An alternative to chicken soup

Thursday night is always a highlight of my week. Forget ‘Thursday is the new Friday’ – when your weekend is Friday & Saturday, it literally *is* my Friday. On top of that, it’s usually the night when the women of Matryoshka Haus gather for a convivial Thai curry, a bit of wine and a glorious hot chocolate. It’s an opportunity to catch up, moan, pray and plot. It’s a thoroughly restorative process.

But last Thursday night, things went up a notch and we discovered that our great Thursday evenings had the potential to become even greater…
…when an hour of karaoke is included. 
Ah yes. The power of karaoke is never to be underestimated! I’ve waxed lyrical about its benefits many a time, but of late, my karaoke opportunities have been limited. My one-time favourite sleazy karaoke bar shut down just weeks after I moved within walking distance of it last year and it’s been a while since the last frenetic SingStar party. However, after last week, I think it’s likely this is going to have to become a regular activity.
[Yes, that’s a Dave Walker original.]
Last Thursday, there was a lot going on amongst the group that met for curry. Jobs are changing, houses are being sought, lives are altering in dramatic ways – heavy conversations were being had over the table. You might have thought us a little subdued if you’d seen us in our Brick Lane curry house, but things could not have been different at 10pm when we tumbled out of our karaoke room in a singing induced euphoria. 
We only had an hour in our booth, but we made the most of it. Shoes were immediately shed and sofas jumped upon. Jugs of margaritas were ordered [though I insist that the alcohol was a minimal factor in the euphoria that followed]. A playlist of appropriate songs was formulated and the singing of them was entered into with gusto. The mics didn’t work properly, but we didn’t care – we just sang and sang and sang. 
Being the karaoke lover that I am, I was slightly anxious about singing for the first time with this particular group of friends. I needn’t have worried. It wasn’t about impressive solos (as was often the case in the public karaoke bar of old), it was about being there together and singing simultaneously. As ever, some noteworthy discoveries were made:
  • Björk’s It’s oh so Quiet is a brilliant karaoke track. Shhhh! Shhhh! 
  • Yazz’s Moving on Up is not. Can you remember how the verses go? No. Neither could we.
  • Always choose a really long song just as your time in the booth is expiring. Don’t Stop Me Now was a good choice, given its theme, but Bohemian Rhapsody would have given us longer. 
  • Don’t bother complaining that your mics didn’t work properly until the end of your session as you’re then likely to get a decent discount on a subsequent visit. 
  • Most of all, ensure someone you know is regularly checking the deals available via Living Social – which was how we managed to get a bargain hour complete with cocktails. 

Seriously, forget chicken soup. When it comes to healing souls, there is nothing that surpasses the power of an hour’s raucous singing.

Karaoke booths may sound like an expensive option for a night out. As mentioned above, you can score deals via offer websites, but some chains also do offers. Lucky Voice (one of my favourites as it has Wicked tracks on its database) offers a free hour of singing to groups that include at least one person who ‘does good’ in their job (i.e. medics, teachers, social workers, charity workers) on two nights a week. Others do discounts for local residents, so it’s well worth doing some research. [I have actually, in the course of writing this post, sent an email entitled ‘Karaoke Research’. I take this stuff seriously. And obviously feel a need to get another karaoke date in my diary.]

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