Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Christmas: A time for partying

So, the festive season is upon us – and that means Christmas parties galore.

People have mixed opinions about Christmas parties – a pseudonym for drunkenness and debauchery during the festive season. On the one hand, they are great for morale and team bonding in the work place, especially during the current economic climate (and a free meal and unlimited free alcohol is always a plus). On the other hand, the mention of a Christmas party always brings a cringe factor as the hazy recollection of the shenanigans from the previous year return.

Why do we think it is really a great (no, exceptionally brilliant) idea to make out with the pimply admin intern (whose name you don’t even know), or inform your boss of his poor leadership skills, or use the photocopier for reasons other than copying paper?

I recently went to an industry Christmas party where the majority of people were unknown to me – good that I was anonymous; bad that some could be potential future bosses. I behaved myself, others did not. But what an interesting mix of people. You’ll always get the people who have to name drop (that’s nice that you’ve interviewed Brad Pitt!), then there are those who have to justify their current career direction, and those who have egos twice the size of their head, and those that try it on with several people. I even got informed I might want to consider a boob job – he was a health tourism journalist. By 9.30pm the mojitos were coming fast and furious – and free. I decided it was time to leave.

Everyone has a horror story to tell about a work Christmas party. Mine would be the time everyone thought it was an exceptionally brilliant idea to play drinking games in the presence of our boss. In hindsight (wonderful thing that) it was not such a good idea.

This year was much tamer – though I do feel sorry for the restaurant staff who had to put up with us for nine hours and our poor excuse for singing. Yes it was my idea to sing rounds of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – but how was I to know that it would not sound like Il Divo?

Family Christmas parties practically fall into the same category. Some people love the big get together with extended family. Others hate it with a vengeance, what with all the cooking (and washing up), the lack of privacy and unlimited arguments.

This year, I was invited to an English friend’s family Christmas. It was pretty much like my New Zealand family Christmas, only colder and with considerably more alcohol. I got to meet my friend’s grandparents who were absolutely delightful and after several glasses of brandy had great joy in telling me how to keep my youthful appearance (did you know sticky tape reduces fine lines and wrinkles? It’s apparently true). And then on Boxing Day, we got to do it all again; this time with the added value of trivial pursuit, charades and humming songs. The best team won.

After five days of over eating, consuming more alcohol than the previous two months combined, and extensive television watching, I now get to do it all again for New Year’s. The diet starts next week.

All the best for 2009.

Christmas: A time for partying

So, the festive season is upon us – and that means Christmas parties galore.

People have mixed opinions about Christmas parties – a pseudonym for drunkenness and debauchery during the festive season. On the one hand, they are great for morale and team bonding in the work place, especially during the current economic climate (and a free meal and unlimited free alcohol is always a plus). On the other hand, the mention of a Christmas party always brings a cringe factor as the hazy recollection of the shenanigans from the previous year return.

Why do we think it is really a great (no, exceptionally brilliant) idea to make out with the pimply admin intern (whose name you don’t even know), or inform your boss of his poor leadership skills, or use the photocopier for reasons other than copying paper?

I recently went to an industry Christmas party where the majority of people were unknown to me – good that I was anonymous; bad that some could be potential future bosses. I behaved myself, others did not. But what an interesting mix of people. You’ll always get the people who have to name drop (that’s nice that you’ve interviewed Brad Pitt!), then there are those who have to justify their current career direction, and those who have egos twice the size of their head, and those that try it on with several people. I even got informed I might want to consider a boob job – he was a health tourism journalist. By 9.30pm the mojitos were coming fast and furious – and free. I decided it was time to leave.

Everyone has a horror story to tell about a work Christmas party. Mine would be the time everyone thought it was an exceptionally brilliant idea to play drinking games in the presence of our boss. In hindsight (wonderful thing that) it was not such a good idea.

