Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don't Stop Believin' - How Karaoke Conquered The World And Changed My Life
By Brian Raftery
Da Capo

Part travelogue, part memoir, part history but whichever stage it takes at whatever goddamn time it pleases it's centred around a strange affection, or fixation, for the curious craze from the crazy country. Realizing he may just have to start growing up at least a little, journo Raftery ventures into a year long world tour of karaoke bars, celebrating the inner geek and utter outsider in a manner not unlike, but not quite like, Chuck Klosterman. And around that mark is plenty good enough, it's sweet and sorta feelgood - hell, maybe it's like hack-lit or something - and an engaging and even moving little slice of personal history. Oh, and just a wee bit funny too, with deft observations and daft acquaintances. Music fan nerd kid can't sing, wanders drunkenly around for a while (there's a gap between those two points though) managing to hold down some jobs whilst frequenting karakoe bars and discovering some semblance of self-confidence, (fast forward) gets girl, gets married. Yes, has karaoke at wedding. Plus, cheap n' easy nasty shot it may be but any book that starts by calling Don Henly 'a sanctimonious knob' must surely be worth a read. Idiosyncratic, scattershot and self-effacing, maybe not quite captivating at all times but a fast-paced flick through the hit lists and crashing misses of the industry, and whatever esle sort of crosses his mind. Basically anyone who calls themselves a music fan who can't look at this affectionately or recongises themselves in it deserves a demise as drastic and drawn out as Henley's.
Stu Gibson

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