Review 2013: Not The Doctor: Karaoke Shower.

Music In an effort to remind youngsters that file sharing of copyrighted materials is illegal and means that musicians don't get paid, or at least that's how it was explained to me, the Intellectual Property Office currently has a "Karaoke Shower" on tour throughout the country, which looks a bit like a glorified photo-me booth, which allows us people to sing our favourite songs into a microphone shaped like a shower head in a small pocket of reality with a curved, tiled wall. When visiting Birmingham on Thursday to see the new library, I happened upon it in the library, just as a woman was inside working her way through Norah Jones's Come Away With Me. The assistant asked me if I'd like to have a go and I quite rightly said that I wouldn't. We chatted a bit about the aim of the Karaoke Shower (see earlier sentence) but then faux-Norah left looking entirely refreshed by the experience as though she'd had an actual shower and since this was the closest thing to a holiday I was having this year, I quite rightly changed my mind. The assistant brought up the popular suggestions on the selection screen on the side of the booth, the Rhianna, the Perry, the Justin Timberlake, but knowing I was in a library and knowing this would about the only time it would be permissible in a library, I asked if I could have a look for myself and found "What's Going On" by 4 Non Blondes. Stepping behind the curtain, I found myself within the aforementioned sound proof booth (we'd see about that), the microphone (the assistant popped her head in to explain which side of the head I should be holding to my mouth) and a screen with the words on it. The music started. Then I remembered, just as I did over ten years ago the last time I did karaoke in something approaching public, the version of the song I have in my head isn't the release version but the acoustic version that appeared on the b-side of the cassette single because I'd included it on a mixtape which I'd listened to incessantly at university which meant that I'd be out of sync and tuneless during verses. And I was. But the choruses? In the choruses I was fine. Because there are few things more musically therapeutic than bellowing the choruses to "What's Going On" by the 4 Non Blondes and here I was doing it in the middle of Birmingham's new library. I may have stood forward, head down, eyes closes, my gaping moor of a mouth almost consuming the shower head. I may have done that, entirely forgetting that there was a camera inside this pocket of reality broadcasting an image to a screen on the side of the booth.  As I completed Linda Perry b-side noodlings, I heard applause from outside the booth which died down before I emerged from behind the curtain.  The assistant thanked me.  "I should have done Avril Lavigne's Complicated."  I joked.  Then took a step away from the booth, turned around and asked, "Um, can I do Avril Lavigne's Complicated?"  And I did.

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