I didn't know what the occassion was for and I wasn't too happy about venturing back into Northbridge, but after finding out on Friday morning that it was Bruce's birthday I couldn't say no.
Upon arriving at the venue at 7:30pm I didn't notice the words on the window that read "Karaoke Bar" - I was too busy trying to find Bruce. When I saw him I headed towards his table and wished him a happy birthday. I was then introduced to other members of the party and on my last introduction met "Linda" who opened with,
"Have we met before?"
I did a quick scan of my memory banks and nothing came up.
"No, don't think so," I answered, "but that pick-up line's a little old."
She didn't appreciate the humour and continued staring at me - obviously scanning her memory banks.
"I'm pretty sure I've met you somewhere," she said finding a seat near me.
Oh no! I've got a stalker!
As dinner progressed Linda kept her interrogation going. But it only took her about 3 questions to find out if I was single... most other chics that approach with this question usually take about a dozen (at least if a chic takes a dozen questions to get to the main "Are you single?" type question it doesn't make it AS obvious), but Linda wasn't wasting any time...
"What's your girlfriend's name?" she asked (aka "Are you single?").
"I'm single," I replied, "and you're really starting to freak me out."
Eventually the "starting to freak me out" turned into a full blown "okay, now I'm going to need to call the cops!" - she just wouldn't stop.
Questions then moved to what I've done and what I'm currently doing, and even though I tried to turn the interrogation tables she wouldn't answer a thing (can you see why I was really fraking out?). Instead of just having a normal conversation between strangers she stayed on this interrogation tangent all night keeping one eye on me at all times for any movement that would trigger "the memory".
I think for the first time in my life I knew what if felt like for chics who get stared at by freaky members of the opposite sex!
When our dinner finished the owner of the Chinese restaurant stood up on the dance floor and began giving some instructions about holding the microphone.
What's he talking about? I wondered, but when I looked over at Bruce I saw him thumbing through a karaoke song list.
The owner's instructions were quite simple:
- No standing on the small stage
- No looking into the projector's light
- Lyrics are on the small television screen in front
- Keep the microphone a small distance away from your mouth... not too far otherwise you're not heard, and not too close in case you swallow the microphone!
The Chinese owner then led the way by belting out a pretty good tune... it was going to be a hard act to follow!
Other tables put their requests in and it came as no surprise to everyone that the table which only had chics went first.
People from other tables ordered more drinks and some couldn't handle the pressure and went outside to calm the nerves by sucking on a few cigarettes.
Linda was one of these.
Eventually Linda's turn came up and she staggered on stage and sung Madonna's "Like A Prayer".
It was terrible, but with everyone else singing along it muffled out her screaming... ahem... singing.
Other less sober women took the stage and with more ear bleeding the birthday boy eventually rolled on stage...
Seeing Bruce taking all the spotlight Linda decided to join in and with a second mic took to the stage...
As the night wore on Bruce's high-pitched singing had everyone on stage...
As midnight neared I realised that we hadn't sang Bruce "Happy Birthday" yet!
I went to the DJ chic and asked if my song could be bumped up the list.
Thanks to my good looks and sober charm she more than happily agreed to place me next.
Unfortunately time was of the essence - we were only 15 minutes to midnight.
Just as the last song was nearing it's end one inebriated woman from the chic table grabbed the microphone and began screaming for the blokes on an all-man table to sing.
Oh crap, I thought, not now!
Sure enough the woman was able to pry two men away from their fixed seats and get them on the dance floor. The two men had to choose a song and what would you know they sang some Chinese song that seemed to have gone longer than "American Pie"!
Happy that the woman achieved a momentous task by getting two men onto the dance floor singing away at some Asian song that no one but the owner understood - made everybody quieten down and drink some more while they sang away.
I didn't know how long the song was going to last, but with each passing minute I was getting more and more disappointed that my window of opportunity was going to pass by.
At 11:57pm the strange Asian song aburptly stopped (apparently that was how the song went?!), people clapped and then silence echoed throughout the restaurant as people turned to the DJ wondering who was next.
As she figeted for the DVD, people began chanting, "Who's next? Who's next? Who's next?..."
I thought that due to the length of time she took she had forgotten my request, but then the speakers boomed...
"Next song is sung by Ryan."
People clapped, not knowing who it was, but when they saw me step up to the microphone everybody went quiet. I clicked the microphone on, put it only an inch away from my mouth and said,
"Before it's too late and Bruce's wheelchair turns into a pumpkin, I'd like for us to all sing him a happy birthday."
And with that the restaurant erupted into a drunken happy birthday song for Bruce.
Okay, maybe I can get away with just that, I thought, but then the DJ announced my song...
"Now Ryan will sing 500 miles by Proclaimers."
The music started, people began clapping and I had no choice but to start belting out a tune...
"When I wake up... well I know I'm gunna be, I'm gunna be the man who wakes up next to you..."
Then have a guess who gets up on stage?
Yep, you guessed it... Linda.
Thankfully she didn't pick up the other microphone. Instead she waved one of her arms over her head whilst maintaining balance with the other holding a beer. At every mention of the word "you" she would turn her head towards me and give me that interrogative eye.
Eventually other chics moved over to the dance floor and in their drunken stupor began dancing away... Linda had competition!
Seeing that other chics were moving onto the dance floor she quickly picked up the other microphone and joined in as an unwanted duet.
One of the chics danced close enough to get my attention so I focussed on serenading her for the rest of the song. Linda tried reeling me in with my microphone cord, but after quickly standing on the cord she gave up tugging!
When the song finished everybody clapped and the next person was announced (I think it was Linda).
I quietly said my goodbye's to Bruce and his woman and slipped away into the night.
Happy Birthday Bruce.