Saturday, April 28, 2007

Karaoke - 26th Apr 2007

I've chilled somewhat after last weeks little rant and despite there not being much of an improvement this week in terms of numbers it was quite an enjoyable night.

Now, before we go any further, this is for Tina: This is Superman and this is The Music Man (albeit a DJ Otzi version). There is no Superman, or Superman flying actions, in The Music Man

No new songs for me tonight for a change although I did revisit some I'd not sung for quite sometime. One Week by The Barenaked Ladies has always been a big favourite of mine and it's always fun trying to see people sing a long with it only to become hopelessly lost as it picks up speed at the end of each verse. You just need to know the words without looking otherwise you've no chance. Go on Scott, give it a go, you know you want to. You must know it by now!

Speaking of remembering lyrics to songs, sometime I feel like my brain is one giant lyrics book. It's amazing how a song can come on that I haven't heard for years and I find myself singing along word perfect, but yet far too often in everyday life I find myself forgetting things that were told to me yesterday. It's like my long term memory is far better than my short term. Odd.

Back to the songs and Scott pulled a classic out of the bag too: Def Leppard - Let's Get Rocked. I must have played that cassette single a hundred times when it first came out and it still rocks today. Pleased to say that Scott did it justice and it was probably the most enjoyed song of the night. Andy meanwhile had a go again at Garth Brooks' - Ain't Goin' Down Till The Sun Comes Up. This is almost as fast the Barenaked Ladies song but lasts a hell of a lot longer. It's definately a 'big breath and start' kind of song but good fun. Tempted to have a go at it myself sometime once I know the words

Anyway, enough of all that and onto the playlist:

Next week promises to be, errr, interesting. In our usual state of drunkeness we decided to make next week a 'song theme night'. However, instead of choosing something we could all agree to, it was decided to put a few totally random themes (female artists, the beatles, rock, dance etc...) onto slips of paper and pick one out of the hat. The result: Female Solo Artists. Unfortunately Macy Gray only had one hit single so I'm going to have to look elsewhere for inspiration. I do have a few lined up that I may be able to get away with but we shall see. I'm all up for it though and it should provide a few giggles :)

So, until next week, auf wiedersehen!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fun with design-your-own t-shirts

I've found a site that lets you set up a t-shirt shop with your own designs so have given it a go. My evil brain is already working overtime with some of the designs I have in mind hehe :)

You can visit it here: Shaunios T-Shirt Shop

I've created a couple already...oh, the fun that I'm going to have with this!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Karaoke - 19th Apr 2007

Well, here we are again! I would have posted sooner but for two things:

Firstly, the net has been absolutely crap the last week or so and this weekend it has been worse than ever. Trying to browse is painful and logging into here kept timing out, bloody NTL for you. Apparently it is now a known issue and they intend to fix it tomorrow afternoon...yeah right.

Secondly, to be honest I've not felt to enthusiatic about writing anything this week and this is because of how quiet the hotel was this week again. I know it sounds like a cracked record but it's quite disconcerting to walk into a pub just after nine to find that you and your friends are the only people occupying the entire lounge, and as much I enjoy singing, and no disrepect to my friends at all, I'd rather be singing to at least some sort of audience than just us lot. I like my Thursday nights and have been going for around 8 years or so now, but I worry as too how much longer the pub will keep it on as from a business point of view they surely can't be making anything from it. There used to be a time when Thursdays were the busy, fun nights and Tuesdays (the other day that Andy runs the karaoke) were the quiet 'practice' nights. Just recently I've been going up on a Tuesday for the last hour or so and it's now the complete reversal as it's fairly busy now both with people and singers.
So, the question is: what makes the Tuesday night karaoke more popular, or if you want, what makes the Thursday night *un*popular!? Tuesday night now has a quiz. A quiz for a £10 drinks voucher or a bottle of wine. Is this the reason that it's now more busy? It would certainly seem so at the moment as that's the only thing that's different..... or maybe ..... as has been suggested to me, it's the difference in the songs that are sung on the two nights. As you can tell from this blog, I like to sing up-to-date chart songs and Scott likes his Brit rock, both of which it's been said are maybe unpopular with a lot of the people that used to come in on a Thursday for the karaoke. "People expect to hear My Way, Words, Paradise By The Dashboard Light when they come to a karaoke" it's been mentioned (although maybe not them exact songs but you get the meaning).
Well yes, I don't mind them songs but if that's what we'd have to sing (or hear week in week out) in order to get the place popular again then I'd be one very disenchanted singer. I have no intention of giving up going on Thursday nights as I enjoy the company of Scott et al too much but I'm just worried that if it doesn't pick up soon then the choice might not be mine as time may well be called on the night by the landlord. :(

