Last night I lost my karaoke virginity- as Mr Karaoke (Mr K) so eloquently put it.

I sauntered through the bar on my way to dinner.  My casual approach belied what was really going on in my head. Mr K was warming up the crowd singing a few karaoke standards.  After dinner, as the Elvis impersonators started, I made my way up to the bar, sat on a tall stool, picked up the song book and asked for a shot of raki.

If I was looking for support – there was none to be had – so I just had to get on with it:  I approached Mr K and put my name down. 

He introduced me as a karaoke virgin which got a round of applause and then, tentatively at first, I sang: Hopelessly Devoted to You. 

I did it!  In a place where nobody knew my name –  let alone anything about me.  I was so proud of myself.  I headed back to the bar stool and perched.  My bravery was the catalyst for sociability from some of the guests:  ‘What’s your name, Love?  You’ve sung before, haven’t you?  said a twinkly blue eyed man to my left.  ‘Well, just my local choir –  but this was a first for me and I was really really nervous’.  ‘Well, you did well, you need to learn how to use the mic though – doesn’t she, Mr K?  You can sing. If you’d just projected your voice a bit more there, that would have been really beautiful’.

This was high praise indeed coming from G, 83 this year, an infamous ex sailor about town and himself a singer all his life – from the Welsh valleys no less.  He felt my pulse:  ‘You’ll live’  he said.

Mr K approached.  ‘Oh I see you’ve met my father.  People do wonder how we’re related – me being Scottish and him being Welsh – it’s a long story’.  G harumphed: ‘I should have drowned the bastard at birth – look at him with his teeth and his hair, you can tell he’s not mine – because he’s so ugly’.  Mr K was unperturbed and went off with his ‘son’ to sing a Julio classic – ‘To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before’.  G wowed the crowd, his mic control put everyone to shame. 

Afterwards we talked politics, religion and Ireland and he told me how he’d been stationed there in 1946.  When I told him he was inspirational he said ‘Bugger off’.

Constantinas (Costa for short, unless you were talking about him – in which case it’s Costas), previously a contemplative bartender joined in: ‘So what do you do at home?’.  ‘I work in communications’.  ‘Oh’, he said ‘ ‘You’re on the phone a lot?’ as he picked up a bendy straw and held it to his ear.  ‘Yes’ I replied.  ‘Oh yeah, I understand, I can just see you doing the phone sex’.  I couldn’t stop laughing.  ‘You make much money?’ he continued.  ‘Not as much as I’d like’.  ‘OK, I can tell you what you need to say to make more’.

The evening continued, drinks and invitations were forthcoming.  Mr K asked me to sing a duet with him as the closing song – ‘Endless Love’.  I love Lionel, but this is one tune I never sang in my life before.  He clearly had though. G felt my pulse again – ‘You must be excited, your pulse has gone up from 96 to 107’

 As the night drew to a close, Mr K and I sang the final song.  He held me (a bit too) tightly around the waist.  More applause.  

I tore myself away from the bar and headed for bed, but couldn’t sleep for ages.  I felt alive in a way that only putting myself really out there  gives me – that and singing – and thought about how, when I do that, my heart and the world opens up.


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