This year was much tamer – though I do feel sorry for the restaurant staff who had to put up with us for nine hours and our poor excuse for singing. Yes it was my idea to sing rounds of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – but how was I to know that it would not sound like Il Divo?

Family Christmas parties practically fall into the same category. Some people love the big get together with extended family. Others hate it with a vengeance, what with all the cooking (and washing up), the lack of privacy and unlimited arguments.

This year, I was invited to an English friend’s family Christmas. It was pretty much like my New Zealand family Christmas, only colder and with considerably more alcohol. I got to meet my friend’s grandparents who were absolutely delightful and after several glasses of brandy had great joy in telling me how to keep my youthful appearance (did you know sticky tape reduces fine lines and wrinkles? It’s apparently true). And then on Boxing Day, we got to do it all again; this time with the added value of trivial pursuit, charades and humming songs. The best team won.

After five days of over eating, consuming more alcohol than the previous two months combined, and extensive television watching, I now get to do it all again for New Year’s. The diet starts next week.

All the best for 2009.

Monday, 15 December 2008

On turning 28

So, I am a year older – the big two-eight. Scary.

Clearly I had to take some time out and do some navel gazing – reorganise my priorities, reassess my life risk-benefit ratios, consider my future.

Dull, but essential.

My first response to turning 28 was: “Geeze, two years till I’m 30. I’m getting old.”

The first response of everyone around me was: “Old? You’re a spring chicken.”

Funny. I don’t really feel like a spring chicken. 10.30pm is my average bedtime. A night out consists of getting the last tube home. Getting drunk is overrated (especially the next morning). And is that my biological clock I hear ticking?

Ok, so 28 isn’t as bad as say 29, or 30. And it's no where near as “old” as 40 or 50. But 28 is not just two numbers getting cosy. It’s loaded. It screams responsibility, maturity, time to settle down, time to be making money, managing a business, owning a house.

In 2007, the median age of a New Zealand female getting married for the first time was 28.1. When my mum was my age she was married with two children.

With the increasing drive to stay young – be it via plastic surgery or finding a toy boy – there is pressure when another year rolls around. It’s understandable why so many young people in their 20s today are going through quarter-life crises – there is a deep subliminal message that there are certain things we should be achieving at certain points in our life and if we haven’t met those in our set out timescale then clearly we’ve failed.

Back when I was 15, I always aimed to be making NZ$100,000 by the age of 30. This is looking increasingly unlikely – unless there are seismic changes in how much journalists get paid or I take up another better-paid profession that requires no additional training (options are rather restricted I’m guessing). Even though I’ve come to terms with this, I’m still acutely aware that I feel haven’t achieved enough in 28 years. I mean, Kelly Osbourne is writing an autobiography – and she’s only 23.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Twenty-eight is rumoured to be an awesome age. It’s no longer 27, which is just a weird number. And it’s not 29, which is one year shy of 30 (and as I’ve been told, you spend the whole of 29 worrying about turning 30). Meanwhile, a wise source told me 28 is the average age of heroines in romance novels.

But getting old is all relative, isn’t it? I mean, it doesn’t matter how old you are, there will always be someone younger than you and by proxy you will feel old in comparison.

However, you don’t need some whipper snapper to remind you that a Zimmer frame is only around the corner when all you have to do is reminisce – My Little Ponies, Smurfs, three sweets for 1 cent, New Kids on the Block (the first time round).

But at the end of the day, you’re only as old as you’re shoe size. Right?

On turning 28

So, I am a year older – the big two-eight. Scary.

Clearly I had to take some time out and do some navel gazing – reorganise my priorities, reassess my life risk-benefit ratios, consider my future.

Dull, but essential.

My first response to turning 28 was: “Geeze, two years till I’m 30. I’m getting old.”

The first response of everyone around me was: “Old? You’re a spring chicken.”

Funny. I don’t really feel like a spring chicken. 10.30pm is my average bedtime. A night out consists of getting the last tube home. Getting drunk is overrated (especially the next morning). And is that my biological clock I hear ticking?