Sorry for the rant, just something that's been bothering me and needed to get it off my chest!

So, given that we almost had the pub to ourselves, what did we sing this week. Let's find out:

** New Songs **

Just Jack - Starz In Their Eyes - A tune I've been meaning to do for a while but not got around to it. This first hit from Just Jack reached number 2 in the UK charts in January of this year, kept from the #1 spot by another fav of mine, Grace Kelly by Mika. I think this one went fairly well although the chorus was a little lower to sing than I'd expected. Will probably do again. do-again-rating: 7/10

Paolo Nutini - New Shoes - Really liking this track at the moment by Paolo Nutini and it deserved a little better than the #21 position it reached in the charts in my opinion. Catchy and enjoyable to sing I can see me having one or two more cracks at this in the future. do-again-rating: 9/10

Well, hopefully we'll be doing this again next week so until then, adios!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Karaoke - 12 Apr 2007

Thursday night saw a return to normal after last weeks Easter weekend packout and so the hotel was back to its quietest worst!
Not too much to write about this week so I'm just going to dive straight into the run down of the songs sung:


The Shamen - Boss Drum: Ah, those were the days when I was into rave and happy hardcore (whistle posse anyone?)! This is my favourite Shamen track and reached no.4 in the UK charts back in 1992, taken from their album with the same name. The same album also saw them get their only no.1 hit with the infamous 'Ebeneezer Goode'. I think I did a fairly good job of it although it's the sort of track that ideally needs to be done when it's a bit more busy and with the volume cranked up. do-again-rating: 7/10

Red Box - For America: Another old favourite of mine from the 80's. This track got to no.10 in the UK charts in 1986 and was their second single, the first being Lean On Me (ah-Li-Ayo) which reached no.3 in 1985. They pretty much disappeared after that so you call them '2-hit-wonders'!! Suprisingly, neither Tina or Hayley had ever heard this song before and to be honest, they probably won't hear it again either. It's one of those songs that you do once for the fun of it and then it's best to consign it to the history books. Still love the song though! do-again-rating: 1/10

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Proud Mary: Came across this as I was looking for 'Have You Ever Seen The Rain' by the same band which I was having a practice of on my guitar (yes, I'm still playing it!). Having already sang 'Bad Moon Rising' by CCR I thought that if there's enough time to do a last song then I'll give this a crack. It's not a song I'm ever likely to sing again but it's something different and simple to do. do-again-rating: 1/10

Tune in next week: same bat time, same bat channel for the next thrilling episode....

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Karting & Karaoke - 5th April 2007

It was an exciting Thursday this week as not only is it karaoke night but 21 of us also took a trip to the local Fast Lane Karting track for a works organised race night.
We met up at the track at around 18:30, which was a bit of a push causing some late arrivals, and after filling in a 'if-I-drive-to-fast-and-get-killed-then-I-won't-sue' form we were shown to the changing rooms where we could choose our driving suit. The choices of colour were from red, green, blue and yellow. I'm not sure how these related to size but as luck had it the first red suit I tried on seemed to fit ok and after selecting a nifty black helmet I was good to go. After a standard procedure presentation video (left: sitting in the initiation room- Where's Shaunio :p) we were taken onto the track where we then had a couple of practice laps each to get used to the karts before finally racing. The race was to be held over 100 minutes and we were split into seven teams of three. We'd already decided our team of Rob, Andy and myself as we are in the same team at work and our pit stop strategy was to be 2 outings each of around 18 minutes. We felt this would be better than just going a full 33 minutes each and I'm glad we took this approach.

