said she’d feel bad sneaking the blue pill into his food. What about the direct approach I suggested, there was no point waiting until the bridge stopped functioning altogether before phoning the engineer if she knew what I meant? But Hannah felt that the bridge function problem would only be exacerbated if she confronted the problem directly by giving him say a 500 count box of Viagra for his birthday. His ego might take a battering from which it would never recover, she said.

So despite the ups and downs (sorry) of their relationship Hannah and Ed were happy enough for four months except that I hadn’t met him. My husband therefore started the rumor that he was her imaginary boyfriend and Hannah found that rather amusing.

I had in fact seen Ed insofar as he had left his laptop at her place and she’d shown me pictures of him he’d left on it. Luckily I was able to tell her that he looked pretty good for a fifty year old. But to be honest she seemed more interested in looking at pictures of his ex-girlfriend who was pretty homely looking.

She said, “Is it just me or does she have a moustache?”

At first I thought she was being bitchy but as we scrolled through the dozens of pictures of her it seemed that yes, the ex was indeed rather plain not to mention hairy. Then we had a long discussion about what does it say about a man that he was in love with a plain woman? Did that make him spectacularly unsuperficial or just plain desperate? And what did that say about his relationship with Hannah?

So last night Ed was meant to turn up but when we got to Hannah’s house she said he was in a bad mood and was not coming. My husband smiled at that remark given its bridge metaphor significance and lost no time in answering anyone we met that evening who asked where Ed was with a straight face, “Oh Ed’s not coming.” (geddit?)

So why did Ed get cold feet? Maybe he simply didn’t relish going trick or treating with a bunch of hyperactive eight year olds? Who knows. All I know is that it has still to be proved whether Ed is a real man or simply a manifestation of Hannah’s imagination. What other advice can I give her to fix Ed's mechanical misfunctions? I'm pretty sure she'd be better of with a hologram boyfriend at this stage of the game but she says "He'll do, for now."

In the meantime here is me in my Halloween costume. What’s up with the wig some of you will be asking?

Candy Darling

Yeah I know I look a little more Candy Darling from the Warhol Factory than Marilyn Monroe but … you know me, I roll with the punches.

Marilyn: "Hello Heidi why so glum?"

Heidi: "Oh I've got a beer krug up my bum!"