Ok, so 28 isn’t as bad as say 29, or 30. And it's no where near as “old” as 40 or 50. But 28 is not just two numbers getting cosy. It’s loaded. It screams responsibility, maturity, time to settle down, time to be making money, managing a business, owning a house.

In 2007, the median age of a New Zealand female getting married for the first time was 28.1. When my mum was my age she was married with two children.

With the increasing drive to stay young – be it via plastic surgery or finding a toy boy – there is pressure when another year rolls around. It’s understandable why so many young people in their 20s today are going through quarter-life crises – there is a deep subliminal message that there are certain things we should be achieving at certain points in our life and if we haven’t met those in our set out timescale then clearly we’ve failed.

Back when I was 15, I always aimed to be making NZ$100,000 by the age of 30. This is looking increasingly unlikely – unless there are seismic changes in how much journalists get paid or I take up another better-paid profession that requires no additional training (options are rather restricted I’m guessing). Even though I’ve come to terms with this, I’m still acutely aware that I feel haven’t achieved enough in 28 years. I mean, Kelly Osbourne is writing an autobiography – and she’s only 23.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Twenty-eight is rumoured to be an awesome age. It’s no longer 27, which is just a weird number. And it’s not 29, which is one year shy of 30 (and as I’ve been told, you spend the whole of 29 worrying about turning 30). Meanwhile, a wise source told me 28 is the average age of heroines in romance novels.

But getting old is all relative, isn’t it? I mean, it doesn’t matter how old you are, there will always be someone younger than you and by proxy you will feel old in comparison.

However, you don’t need some whipper snapper to remind you that a Zimmer frame is only around the corner when all you have to do is reminisce – My Little Ponies, Smurfs, three sweets for 1 cent, New Kids on the Block (the first time round).

But at the end of the day, you’re only as old as you’re shoe size. Right?

Sunday, 30 November 2008

A light bulb moment

Question: How many "Real Women" does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: None. A "Real Woman" would have plenty of real men around to do it.

And to think this is funny purely because changing a light bulb is about as easy as boiling water.

No, but jokes aside, these actually need to be updated. Because, whoever devised these light bulb changing jokes has clearly never tried to change a halogen light bulb.

Now, I’m not naturally blonde – so I don’t have that excuse – and I’ve changed a fair few normal light bulbs in my time by myself (and quite successfully, I might add), but halogen bulbs are dodgy little f*****s.

Hence, the reason why I resorted to a bedside lamp as my only bedroom light source for a year (also the reason why we only have one working light bulb in the kitchen and none in the living room). It’s not that we are short of men to help us fair maidens in changing a light bulb, but rather that halogen light bulbs just don’t make sense.

A while back, my female flatmates and I decided to change the bulbs in the hallway. Well that was a team effort – one to hold the ladder, one to pass the stupid fiddly screws and one to screw in the light bulb.

I hear you sniggering, but I’m being serious.

Do you actually know how many types of halogen bulbs are out there? G4 capsules, G9 Halopin capsules, Halogen A (ES/BC), Halolux Ceram (ES), Halolux Ceram (SBC), Halolux T (SES), linear halogen tubes, reflector capsules, GY6.35 capsules, PAR20 Hi Spot 63, Mains Halogen GU10 – and that’s not even all of them.

Then once you have embarked on the halogen light bulb adventure you have to choose between pearl, clear, opal or frosted.

I’m telling you, it’s not as easy as screw versus push and twist.

So, I finally got fed up with just having a bedside lamp and thought, ‘Right, I’m going to do something about these stupid lights’. Got to the supermarket, spent some 30 minutes trying to figure out which halogen bulb was right (no nice men to help me out). Thought I was intelligent buying two different types – you know, just in case. Got home, took another half hour to pull it all apart and put it back together again (seriously, how many screw things do these actually need?)