Rob started the first stint for us, followed by Andy and then myself which then rotated the same order for the second outings. Having not driven these things before I was a little apprehensive and on my first outing found myself being overtaken left, right and center for the first 4 or 5 laps. Having had enough of being shown the blue flag (i.e. get out of the way you slow git!) I put my foot down a bit and whilst this didn't entirely stop the queue to get past me, it did enough to ensure that I dropped no places inbetween drivers although we have may have lost a few laps on the leaders. We held a fairly comfortable third for the entire session but maybe we could have won it if Rob had employed his 'let's get all the other teams to pit in by stealing their boards and holding them out whilst no ones looking' trick (photo right)!!! :) Still, third's not bad and it was a great and exilarating experience and with a bit of luck, one that should be repeated later on in the year. Not sure what activity is next on the list. I'd like to go paint-balling as it's something I've always wanted to do but I've also heard mentions of arial zip-lining so who knows...

Following on our racing antics, a few of us headed on back to the hotel for the karaoke and a few beers. It was later than normal when I arrived (only by about half an hour) and Andy had started earlier than normal as it was very busy with it being the Easter weekend and so I missed the first 5 or 6 songs. Fortunately Scott had noted down the songs I'd missed and he carried on keeping track of them throughout the rest of the night which is very much appreciated, ta :) Unfortunately, I've now not been able to keep up my run of at least one new song every week. I was going to do Boss Drum by The Shamen but with a combination of being late, the pub being packed and promising that I'd sing Jeans On for the wife and The Circus for Tina, those two songs were all I got to do :( Scott kept his run going though with Bowies Life On Mars, theme tune to the current BBC1 drama of the same name (he's in a coma :p ) which I was impressed with, and Baby Fratelli by you know who which rocked again.
No night out with the guys and girls from work would be complete without Sue or Steve (or in this case both of them) getting up to do a song and this night didn't disapoint either with them singing The Commitments - Mustang Sally. YouTube video, as promised ;), below includes guest appearances from Captain Jack :p

This weeks list of songs bought to you courtesy of Scott goes like this:
  • Scott & Andy: The Beatles - Day Tripper
  • Others: St.Etienne - He's On The Phone
  • Others: Roy Orbison - You Got It
  • Others: Placebo - Nancy Boy
  • Others: Weather Girls - It's Raining Men
  • Others: Matt Willis - Don't Let It Go To Waste
  • Others: Christina Aguilera - Hurt
  • Others: The Corrs - Breathless
  • Others: Robbie Williams - Something Beautiful
  • Others: Gabrielle - When A Woman
  • Tina & Hayley: The Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams
  • Others: Arctic Monkeys - I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor
  • Shaun: Keith Urban - Jeans On
  • Others: Irish Traditional - Wild Rover
  • Others: Fleetwood Mac - Little Lies
  • Scott: The Fratellis - Baby Fratelli
  • Others: Sixpence None The Richer - Kiss Me
  • Others: Roy Orbison - I Drove All Night
  • Others: The Killers - Read My Mind
  • Others: Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive
  • Others: The Killers - Bones
  • Others: Marti Webb - Take That Look Of Your Face
  • Others: Afroman - Because I Got High
  • Shaun: Erasure - The Circus
  • Others: Tom Jones - I'll Never Fall In Love Again
  • Others: The Commitments - Mustang Sally
  • Others: Arctic Monkeys - When The Sun Goes Down
  • Tina & Lisa: Sara Evans - Suds In The Bucket
  • Scott: David Bowie - Life On Mars
  • Others: Queen & David Bowie - Under Pressure
  • Others: Aerosmith - I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
  • Tina & Hayley: Foundations - Buttercup
Thanks again to Scott for noting all these down this week,let me know if I've got any of the artists wrong where there are multiple versions of the same song! Stats are now updated as usual (if you don't see the latest version, dated 8th April, press Ctrl+F5 on your browser to get the latest page. Shouldn't cache but Firefox seems to be ignoring the content expiry tags).

