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Sing if you’re winning

Nicola Mostyn tries out Lucky Voice karaoke pods before they arrive at Tiger Tiger

Published on July 2nd 2007.

Sing if you’re winning

Like most people I have a dubious relationship with karaoke. The first time I sang it was with a male friend in Manchester’s famous karaoke bar the Orchid Lounge where we attempted a duet to the Smiths’ ‘There is a Light’. If I remember correctly, I sounded like a dog whistle whilst he sounded like someone blowing a didgeredoo. It was quite a combination. As we left the stage, a colleague informed me: “That was bad.” “So bad it was good?” I enquired hopefully. “No. Just bad.”

Strangely undeterred by the patent folly of singing male indie songs in a pitch only alsatians and Bonnie Langford can hear, I next attempted to impress the world with a rendition of James’ ‘Sit Down’ at a family party. This time I didn’t need anyone to tell me how dreadful I was, though being family they obliged anyway.

Since then I've been studiously avoiding karaoke whilst harbouring a secret belief that I have beautiful voice, if I could only find the right song to unlock it. Then I got the chance to test out the theory with a visit to Lucky Voice, the private karaoke pods launching at Tiger Tiger on July 5.

Lucky Voice is the brainchild of Martha ’Lastminute.com’ Fox and Nick ‘former Lionel Richie backing singer’ Thistleton and it is a devilishly simple idea: a series of private karaoke parties taking place in small, windowless booths with red leather seating, microphones, a karaoke monitor for displaying the lyrics and 6000 songs from which to choose.

All the action is controlled by a touch-screen on which, jukebox style, you can line up, skip, add and delete the songs you want to sing. It is incredibly easy to use which is fortunate as – and this is the genius bit - they also have a big button marked ‘Thirsty’ which lights up when you press it, summoning a member of staff to take your drinks orders. This means that you are kept permanently lubricated and need only leave the pod to smoke a cigarette or go for a wee (though it is worth mentioning that if the Manchester design is anything like London’s you might like to tie a bit of string to your booth or you could easily be bamboozled by the Crystal Maze style interior, take a wrong turn and end up singing Abba with ten men from Ashton).

When we first arrived in the pod and picked up a microphone it all felt a bit weird and stilted…for about two seconds. Then the tune to Borderline pumped out, I swigged back a glass of wine and suddenly it seemed completely normal to be hollering along to Madge whilst shoulder-bopping to the music.

With two microphones and such a small booth, everyone inevitably ends up singing along, with songs like The Killers’ ‘When You Were Young’ creating a great big stomping sing along. Duets are also particularly amusing, as I discovered after typing the numbers for ‘California Dreaming’ but slipping and ending up with Elton John and Kiki Dee’s Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. (You might like to try this excuse when ‘accidentally’ plumping for Robson and Jerome.) And, of course, there are all the old favourites for showcasing genuine vocal talent, should any be available.

Each session must be booked for a two hour minimum but frankly that should pose no problem as Lucky Voice is extremely addictive and most people have to be dragged out kicking, screaming and belting out the final lines to ‘Killing Me Softly’. And, if the décor is all a bit minimalist for your tastes, you can even hire a pod which comes equipped with blow-up instruments, curly afro-wigs and sparkly cowboy hats, returning a dollop of tack to the proceedings.

Manchester is going to love Lucky Voice. Singing and drinking is a natural combination and the pods are perfect for a work’s do, a girlie night out, a first date. (Hahaha. Noooo. I’m just kidding. Don’t take someone on a first date. That would be weird.)

And the best part is that, unlike most karaoke nights, you don’t have to waste half your evening watching a red-faced man in a two tone shirt singing a sweaty version of ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light’. Well not unless you have some very unfortunate friends.

Alas, after trying many, many, many, many songs, I’ve been forced to conclude that my singing voice shall forever be graced with a touch of the Joe Pasquales. So I’ve decided to jettison my plans for a home karaoke system. I’m just going to have a ‘Thirsty’ button fitted instead.

Lucky Voice comes to Tiger Tiger on July 5

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