Then I turn on the light switch only to find that the LED colour changing bulb I bought (you know, just in case) still changed colour even though I had removed the coloured plastic cover (there were no English instructions). So I now have one normal yellow halogen bulb and one that alternates between red, yellow, blue and green.

So much for DIY. At least I didn’t get electrocuted.

A light bulb moment

Question: How many "Real Women" does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: None. A "Real Woman" would have plenty of real men around to do it.

And to think this is funny purely because changing a light bulb is about as easy as boiling water.

No, but jokes aside, these actually need to be updated. Because, whoever devised these light bulb changing jokes has clearly never tried to change a halogen light bulb.

Now, I’m not naturally blonde – so I don’t have that excuse – and I’ve changed a fair few normal light bulbs in my time by myself (and quite successfully, I might add), but halogen bulbs are dodgy little f*****s.

Hence, the reason why I resorted to a bedside lamp as my only bedroom light source for a year (also the reason why we only have one working light bulb in the kitchen and none in the living room). It’s not that we are short of men to help us fair maidens in changing a light bulb, but rather that halogen light bulbs just don’t make sense.

A while back, my female flatmates and I decided to change the bulbs in the hallway. Well that was a team effort – one to hold the ladder, one to pass the stupid fiddly screws and one to screw in the light bulb.

I hear you sniggering, but I’m being serious.

Do you actually know how many types of halogen bulbs are out there? G4 capsules, G9 Halopin capsules, Halogen A (ES/BC), Halolux Ceram (ES), Halolux Ceram (SBC), Halolux T (SES), linear halogen tubes, reflector capsules, GY6.35 capsules, PAR20 Hi Spot 63, Mains Halogen GU10 – and that’s not even all of them.

Then once you have embarked on the halogen light bulb adventure you have to choose between pearl, clear, opal or frosted.

I’m telling you, it’s not as easy as screw versus push and twist.

So, I finally got fed up with just having a bedside lamp and thought, ‘Right, I’m going to do something about these stupid lights’. Got to the supermarket, spent some 30 minutes trying to figure out which halogen bulb was right (no nice men to help me out). Thought I was intelligent buying two different types – you know, just in case. Got home, took another half hour to pull it all apart and put it back together again (seriously, how many screw things do these actually need?)

Then I turn on the light switch only to find that the LED colour changing bulb I bought (you know, just in case) still changed colour even though I had removed the coloured plastic cover (there were no English instructions). So I now have one normal yellow halogen bulb and one that alternates between red, yellow, blue and green.

So much for DIY. At least I didn’t get electrocuted.

Friday, 21 November 2008

The future is in the cards

“You’re currently having some financial issues.” Ummm no s*** Sherlock – we’re in the middle of a recession.

The bespectacled, hunched and knurled man sits, his long black coat pooling around his feet, and reads my future. It’s all in the cards you see.

I’d gone to see him on a whim – well, word of mouth. Of course I was interested to know whether I would win Lotto, be swept off my feet by a tall, dark and handsome (and rich) man – preferably Brad Pitt, be the next Prime Minister of New Zealand or solve the world’s ills. Well, clearly there was something wrong with those cards. Brad Pitt did not feature once.

One has to be sceptical about this sort of thing (and certainly when the grey-haired gentleman started talking in Latin – or whatever language it was – I thought I was being sold a scam). I mean it comes down to common sense doesn’t it? The likelihood I’m going to meet a man and fall in love when I’m single is relatively high. The likelihood I’m going to be having financial issues in the middle of a recession is a no-brainer. And a New Zealand accent among British ones is going to guarantee a trip to my homeland at some time.

But this guy was freaky. He picked out the exact month I was going to be returning home for a holiday. Had I said something that had given him a hint? Or was it down to probability? Or was it just common sense again? – When is the most likely time an antipodean will visit home? Summer, right?

But this whole thing got me thinking. Regardless of whether you believe or not, it poses some interesting questions about fate and destiny. Does it really exist? Do I still have power to change my destiny laid out in the cards or is it set in stone? Can I be fed ideas to make what I’ve been told come true?