Until next week....

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Karaoke - 29th Mar 2007

I'm a little late this week and this is partly due to the fact that Ive been out for the last couple of nights whilst the kids have spent the weekend with their grandparents. It's been well over 15 months or so since we had a kid-free house so we might as well make the most of it.

Unfortunately things never quite go plan. Friday night I went to see Stepping Lane at the Hotel after dropping the wife off with her friend from work. The place was packed and about the only place you could stand was right in front of the mics, which I didn't fancy. I listened to their first couple of songs (killers & artic monkeys) from within the bar but once the pint was gone I decided to leave and go back home for a while. What I did hear of them sounded pretty good though.

Saturday night saw the wife and myself joining Scott and Hayley to go see the infamous 'Guns and Oatcakes' performing at a local working mens club. I've heard many [good] things about this band, mainly from Scott, so it seemed a good idea to tag along and go see what they were about. Unfortunately for me, after no more than about two songs in, my mobile starts ringing from work and what followed after that was a procession of calls culminating in me leaving the venue completely just after the first half of the set to go to work to sort out a problem. Of all the nights..... What I did see of them though I sort of enjoyed. There were a lot of songs which I'd not heard of (I've never really been a big rock fan) but having taken up learning the guitar I was impressed by the way they played. Apparently in the second half of the set which I missed they played a lot more of the mainstream songs that I would have known which is typical. Maybe I'll go see them again sometime, who knows!?!

Rewinding back to Thursday night now and it was fairly straightforward night. There was no getting drunk by me this week as I was on call which always takes the edge of it a little bit (for me anyway). Not that I need to get drunk to have a good time, but I always find myself constantly expecting the phone to ring whilst I'm up there on these nights. Fortunately calls are rarities (unless you're on a night out together without the kids for the first time in over a year!) and I didn't get one tonight.

Four new songs for me tonight (see below), Scott did Bowie and the girls were without Louise again who is looking after her dad who fell off a ladder which, albeit only the first rung, was enough to put him in hospital. :( Hope he gets better soon. You know what would cheer him up? A carpet from Marrakech! I mean, those hospital rooms are so bland and boring they'd drive anyone nuts. Compare the pictures below to see what magic a carpet weaves....

before carpet...after carpet...

I digress...

Anyway, what you really came for: this weeks songs:


Razorlight - Can't Stop This Feeling I've Got - Last minute choice from the new Sunfly. Very easy and nice track to start the night with although it's a short song as the vocals only last for about 2 minutes with a 50 second outro. do-again-rating: 6/10

Keith Urban - Jeans On - First it was Jack Ingram now it's Keith Urban, what is the world coming to. Much as I hate to admit, I am finding myself starting to like some of the songs that the wife forces upon me (via the car CD!). This is a cover version, slightly countrified, of a 1976 #3 hit of the same name by David Dundas. I thought I'd heard it before when I first heard this version and it's now stuck in my head. Luckily I do actually like it!. do-again-rating: 9/10

The Fratellis - Baby Fratelli - Not really too much to say about this track given how much I already rave about the Fratellis. What I will say is this song is f**king amazing and thank you, thank you, thank you Sunfly for making a damn good karaoke version of it. do-again-rating: 10/10

Space - Female Of The Species - A catchy little number that got to #14 back in 1996 and was also used as the opening theme tune to the UK drama Cold Feet. Was very suprised when Andy said that he'd never heard it before at all although at least one other person, Hayley, had. Easy to do but can't see it cropping up again anytime soon. do-again-rating: 2/10

As usual the stats have been updated on the right hand side link and I'm now official not the most repetitive singer :p

until next week... Hasta La Vista, baby!