It is this last point that is really intriguing. If I’m told I am going to enter into a relationship with a childhood friend – who at that point is just that; a friend – does this put the seed in my head that, well actually, he’s not half bad and does the way he playfully pinches my arm like he has always done mean he wants more? Or I am told I am going to win Lotto. You’ve got to be in to win, so of course I will start buying Lotto tickets.

The other thing is, why do fortune tellers never seem to tell you anything really bad? Not good for business? Or telling us only what we want to hear?

Well, I have to say I was pleased with my reading. I should get a promotion in the coming year and a pay rise. I came out of it feeling positive about my future.


But apparently, I will not be winning Lotto, regardless of how many tickets I buy.

The future is in the cards

“You’re currently having some financial issues.” Ummm no s*** Sherlock – we’re in the middle of a recession.

The bespectacled, hunched and knurled man sits, his long black coat pooling around his feet, and reads my future. It’s all in the cards you see.

I’d gone to see him on a whim – well, word of mouth. Of course I was interested to know whether I would win Lotto, be swept off my feet by a tall, dark and handsome (and rich) man – preferably Brad Pitt, be the next Prime Minister of New Zealand or solve the world’s ills. Well, clearly there was something wrong with those cards. Brad Pitt did not feature once.

One has to be sceptical about this sort of thing (and certainly when the grey-haired gentleman started talking in Latin – or whatever language it was – I thought I was being sold a scam). I mean it comes down to common sense doesn’t it? The likelihood I’m going to meet a man and fall in love when I’m single is relatively high. The likelihood I’m going to be having financial issues in the middle of a recession is a no-brainer. And a New Zealand accent among British ones is going to guarantee a trip to my homeland at some time.

But this guy was freaky. He picked out the exact month I was going to be returning home for a holiday. Had I said something that had given him a hint? Or was it down to probability? Or was it just common sense again? – When is the most likely time an antipodean will visit home? Summer, right?

But this whole thing got me thinking. Regardless of whether you believe or not, it poses some interesting questions about fate and destiny. Does it really exist? Do I still have power to change my destiny laid out in the cards or is it set in stone? Can I be fed ideas to make what I’ve been told come true?

It is this last point that is really intriguing. If I’m told I am going to enter into a relationship with a childhood friend – who at that point is just that; a friend – does this put the seed in my head that, well actually, he’s not half bad and does the way he playfully pinches my arm like he has always done mean he wants more? Or I am told I am going to win Lotto. You’ve got to be in to win, so of course I will start buying Lotto tickets.

The other thing is, why do fortune tellers never seem to tell you anything really bad? Not good for business? Or telling us only what we want to hear?

Well, I have to say I was pleased with my reading. I should get a promotion in the coming year and a pay rise. I came out of it feeling positive about my future.


But apparently, I will not be winning Lotto, regardless of how many tickets I buy.

Friday, 14 November 2008

The night before happily married life…

He wore a white, feather-rimmed cowboy hat; a neon flashing “stag” badge pinned to his shirt. She wore a sash – “Almost a Virgin” – and drank her wine with a straw, phallic attachment included.

They were a cute couple. They went together like sweet and sour, peanut butter and jelly.

But, hold up, was this joint get-together (aka “sten” do) really a “traditional” night-before-the-wedding bash? Isn’t the whole point of a hen or stag party to go “wild”? I mean this is the last chance before a life of holy matrimony, domesticity, and early bedtimes.

I personally have not attended a stag do, but I hear it’s common for the groom to end up naked, chained to a lamp post with his eyebrows shaved – and this after a night of debauchery in some Eastern European town selling cheap beer. I suppose the iconic example is the Visa card advertisement where a man finds himself dirty, naked – bar a pair of socks and Visa card – in the middle of a desert and running late for his wedding. That must have been one hell of a stag do (and weren’t his friends nice leaving the Visa card).

Alternately, hen’s parties, by degrees, are tamer affairs. However, that hasn’t stopped any consummate bridesmaid from pulling out all the stops – hideous pink tutus; white old lady night dresses; veils and so on.

The most memorable hens party I went to, the bride was surprised (possibly horrified) by the VIP guest – a very short, though buff, man with funny teeth dressed in a sailor suit. We soon came to learn, as he attempted pelvic thrusts and various hip grinding moves on the bride’s friends, that he also wore a g-string (white). Though, this was promptly removed. The bride spent 15 minutes in the toilet sanitising her hands.

Later that night, she was supplied with a lethal looking black leather whip. For future wannabe hen party-goers – not a good idea; the large, angry red welt on my arm the next morning was tantamount to that.

So, the question is, how did the “sten” do go? Well, there were no dodgy shenanigans, no uniforms, no bondage, and no “extracurricular” activities. There was the customary question and answer – should we be worried if neither the bride nor the groom knows the answers to questions like: what is your partner’s favourite colour? Favourite movie? Prefer you to wear? (I’m sure that is a trick question). But I’m also sure both sets of parents-in-law would be much relieved.

Plus, having won a substantial amount of money on the dog races, that could only be a good sign of things to come for the couple. And the groom’s eyebrows stayed intact.

The night before happily married life…

He wore a white, feather-rimmed cowboy hat; a neon flashing “stag” badge pinned to his shirt. She wore a sash – “Almost a Virgin” – and drank her wine with a straw, phallic attachment included.

They were a cute couple. They went together like sweet and sour, peanut butter and jelly.

But, hold up, was this joint get-together (aka “sten” do) really a “traditional” night-before-the-wedding bash? Isn’t the whole point of a hen or stag party to go “wild”? I mean this is the last chance before a life of holy matrimony, domesticity, and early bedtimes.

I personally have not attended a stag do, but I hear it’s common for the groom to end up naked, chained to a lamp post with his eyebrows shaved – and this after a night of debauchery in some Eastern European town selling cheap beer. I suppose the iconic example is the Visa card advertisement where a man finds himself dirty, naked – bar a pair of socks and Visa card – in the middle of a desert and running late for his wedding. That must have been one hell of a stag do (and weren’t his friends nice leaving the Visa card).

Alternately, hen’s parties, by degrees, are tamer affairs. However, that hasn’t stopped any consummate bridesmaid from pulling out all the stops – hideous pink tutus; white old lady night dresses; veils and so on.

The most memorable hens party I went to, the bride was surprised (possibly horrified) by the VIP guest – a very short, though buff, man with funny teeth dressed in a sailor suit. We soon came to learn, as he attempted pelvic thrusts and various hip grinding moves on the bride’s friends, that he also wore a g-string (white). Though, this was promptly removed. The bride spent 15 minutes in the toilet sanitising her hands.

Later that night, she was supplied with a lethal looking black leather whip. For future wannabe hen party-goers – not a good idea; the large, angry red welt on my arm the next morning was tantamount to that.

So, the question is, how did the “sten” do go? Well, there were no dodgy shenanigans, no uniforms, no bondage, and no “extracurricular” activities. There was the customary question and answer – should we be worried if neither the bride nor the groom knows the answers to questions like: what is your partner’s favourite colour? Favourite movie? Prefer you to wear? (I’m sure that is a trick question). But I’m also sure both sets of parents-in-law would be much relieved.

Plus, having won a substantial amount of money on the dog races, that could only be a good sign of things to come for the couple. And the groom’s eyebrows stayed intact.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Karaoke – the good, the bad and the ugly

Karaoke – you either love it or hate it. I, for one, fall into the former camp.

There is something sort of therapeutic about belting out Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’, even if you sound like a drowning cat with a fur ball. But then experts have often said that singing is good for you by releasing the feel good chemicals endorphins into the bloodstream.

There is also something else that makes karaoke cathartic. It’s one thing to sing in the shower or to mimic your favourite artists singing into your hairbrush in the privacy of the bedroom. But there is true liberation if you can make an absolute fool of yourself in front of others who are equally front runners in joining the geek squad – and not give a dam. Or maybe it’s the sadistic pleasure of watching these other people fully embracing karaoke…

Nevertheless, when my friend announced she was organising a karaoke evening, I all but jumped at the chance. It had been a little over a year since I had last partaken in karaoke, and there were some very clear unwritten rules involved.
1) Microphone hoggers are a no-no – should anyone maintain their grip on the microphone for more than two songs they will receive a lot of evil glares.
2) It is compulsory to be bad at singing – while everyone secretly wants to be the next Leona Lewis during karaoke, it is exceptionally bad form to outdo everyone else in the room.
3) You must take part at least once – no one likes a party pooper.
4) The Foundations’ hit song ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ is a must on the song list.

I attempted to sing – and failed – Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’ (yay, achieved unwritten rule number two). Funny though, as I had sung that last time I karaoked and I’m sure I was simply the best during that rendition, or so I was lead to believe. But clearly the number of Sambuca shots you have, is not equivalent to outstanding vocal talent. In fact, standing up also does not increase your chances of reaching those high notes (or any notes for that matter), and likewise with how loud you yell into the microphone or any funky chicken/air guitar moves you add.

I can effectively say that our combined effort sounded at times somewhat like fingernails scrapping along a blackboard mixed with a two-year-old let loose on the musical instrument the recorder with the local homeless dogs serenading in the background. To say we were bad would probably be an understatement. Though, everyone else at the venue sounded exactly like us. But, ultimately, it was fun and that is all that matters.

Moral of the story? We should not give up our day jobs and X-Factor/Pop Idol should never be considered.

Karaoke – the good, the bad and the ugly

Karaoke – you either love it or hate it. I, for one, fall into the former camp.

There is something sort of therapeutic about belting out Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’, even if you sound like a drowning cat with a fur ball. But then experts have often said that singing is good for you by releasing the feel good chemicals endorphins into the bloodstream.

There is also something else that makes karaoke cathartic. It’s one thing to sing in the shower or to mimic your favourite artists singing into your hairbrush in the privacy of the bedroom. But there is true liberation if you can make an absolute fool of yourself in front of others who are equally front runners in joining the geek squad – and not give a dam. Or maybe it’s the sadistic pleasure of watching these other people fully embracing karaoke…

Nevertheless, when my friend announced she was organising a karaoke evening, I all but jumped at the chance. It had been a little over a year since I had last partaken in karaoke, and there were some very clear unwritten rules involved.
1) Microphone hoggers are a no-no – should anyone maintain their grip on the microphone for more than two songs they will receive a lot of evil glares.
2) It is compulsory to be bad at singing – while everyone secretly wants to be the next Leona Lewis during karaoke, it is exceptionally bad form to outdo everyone else in the room.
3) You must take part at least once – no one likes a party pooper.
4) The Foundations’ hit song ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ is a must on the song list.

I attempted to sing – and failed – Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’ (yay, achieved unwritten rule number two). Funny though, as I had sung that last time I karaoked and I’m sure I was simply the best during that rendition, or so I was lead to believe. But clearly the number of Sambuca shots you have, is not equivalent to outstanding vocal talent. In fact, standing up also does not increase your chances of reaching those high notes (or any notes for that matter), and likewise with how loud you yell into the microphone or any funky chicken/air guitar moves you add.

I can effectively say that our combined effort sounded at times somewhat like fingernails scrapping along a blackboard mixed with a two-year-old let loose on the musical instrument the recorder with the local homeless dogs serenading in the background. To say we were bad would probably be an understatement. Though, everyone else at the venue sounded exactly like us. But, ultimately, it was fun and that is all that matters.

Moral of the story? We should not give up our day jobs and X-Factor/Pop Idol should never be considered.